In Night, what is the relationship between Elie and Moshe the Beadle?

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brodertj eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night, chapter one details the relationship between Elie and Moshe the Beadle. Described as a wise vagrant, Moshe is a foreigner in Sighet, making him slightly suspicious to the rest of the Jewish community. Elie, however, considers him a harmless and even wise man.

Elie and Moshe first meet in 1941, when Elie is just thirteen years old. While praying at the synagogue, Moshe asks Elie why he cries when he prays. The conversation begins their relationship as student and teacher. Moshes becomes Elie’s tutor, instructing him in the ways of Jewish mysticism. Elie believes that learning the Kabbalah will answer his questions about God and reality.

In 1942 Moshe and the rest of Sighet’s foreign Jews are deported. Elie is upset, but quickly moves on. It comes as a complete surprise to Elie that Moshe returns after a few months. Moshe tells his story about nearly dying at the hands of the Nazis, but no one, not even Elie, believes him. Elie pities Moshe, believing with the rest of the Jewish community that Moshe’s warnings are the ramblings of a madman.

thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Moshe the Beadle lived as a foreign Jew in Sighet and worked as a handyman at a Hasidic synagogue. He led a poor and quiet life among the people of Sighet. Moshe was also a very religious man. Eliezer got to know Moshe in 1941 when Eliezer was just twelve years old. Eliezer was also very religious, and he spent his time reading the Talmud and visiting the synagogue. He was interested in taking his religious studies further by studying the cabbala. He requested his father get him a teacher to guide him in his studies, but his father objected, stating he was too young. One day as Eliezer was visiting the synagogue, Moshe approached him and they had a conversation. Eliezer discovered that Moshe was very knowledgeable in religious matters and so he made him his religious guide. They studied the Jewish religion and the mysticism found in the cabbala. Eliezer found a teacher in Moshe.

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Night

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