...morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings, that indifference to evil is worse than evil itself, that in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.

β€” Abraham Joshua Heschel

The most terrific Abraham Joshua Heschel quotes to get the best of your day

Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.


Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder.

Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe. Each day enrapture me with your marvelous things without number. ...I do not ask to see the reason for it all: I ask only to share the wonder of it all.

Abraham Joshua Heschel quote Just to be is a blessing. Just to live i

Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.


When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendors of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion, its message becomes meaningless.


A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old.

It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.


In any free society where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty - all are responsible.


For many of us the march from Selma to Montgomery was about protest and prayer.

Legs are not lips and walking is not kneeling. And yet our legs uttered songs. Even without words, our march was worship. I felt my legs were praying.


When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.


We are closer to God when we are asking questions than when we think we have the answers.


Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.

Audacious longing, burning songs, daring thoughts, an impulse overwhelming the heart, usurping the mind--these are all a drive towards serving Him who rings our hearts like a bell. It is as if He were waiting to enter our empty, perishing lives.


Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism, falsehoods. The liturgical movement must become a revolutionary movement seeking to overthrow the forces that continue to destroy the promise, the hope, the vision.


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.


Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement.

....get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.


About Abraham Joshua Heschel

Quotes 164 sayings
Nationality Polish
Profession Educator
Birthday October 16

Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself.

It is a silent justification affording evil acceptability in society.


A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.


Awe enables us to see in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple, to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal.


There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord. Life goes wrong when the control of space, the acquisition of things of space, becomes our sole concern.


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.


In a controversy, the instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for truth and have begun striving for ourselves.


The test of love is in how one relates not to saints and scholars but to rascals.


It is dangerous to take human freedom for granted, to regard it as a prerogative rather than as an obligation, as an ultimate fact rather than as an ultimate goal. It is the beginning of wisdom to be amazed at the fact of our being free.


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.


Ultimately there is no power to narcissistic, self-indulgent thinking.

Authentic thinking originates with an encounter with the world.


Our concern is not how to worship in the catacombs but how to remain human in the skyscrapers.


Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.


Mundus vult decipi'β€”the world wants to be deceived.

To live without deception presupposes standards beyond the reach of most people whose existence is largely shaped by compromise, evasion and mutual accommodation. Could they face their weakness, their vanity and selfishness, without a mask?


Self-respect is the fruit of discipline;

the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.


I would say about individuals, A Individual dies when they cease to to be surprised. I am surprised every morning when I see the sunshine again. When I see an act of evil I don't accomodate, I don't accomodate myself to the violence that goes on everywhere. I am still so surprised! That is why I am against it. We must learn to be surprised.


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.


The problem to be faced is: how to combine loyalty to one's own tradition with reverence for different traditions.


The course of life is unpredictable no one can write his autobiography in advance.


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.


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.


The supremacy of expediency is being refuted by time and truth.

Time is an essential dimension of existence defiant of man's power, and truth reigns in supreme majesty, unrivaled, inimitable, and can never be defeated.


To abstain completely from all enjoyments may be easy.

Yet to enjoy life and retain spiritual integrity - there is the challenge.


Prayer begins at the edge of emptiness.


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.


We do not step out of the world when we pray;

we merely see the world in a different setting. The self is not the hub but the spoke of the revolving wheel. It is precisely the function of prayer to shift the center of living from self-consciousness to self-surrender.


Spiritual life begins to decay when we fail to sense the grandeur of what is eternal in time.


Man is a messenger who forgot the message.


The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments.


There is a built-in sense of indebtedness in the consciousness of man, an awareness of owing gratitude, or being caled upon at certain moments to reciprocate, to answer, to live in a way which is compatible with the grandeur and mystery of living.


The true meaning of existence is disclosed in moments of living in the presence of God


We can never sneer at the stars, mock the dawn, or scoff at the totality of being.


(People achieve) fullness of being in fellowship, in care for others.


Proximity to the crowd, to the majority view, spells the death of creativity.

For a soul can create only when alone, and some are chosen for the flowering that takes place in the dark avenues of night.