When it appears that Elie's father has been selected for death, he is eager to rush over to Elie and give him what Elie ironically and with great sadness called "My inheritance." Even though this was just an initial selection, his father does not want to waste time just in case he is chosen for death and therefore will never see his son again. He gives what he has to his son in the hope that these gifts will help him in his future and to stave of death:
"Here, take this knife," he said. "I won't need it anymore. You may find it useful. Also take this spoon. Don't sell it. Quickly! Go ahead, take what I'm giving you!"
Note how the situation of their lives makes these normal objects precious gifts. When Elie returns from the day's work, he is delighted to find his father still alive, and Elie says: "He had still proved his usefulness." This statement highlights the reductionist view on human life - you could only live if you had a practical use. Elie is able to return the "gifts" to his father.