We enjoyed such delight in the depths and wonder of Heschel’s words last summer that it will be a worthwhile enterprise to revisit this collection of his inspirational thoughts this year!
Join His-Israel each week this summer and be inspired and challenged as we share words, thoughts, concepts and inspirations of this special teacher, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (z”l – of blessed memory).
I knew that I guard in my breast
for the world,
that God has reserved for Himself
every moment of my life.*
Dr. Susannah Heschel speaking of her father – especially vital in this year, and decade, of the peh – the mouth, in the biblical Hebrew calendar
“Words,” he often wrote, “are themselves sacred, God’s own tool for creating the universe, and our tools for bringing holiness–or evil–into the world.”
He used to remind us that the Holocaust did not begin with the building of crematoria, and Hitler did not come to power with tanks and guns; it all began with uttering evil words, with defamation, with language and propaganda.
“Words create worlds,” he used to tell me when I was a child, “and they must be used very carefully.” Some words, once having been uttered, gain eternity and can never be withdrawn. “The Book of Proverbs reminds us,” he wrote, “that death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
~ Excerpt from the introduction to ‘Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity’ Essays by Abraham Joshua Heschel
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wore many hats. He was a philosopher, a human rights activist, a Rabbi – teacher, interfaith bridge builder, a writer, a theologian, a poet…
There is not enough grandeur in our souls
To be able to unravel in words
The knot of time and eternity.
One should like to sing for all men,
For all generations…
There is a song in the wind
And joy in the trees.
The Sabbath arrives in the world…
Heschel later wrote, “When I marched in Selma, my feet were praying.”
Rabbi Professor Abraham Joshua Heschel.
From Duke University Libraries
*Abraham Heschel, Between Me and the World
** Abraham Heschel, The Sabbath