How does the topic of ceremony play a role in the book? Why are ceremonies important to a culture and whAt does it mean in the corrupted instances of this paricular experience?
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The first and foremost ceremony is the act of prayer; Elie ignores his father's warning about the Cabala, and he studies the ancient mysticism anyway. This includes the thirteen divine qualities that can only be attained through daily prayer.
"From age twelve onward, Elie deviates from his father's path by remaining in the synagogue after the others leave and conducting with Moshe the Beadle an intense questioning of the truths within a small segment of mystic lore. The emotional gravity of Elie's study unites with the early adolescent penchant for obsession, particularly of a topic as entrancing as the history of the Spanish Inquisition or the Babylonian Captivity. Moshe's mutterings strike a respondent chord in Elie as he ponders prophecy of the Messiah, "such snatches as you could hear told of the suffering of the divinity, of the Exile of Providence, who, according to the cabbala, awaits his deliverance in that of man." It comes as no surprise that Elie's personal test jars his youthful faith with demands and temptations to doubt because he lacks experience with evil." (1)
Elie practiced all the Orthodox traditions; he was part of the Hasidic group within Judaism who were renowned for their piety. As a member of this sect, Elie wore peyes (side curls), and for clothing the traditional leather phylacteries that bound scripture to the forehead and arm prior to morning prayers. His ceremonies involved meditation, chanting and devotional readings. He was fortunate to be surrounded by devout Jews who would help him in his quest for knowledge in order to develop his faith in God.
After witnessing the burning of the infants in the trench his first night at Birkenau, Elie battles his conscience over the existence of God. He forgets to pray the Kadish, but he never forgets his belief in God.