Initially, Eliezer Wiesel is a twelve-year-old boy with parents and sisters who own a store in the town of Sighet. Eliezer wanted to study Kabbalah, the discipline of Jewish mysticism, although his father wouldn’t grant him the opportunity to do so. According to his father, Eliezer wasn’t of age, thirty being the age one learned about mysticism, and so he was told to study the fundamental disciplines which were far easier to digest. However, along with studying Talmud throughout the day, Eliezer managed to find a way to study Kabbalah: through Moishe the Beadle.
One night, Moishe noticed that Eliezer cried while he prayed and questioned it. Eliezer wasn’t quite sure himself either. What he did know was that there was something within his mind that made him feel obligated to cry. Moishe also wondered why Eliezer prayed in the first place. To Eliezer, that was an absurd question seeing as he couldn’t think of an answer, just as he couldn’t think of an answer to why he lived or breathed. Having said this, it can be inferred that Eliezer prayed because he felt as though it was essential, similar to how breathing was necessary to living. He likely felt this way because his family was Jewish and lived in a town occupied by Jews who visited synagogues and rabbis. This would allow the idea of faith and religion to penetrate Eliezer’s mind, thus resulting in him thinking that praying was an imperative part of life.
Moishe was considered the poorest in the town and mastered the art of rendering himself insignificant and invisible. As Elie’s teacher, he talks about the riddles of the world and God’s order to hunt for understanding. Originally Elie portrays people and the world around him as morally good. Together Moishe and Elie would read for hours on end for many days. Elie learned and was influenced a lot from Moishe. Like when Moishe says “I pray to the God within me that he will give me the strength to ask him the right questions”. This shows Elie a new way of looking at the prayers and God. In the course of that time, Elie became convinced that Moishe would help him enter eternity, into that time when question and answer become one.
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