I had to read Elie Wiesel’s book, Night, during the daytime. Wiesel, at a young age, was an observant Jew who soon discovered that horrendous inhumane treatment was not confined to Old Testament times. He and his family were driven from their home in 1944 to Auschwitz concentration camp and then to Buchenwald. Night is about the evil of Hitler and his cohorts. The book could not be read in the dark, or neglected. The tragedy and misery is unimaginable.
However, the unimaginable was an element that made Wiesel and his family vulnerable to the evil ordeal. They were warned beforehand to move out of danger but waited until they were forced to leave home. Wiesel wrote, “The beloved objects that we had carried with us from place to place were now left behind in the wagon and, with them, finally, our illusions.”
Wiesel tells the story. The reader is required to think, to know, and to respond wisely to the warning, so evil is not allowed to grow to such horrible absurdity. Rhetorical statements about true events engage the reader to protest, My God does not test like that. Life is not this human life.
For instance, Wiesel wrote, “Poor Akiba Drumer, if only he could have kept his faith in God, if only he could have considered this suffering a divine test, he would not have been swept away by the selection. But as soon as he felt the first chinks in his faith, he lost all incentive to fight and opened the door to death.”
Did Akiba Drumer have faith in a God that doesn’t send suffering as a test? Did Akiba Drumer have faith in divine Life and know that human death is not to be feared?