In Night, why do you think the Germans would often choose a Jewish holy day to deliver some new horror?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the most powerful elements that is present in Wiesel's work is the dramatic erosion of faith Eliezer undergoes.  To this end, it makes sense that the Germans would choose a Jewish holy day to deliver some aspect of horror.  This fits in perfectly with Eliezer's experience of loss of faith and the gradual disintegration of his spiritual sense of self.  For example, consider the moment when Eliezer experiences Rosh Hashanah and hears the invocation of God's name.  Eliezer's reaction indicates that he is unwilling and unable to pretend as if his religious faith has not been shaken by what he has seen at the hands of the Nazis.  There is an intense period of questioning, of rejection and of questioning that happens.  Part of this is reflective of the fact that Eliezer cannot reconcile a vision of a God who cares with one who would allow the torment of the Nazis to go unnoticed or unpunished.  In this light, Eliezer's questioning makes even more sense when he sees that the Nazis take special and sadistic delight in ensuring that what they do is done on the high holy days.  This cruelty on the part of the Nazis and the questioning of fath on the part of Eliezer converges in a powerful way to render a world in which values are inverted and truth is difficult to find.

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