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The Trial of God

by Elie Wiesel

Buy the book: Elie Wiesel. The Trial of God

Release Date: 14 November, 1995

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Elie Wiesel. The Trial of God

A Trial of Faith

While interred in Auschwitz, Elie Wiesel witnessed a trial. While such things are not unusual, this trial was. It was unusual because of the defendant: God. God was tried for violating the covenant by turning his back in silence on the Jewish people in their greatest hour of need. God was tried in absentia, without anyone present being willing to take on the role of God's defense attorney. God was declared guilty, after which the "court" prayed. Contradiction? Perhaps. But this incident, which served as the inspiration for *The Trial of God*, is part of the long Jewish tradition of arguing with God. While Job is God's most famous interlocuter, we cannot forget the dispute the founder of the Jewish people, Abraham, had with God over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The trial of God is really a trial of faith; this is why the "court" prayed. They are torn between their devotion to God and their complete disappointment in God's silence. This struggle of faith is the story of *The Trial of God*, in which it is the least faithful of all, Satan, that comes to God's defense. Wiesel is fond of retelling a story about two Holocaust survivors, one a rabbi, who meet after liberation. The survivor asks the rabbi how, after all that has happened, he can continue to believe in God. The rabbi retorts by asking how, after all that has happened, can the other *not* believe in God. Wiesel has often echoed this paradox in his own sentiments. This is the paradox which *the Trial of God* presents us; it is a story of doubting trust and trusting doubt which, as Wiesel suggests, might be reconcilable only in protest. Perhaps *The Trial of God* is Wiesel's act of faith; perhaps it is an act of condemnation. I suspect that for Wiesel it is both. Anyone who pays careful attention to this work will be highly rewarded by it, not because of the answers it gives (for it gives none), but (in good Wieselian style) for the questions it raises.

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A huge disappointment

The vast majority of the book has no relation to the title. There are great passages, but they are largely buried under dozens of pages of yammering prelude, silly bickering, and attempts at drunken humor. James Morrow's Blameless in Abaddon covers the same theme with much greater depth and breadth.

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