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In Chapter Six we learn that an old man named Rabbi Eliahou comes into the shed looking for his son, who was separated from him while running. Rabbi Eliahou is a good man, admired by all, and he and his son had remained together for three years in the concentration camps. Eliezer tells the Rabbi that he hasn't seen the man's son, but after he leaves, he realizes that he actually had. The son had seen his father falling behind in the pack, but he had continued to run farther and farther away from him. He had been trying to get away from the burden of looking after a weak father. Eliezer prays to God for the strength never to act in the same way that Rabbi Eliahou's son did.
In Chapter Eight, the reader hears about the behavior of Rabbi Eliahou's unfaithful son, and this episode foreshadows what happens in this section. Like Rabbi Eliahou's son, Eliezer cannot help but think of his dying father as a burden. Even though he hates himself for wanting to be rid of his father, he feels that the responsibility of looking after his father is lessening his own chances at survival. For example, when Eliezer goes to find his father, who he has left lying in a pile of snow, he thinks to himself, "Don't let me find him! If only I could get rid of this dead weight, so that I could use all my strength to struggle for my own survival, and only worry about myself." Similarly, after his father's death, he is ashamed that he feels relieved: "And, in the depths of my being, in the recesses of my weakened conscience, could I have searched it, I might perhaps have found something likefree at last!"