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The trial of God (as it was held on February…

The trial of God (as it was held on February 25, 1649, in Shamgorod) : a… (original 1979; edition 1995)

by Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel

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The Trial of God (as it was held on February 25, 1649, in Shamgorod)A Play by Elie Wiesel Translated by Marion Wiesel Introduction by Robert McAfee Brown Afterword by Matthew Foxnbsp; Where is God when innocent human beings suffer? This drama lays bare the most vexing questions confronting the moral imagination.nbsp; Set in a Ukranian village in the year 1649, this haunting play takes place in the aftermath of a pogrom. Only two Jews, Berish the innkeeper and his daughter Hannah, have survived the brutal Cossack raids. When three itinerant actors arrive in town to perform a Purim play, Berish demands that they stage a mock trial of God instead, indicting Him for His silence in the face of evil. Berish, a latter-day Job, is ready to take on the role of prosecutor. But who will defend God? A mysterious stranger named Sam, who seems oddly familiar to everyone present, shows up just in time to volunteer. nbsp; The idea for this play came from an event that Elie Wiesel witnessed as a boy in Auschwitz: "Three rabbis--all erudite and pious men--decided one evening to indict God for allowing His children to be massacred. I remember: I was there, and I felt like crying. But there nobody cried." nbsp; Inspired and challenged by this play, Christian theologians Robert McAfee Brown and Matthew Fox, in a new Introduction and Afterword, join Elie Wiesel in the search for faith in a world where God is silent.… (more)
Title:The trial of God (as it was held on February 25, 1649, in Shamgorod) : a play
Authors:Elie Wiesel
Other authors:Marion Wiesel
Info:New York : Schocken Books, c1995.
Collections:Your library, printbooks

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The Trial of God by Elie Wiesel (1979)



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Elie Wiesel as a 12 year old at Auschwitz witnessed three renowned Rabbi's hold a 'trial of God'. They found God guilty, guilty for the crimes committed on the Jews in the holocaust, guilty for allowing his chosen people to suffer (inhumanely), and for allowing his creation to commit these atrocities - sometimes even in His name.

I've previously read Night (autobiographical of his time in the camp) and Twilight (a novel about a post-Holocaust survivor). Elie is a fantastic writer who cuts down to the bone on what is real about the horrors of things such as this.

The Trial of God is done as a play, and set during the pogroms, rather than during the Holocaust. It's set on the holiday of Purim. It's a terrific play that cuts into how can God allow things like suffering, especially to his chosen people, as well as how can he sit back and allow people to kill, rape, pillage, destroy in his name. In many ways its more a retrospect of ourselves than just of God. The characters are not so much putting God on trial, but themselves, and at the end of the play, though the trial of God continues, the trial of Men ends. ( )
  BenKline | Jan 21, 2017 |
There have been a number of seemingly audacious trials of God that have taken place, beginning with the book of Job and sustained by the problem of theodicy through the present day. Wiesel's Trial of God, inspired by a similar event he witnessed in the Holocaust, is set in the aftermath of a pogrom in Ukraine in the 1600s. The only Jewish father left in the village of Shamgorod asks a band of traveling actors to stage a trial to justify what God allowed to happen.

Berish struggles with the unbreakable silence of God, and resists the suggestion that tragedy cannot be understood from the limited perspective of humanity: "I want the truth to be told. Whose truth? Mine! But if mine is not His as well, then He's worse than I thought. Then it would mean that he He gave us the taste, the passion of truth without telling us that this truth is not true!" Berish believes in God fervently, if only so he can have some reason and target for his anger. Otherwise, what is there? The alternative to believing that God has allowed tragedy to happen is that there is no reason for tragedy nor any possibility of salvation from suffering. So his faith and his anger are both steadfast, upholding one another in an odd sense. Faith is shown not to be peace, but an unending struggle with God, thereby leaving the verdict in deliberation, "for the trial will continue - without us." ( )
  the_awesome_opossum | Oct 13, 2010 |
This book is a complex play, surveying many of the theological arguments questioning God's existence in the face of catastrophic human suffering - set in 1649, it describes a Purim play occurring in a Jewish community recently decimated by a pogrom, although it is loosely based on real-life events which happened in the concentration camps. I got an enormous amount out of this, and found it much more readable than most of his other works (with the exception, possibly, of the iconic 'Night'). A must-read if you're interested in how Jewish theology has struggled with suffering in the wake of the Holocaust. ( )
  pokarekareana | Sep 2, 2010 |
Gezerot tah? ve-tat, 1648-1649--Drama.
  icm | Oct 3, 2008 |
This book is a play that Wiesel has placed back in the year 1640 in the aftermath of a pogrom in Ukraine. There are two Jews left alive in the city, the innkeeper and his daughter, and another three traveling minstrels come into town in time for Purim. It is the tradition to put on a play (so really the book is a play within a play) and they decide to put God on trial for the fact that he has stayed silent in the face of evil. The problem is that no one was to play the part of God’s lawyer until a stranger comes into town and volunteers for the part.
This book is not only a reflection of a real trial that supposedly took place in the death camps of the Holocaust, but also parallels the book of Job in the Hebrew bible. I thought it was really good (but I do also love everything Wiesel writes). I just found out last week that I will be reading this book again with Elie Wiesel as my actual teacher in my class this fall, so if I have some real insight into the book I will let you know. I don’t want to write too much and give away the ending, which is quite profound. ( )
  gfreewill | Aug 7, 2006 |
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