Heschel sayings

(from Abraham Joshua Heschel, Essential Writings)

Prayer should not focus on our wishes, but rather is a moment in which God’s intentions are reflected in us.

We think we are in search of an elusive God, not realizing that it is God who is in search of us…

There is in us more kinship with the divine than we are able to believe. The souls of men and women are candles of the Lord.

I shudder at the thought of a society ruled by people who are absolutely certain of their wisdom, by people to whom everything in the world is crystal-clear, whose minds know no mystery, no uncertainty…

Wonder rather than doubt is the root of knowledge.

Faith in God is not simply an afterlife-insurance policy. Racial or religious bigotry must be recognized for what it is: satanism, blasphemy.

The Bible insists that the interests of the poor have precedence over the interests of the rich. The prophets have a bias in favor of the poor…

Our people were consumed by fire. And the world is unchanged. The ash of human skeletons emits no odor. The atmosphere of the world is not contaminated. Our bread is fresh; our sugar is sweet. The screams of millions of victims of the crematoria were never transmitted over the radio waves…

The knowledge of evil is something which the first man acquired; it was not something that the prophets had to discover. Their great contribution to humanity was the discovery of the evil of indifference. One may be decent and sinister, pious and sinful. 

I am my brother’s keeper.

One of the meanings of the anger of God: the end of indifference!

The question of theodicy: How can we justify a good God in the face of so much evil?

But the central question [is] anthropodicy: How could human beings commit mass murder? How can God continue to have faith in our humanity, given the wickedness we commit?

Prayer is a moment when humility is a reality. Humility is not a virtue. Humility is truth. Everything else is illusion.

One thought on “Heschel sayings

  1. I enjoyed last Sunday. The quotes from Heschel are so rich and thought provoking. The words theodicy and anthropodicy are new to me. I’m glad you have put them up here Geoffrey. I shall return to them for a look.

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