Abraham Joshua Heschel Quotes
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We are closer to God when we are asking questions than when we think we have the answers.
Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.
Prayer cannot bring water to parched fields, or mend a broken bridge, or rebuild a ruined city; but prayer can water an arid soul, mend a broken heart, and rebuild a weakened will.
Remember that there is meaning beyond absurdity. Know that every deed counts, that every word is power...Above all, remember that you must build your life as if it were a work of art.
In any free society where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty - all are responsible.
When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.
The opposite of good is not evil, the opposite of good is indifference.
Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself. It is a silent justification affording evil acceptability in society.
When I marched with Martin Luther King in Selma, I felt my legs were praying.
Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.
The degree to which one is sensitive to other people's suffering, to other (people's) humanity, is the index of one's own humanity
We must first peer into the darkness, feel strangled and entombed in the hopelessness of living without God, before we are ready to feel the presence of His living light.
It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.
In a controversy, the instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for truth and have begun striving for ourselves.
A religious man is a person... whose greatest passion is compassion.
The test of love is in how one relates not to saints and scholars but to rascals.
Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts out as a sound, ends in a deed.
God is not nice. God is not an uncle. God is an earthquake.
Few are guilty, but all are responsible.
(People) can never attain fulfillment, or sense of meaning, unless it is shared, unless it pertains to other human beings.
As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines. Such decline is an alarming symptom of our state of mind. Mankind will not perish for want of information; but only for want of appreciation.
I have one talent, and that is the capacity to be tremendously surprised, surprised at life, at ideas. This is to me the supreme Hasidic imperative: Don't be old. Don't be stale.
Ultimately there is no power to narcissistic, self-indulgent thinking. Authentic thinking originates with an encounter with the world.
Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.
There is no specialized art of prayer. All of life must be a training to pray. We pray the way we live.
We can all do our share to redeem the world in spite of all absurdities and all frustrations and all disappointments.
Every little deed counts.
There is happiness in the love of labor, there is misery in the love of gain.
Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.
When religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion, its message becomes meaningless.
Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge.
Awareness of the divine begins with wonder.
The tragedy of religion is partly due to its isolation from life, as if God could be segregated.
The road to the sacred leads through the secular.
The course of life is unpredictable no one can write his autobiography in advance.
Worship is a way of seeing the world in the light of God.
The beginning of our happiness lies in the understanding that life without wonder is not worth living.
Man's sin is in his failure to live what he is. Being the master of the earth, man forgets that he is the servant of God.
The problem to be faced is: how to combine loyalty to one's own tradition with reverence for different traditions.
To serve does not mean to surrender but to share.
Much of what the Bible demands can be comprised in one imperative: Remember!
God is not a hypothesis derived from logical assumptions, but an immediate insight, self-evident as light. He is not something to be sought in the darkness with the light of reason. He is the light.
Prayer begins at the edge of emptiness.
In the darkest night to be certain of the dawn...to go through Hell and to continue to trust in the goodness of God-this is the challenge and the way.
Life is not meaningful...unle ss it is serving an end beyond itself; unless it is of value to someone else.
To abstain completely from all enjoyments may be easy. Yet to enjoy life and retain spiritual integrity - there is the challenge.
We forfeit the right to worship God as long as we continue to humiliate negroes. ... The hour calls for moral grandeur and spiritual audacity.
To become aware of the ineffable is to part company with words.
God is either of no importance, or of supreme importance.
Spiritual life begins to decay when we fail to sense the grandeur of what is eternal in time.