Wiesel, once a very religious boy who spent his free time furthering his Jewish studies, struggles with his faith.The fire of the crematorium consumed his faith forever, and he now sees himself...

 Wiesel, once a very religious boy who spent his free time furthering his Jewish studies, struggles with his faith.

The fire of the crematorium consumed his faith forever, and he now sees himself as the accuser, and God as the accused.  Yet others said that God is testing them.  And if they are made to suffer relentlessly it is proof that God loves them all the more.

           In times of great distress, some turn to their God, and others turn away.  Explain why you think this is, offering examples from the book and from your own experience.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I will leave the personal experience to your own analysis.  I think in terms of being able to discuss the facing to or from God in times of distress, the context of the Holocaust has to be examined.  At the point where Eliezer speaks to his renunciation of God, he had seen the crematorium at Auschwitz, where children and babies had been incinerated from the Earth.  Already overwhelmed with his experience, Eliezer cannot reconcile the belief in God and the salvation it provides with such an image.  At such a point, there were individuals who believed that such a moment was the personification of the testing of faith.  However, Eliezer, and countless others, must have believed that such a moment- when children and babies, infants, are exterminated- had to be confirmation that God is absent from this setting or that God is ignoring the cries of others' suffering.  One cannot really condemn or praise Eliezer or others for their decision in a situation such as the Holocaust.  Rather, one can only seek to understand the pain of another's suffering in terms of their predicament as well as their spiritual questioning for the presence of a higher power.