Explain why the question of fasting on the day of atonement was hotly debated explain both sides of the debate.

chapter 5

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For Rosh Hashanah all the Jews gather together at the assembly place and are a little nervous, wondering whether the last day of the year might really be their last. Eliezer angrily compares God's greatness with the weakness of the assembled Jews. Thousands of men prostrate themselves to God, but Eliezer refuses to bless a God who has allowed crematories to exist. Though he used to be a mystic and used to love New Year's Day, this year he accuses God of injustice and feels strong, yet alone, without God or man. Eliezer runs to find his father when people start wishing each other a happy new year, but neither he nor his father say anything when they see each other. They both understand that the other is reluctant to observe the Jewish holiday. Eliezer and his father refuse to fast for Yom Kippur, and Eliezer feels a pleasant revolt against God. Nevertheless, he still feels a void in his soul.

In this section Eliezer revolts against God and refuses to celebrate the Jewish New Year. However, he does not entirely lose his faith in God. At no point does Eliezer deny God's existence. Instead, he questions God's sense of justice and blames him for allowing the concentration camps to exist: "Why, but why should I bless Him? In every fiber I rebelled. Because He had had thousands of children burned in His pits? Because He kept six crematories working night and day, on Sundays and feast days?" Eliezer refuses to prostrate himself before an unjust God, but he never despairs. Instead, as the above passage indicates, he remains full of anger at God, never apathy, and this emotion keeps him alive. As Moché tells him in the beginning of the book, "Man questions God and God answers. But we don't understand His answers. We can't understand them." In refusing to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Eliezer is questioning God, but he will not receive any answers that he can understand yet. Although Eliezer's lack of religious devotion seems far removed from his earlier days diligently studying the cabbala, his experience in the concentration camps and his anger at God proves to be simply a testing of his faith.