"For the first time, I felt anger rise within me. Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty, the eternal and terrible master of the universe, chose to be silent? What was there to thank Him for?"
In response to witnessing babies burn in the crematorium’s flames upon arriving at Birkenau, Eliezer experiences his first true test of his faith in God’s inherent goodness. The infants, who are the ultimate representation of purity and innocence, meet the same horrific fate as everyone else, and Eliezer cannot reconcile this destruction of God’s purest creation with his belief in a world that reflects the will of the divine. He does not yet doubt God’s existence, but questions his influence and criticizes his silence.
"How could I say to Him: Blessed be Thou, Almighty, Master of the Universe, who chose us among all nations to be tortured day and night, to watch as our fathers, our mothers, our brothers end up in the furnaces?"
Eliezer experiences yet another internal conflict regarding his faith as the thousands of Jewish prisoners in Buna gather to observe Rosh Hashanah. While many of those gathered lift their voices up in solemn prayer, Eliezer angrily pushes back against the idea of God as figure worthy of blessing or thanking. He sees the evil that permeates the camp and causes such tragic deaths as an effect of God’s inaction, or God’s choice to "watch" rather than act. This divine inaction, Eliezer comes to believe, makes Him unworthy of praise.
"I was the accuser, God the accused. My eyes had opened and I was alone terribly alone in a world without God, without man…I was nothing but ashes now, but I felt myself to be stronger than this Almighty to whom my life had been bound for so long. In the midst of these men assembled for prayer, I felt like an observer, a stranger."
As he comes to the conclusion that God’s divine presence has disappeared from the world, Eliezer finds himself feeling like an outsider at the camp’s makeshift Rosh Hashanah service. Watching the group continue to assemble in prayer despite their tragic circumstances convinces Eliezer that man is stronger than God, a belief that directly challenges the tenets of his once closely-held faith. Even though the Nazis’ torture has metaphorically reduced Eliezer to ashes, he feels that he wields more power over his own survival than God ever could.