Cross at the FencePhoto by Flickr/Marcus Krisetya

Searching the term “heschel” on Flickr turned up a Heschel-Merton peace protest, some previously published photos of Heschel standing next to MLK at Selma, and a few portraits. And then there’s the image you see here, which puzzled me as I was scanning a list of thumbnails: ‘Why did somebody tag that image with the rabbi’s name?’

The answer was in the caption:

The tragedy of religion is partly due to its isolation from life,
as if God could be segregated.

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Through this brief caption a gleaning of another person’s mind. These encounters help me to see things differently, to expand my limited scope, as I search for images that encapsulate some kernel of wisdom or sensibility of what’s being discussed in a particular program. I’ve learned to stop and look rather than dismiss and move on.

Although this photo won’t make it onto the site, Markus Krisetya, the photographer, opened up another way of seeing Heschel, of finding new meaning in his writings (taken from his 1966 essay “Choose Life!”) and the graffitied bridge I pass by daily. How do you find relevance in Heschel’s words and action?


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13Reflections

Reflections

Hi Trent... intriguing picture. The religious symbol, the wall, the fence - makes me think of the Girardian ideas of violence and sacred victims making an enclosed huddle group together in pack-mentality. Fascinating.
Part of my work in Belfast involves working with children who go to school in communities that are still divided by (obscurely titled) "peacewalls" - wikipedia has a fascinating article on the global phenomenon of such walls... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...

Hi Trent... intriguing picture. The religious symbol, the wall, the fence - makes me think of the Girardian ideas of violence and sacred victims making an enclosed huddle group together in pack-mentality. Fascinating.
Part of my work in Belfast involves working with children who go to school in communities that are still divided by (obscurely titled) "peacewalls" - wikipedia has a fascinating article on the global phenomenon of such walls... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...

We did a show a while back that touched on the issue of a separation barrier dividing Jerusalem and greater Israel. The names one uses to describe these partitions is highly delicate, even clarifying what is a "wall" and what is a "fence." I pay more attention now when I consume news reports and try to think of both sides sensitivity to these terms. Alas, I fear I may not viscerally get it though, and lack that level of understanding.

I just listened to this week's program during an early morning at the gym. The conversation has much memorable in it, and I'll listen to it several more times over the coming weeks. Near the end of the program, Eisen reads the following from Heschel's work: "'God, who is more than all there is, who speaks through the ineffable, whose question is more than our mind can answer, God, to whom our life can be the spelling of an answer.'" And at the end he says, "That's Heschel." I immediately thought, 'That's sort of like Emerson,' who writes in his introduction to Nature (1836), "Every man's condition is a solution in heiroglyphic to those inquiries he would put. He acts it as life, before he apprehends it as truth."

What a poignant connection.

Thank you for the Emerson reference. I think I understand it better.

I was raised in a rural Ohio community during the '50s. My family attended a large Lutheran congregation where the unison prayer of confession, spoken aloud from the hymnal, stated "Almighty God, I confess unto thee that I am by nature sinful and unclean..." I internalized what I confessed every Sunday. It became part of my self-esteem, and made the sexual abuse I later experienced an even more shameful secret. How could I tell anyone without their thinking I was sinful and unclean? So, yes, words do make worlds. Part of me was forced to live in a world that was partitioned off from the rest of me. It wasn't until years later, through therapy and self-forgiveness, that I became whole.
I don't recall when or where I first read Heschel's quote "Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy." I do know it opened for me new possibilites for viewing myself and the world. I posted the quote on my bulletin board and have carried it in my heart ever since. I am thankful for Heschel's affirmation of the goodness of all that God creates (including me) and the holiness of everyday life.



I was raised in a rural community in Ohio during the '50s. My family attended a large Lutheran congregation where, every Sunday, we spoke aloud the words of the hymnal's unison prayer of confession, "Almighty God, I confess unto thee that I am by nature sinful and unclean." I internalized these words, and they became part of my self-image. They later made the sexual abuse I experienced as a teen an even more shameful secreat. How could I tell anyone what happened? Surely they would think that I was sinful and unclean.
I don't know when or where I first encountered Heschel's quote "Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy." I posted it on my bulletin board and carry it in my heart. Heschel's words created a new world for me, a world in which I could view myself through a different lens. It's taken time, therapy and self-forgiveness to grow into that vision, yet it wouldn't have been possible without Heschel's wisdom and insight as a catalyst.

I was raised in a rural community in Ohio during the '50s. My family attended a large Lutheran congregation where, every Sunday, we spoke aloud the words of the hymnal's unison prayer of confession, "Almighty God, I confess unto thee that I am by nature sinful and unclean." I internalized these words, and they became part of my self-image. They later made the sexual abuse I experienced as a teen an even more shameful secreat. How could I tell anyone what happened? Surely they would think that I was sinful and unclean.
I don't know when or where I first encountered Heschel's quote "Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy." I posted it on my bulletin board and carry it in my heart. Heschel's words created a new world for me, a world in which I could view myself through a different lens. It's taken time, therapy and self-forgiveness to grow into that vision, yet it wouldn't have been possible without Heschel's wisdom and insight as a catalyst.

I was raised in a rural community in Ohio during the '50s. My family attended a Lutheran congregation where we, every Sunday, spoke aloud the words of the unison prayer of confession, "Almighty God, I confess unto thee that I am by nature sinful and unclean..." I internalized the confession, and it became part of my self-image. When I later experienced sexual abuse, I told myself I must keep the shameful secret to myself. How could I tell anyone? Surely they would think I was sinful and unclean.
I don't recall when or where I first encountered Heschel's quote "Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy." I posted it on my bulletin board and carried it in my heart. Heschel's words opened a
world of new possibilities, not only for viewing myself and but also everything around me. Through therapy, self-forgiveness and a more healthy relationship with God, I have healed. I am thankful for Heschel's wisdom and insight that served as a catalyst.

Heschel's words specifically have made me think about things that i would of never thought of until i heard his words. Something that sticks out to me is this quote from Heschel, " every little deed counts, that every word has power." That right there encourages me to do something that i have never even thought of doing. That something is, is to think before i do anything and to think before i say anything. To make sure what i want to do and say is the right thing to do and the right thing to say. Thank you Abraham.

I've come to think of my near-daily Baptise Power Vinyasa practice as a 90-minute Sabbath. Pranayama- & ujjayi- breathing, sweating, & Om-ing with my fellow yogis & yoginis brings to mind Heschel's quote: "All it takes is one person… and another… and another… and another… to start a movement."

AJ Heschel , of my father's generation, is still an island of wisdom in a sea of spiritual ignorance; he dares to question our true relationship with God, and the purpose of that relationship. I am a follower of Jesus the Nazarene , a Jew who changed the world.
That makes me more than a Christian or a Jew, which is too limited by doctrine , but a member of God's people who love each other no matter one's station in life. AJ's writings, philosophy, and life transcends the common-place religious intellect into the realm of the mystic and saint . I know he sits in the Presence of God.

apples