‘On Being’ features memories of religious leader

Sunday mornings I listen to “On Being with Krista Tippett.” This week she discussed the late Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel with Arnold Eisen, the current chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Heschel was a prominent figure in the civil rights movement. Marching along with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., according to Tippett, Heschel said that he felt as he walked along that his legs were praying. I encourage anyone looking for thoughtful discourse to click on the link below and listen to the program. It is an hour long.

Here are a few gems from Heschel provided in the conversation:

“Some are guilty, but all are responsible.”

“We are infatuated with our great technological achievements; we have forgotten the mystery of being, of being alive. We have lost our sense of wonder, our sense of radical amazement at sheer being. We have forgotten the meaning of being human and the deep responsibility involved in just being alive. Shakespeare’s Hamlet said: ‘To be or not to be, that is the question.’ But that is no problem. We all want to be. The real problem, biblically speaking, is how to be and how not to be.”

“Words create worlds.”

And this memory from his daughter, Susannah, as related by Tippett: “He used to remind me that the Holocaust did not begin with the building of crematoria, with tanks and guns. It began with uttering evil words, with defamation, with language and propaganda. ‘Words create worlds,’ he used to tell me when I was a child.”

Here is a link to the audio program:

A transcript is also available here:

Arnold Eisen – The Opposite of Good is Indifference.

Let me know what you think by commenting via email: dfortier@bristoledition.org.