Eliezer’s struggle with faith and view of God is a dominant conflict in the novel. Before being moved into the ghetto at the beginning of the book, Elie pursued Moishe the Beadle, a teacher of Jewish Mysticism. Moishe the Beadle is sent to a concentration camp, which he escapes from, and makes his way back to their town of Sighet to warn others of all the terrible things he had witnessed at the concentration camps. Nobody believed him though, nobody thought it was possible that such inhumane cruelty could be happening at the time, especially with everyone being so silent about it. As Eliezer goes through the same things that Moishe the Beadle had previously been through, he loses faith in God and hope for being alive but also fails to remove God from his consciousness.
In the beginning of the novel, Elie’s faith is grounded in the idea that God is everywhere, all the time, that God’s divinity touches every aspect of his daily life. For example, when Moishe the Beadle returns to Sighet and Elie asks him why he cares so much that people believe what he says he exclaims, “‘You can’t understand. I have been saved miraculously. I managed to get back here. Where did I get the strength from? I wanted to come back to Sighet to tell you of the story of my death. So that you could prepare yourselves while there was still time. To live? I don’t attach importance to my life any more’” (Wiesel 4). This illustrates that even when he felt his life didn’t have meaning, he still believed in God and had faith that God gave him the strength to come back to Sighet. Elie did not believe the stories Moishe the Beadle told because his studies taught him that God is everywhere in the world and God is good, so he didn’t think God would allow such cruelty taking place in the world. Elie again shows his view that god is everywhere when he is asked why he prays and he thinks to himself, “A strange question. Why did I live? Why did I breathe” (Wiesel 2)? This conveys that Elie feels that praying to God is as important as living and breathing, but yet does not know why he indeed prays. In the beginning of the novel, he wholeheartedly had faith in God.
Elie’s faith in God starts to shift starting with being sent to the ghettos and ending with being in the concentration camps. He starts to believe that God must be cruel or must not exist at all when he sees that the Holocaust exposes the selfishness, evil, and cruelty of not just the Nazis, but everyone including other prisoners, Jews, and himself. For example, when prisoners started to say a prayer and Elie refused to because he doesn’t have a reason to bless God anymore he states, “I was the accuser, God the...