Abraham Joshua Heschel Quotes For Inspiration In Life

Abraham Joshua Heschel was a Polish-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century. Heschel, a professor of Jewish mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, authored a number of widely read books on Jewish philosophy and was a leader in the civil rights movement. These Abraham Joshua Heschel quotes will inspire you to achieve success.

Best Abraham Joshua Heschel Quotes

  1. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  2. “…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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  3. “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
  4. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  5. “In any free society where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty – all are responsible.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

  6. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  7. “We are closer to God when we are asking questions than when we think we have the answers.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  8. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  9. “The opposite of good is not evil, the opposite of good is indifference.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

  10. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  11. “Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  12. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  13. “Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself. It is a silent justification affording evil acceptability in society.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  14. “The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space. Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time. It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation; from the world of creation to the creation of the world.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  15. “When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

  16. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  17. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  18. “People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state–it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle…. Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one’s actions. Source: The Wisdom of Heschel” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  19. “Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

  20. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  21. “In a controversy, the instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for truth and have begun striving for ourselves.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  22. “One of the major symptoms of the general crisis existent in our world today is our lack of sensitivity to words. We use words as tools. We forget that words are a repository of the spirit. The tragedy of our times is that the vessels of the spirit are broken. We cannot approach the spirit unless we repair the vessels. Reverence for words – an awareness of the wonder of words, of the mystery of words – is an essential prerequisite for prayer. By the word of God the world was created.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  23. “It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

  24. “There are two primary ways in which mans relates himself to the world that surround him: manipulation and appreciation . In the first way he sees in what surrounds him things to be handled, forces to be managed, objects to be put to use. In the second way he sees in what surrounds him things to be acknowledged, understood, valued or admired.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel Quotes
  25. “We worry a great deal about the problem of church and state. Now what about the church and God? Sometimes there seems to be a greater separation between the church and God than between the church and state.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  26. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  27. “Few are guilty, but all are responsible.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

  28. “Awe is an intuition for the dignity of all things, a realization that things not only are what they are but also stand, however remotely, for something supreme. Awe is a sense for transcendence, for the reference everywhere to mystery beyond all things. It enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine. … to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple: to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal. What we cannot comprehend by analysis, we become aware of in awe.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  29. “Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  30. “Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  31. Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

  32. “We can all do our share to redeem the world in spite of all absurdities and all frustrations and all disappointments.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  33. “There is no specialized art of prayer. All of life must be a training to pray. We pray the way we live.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  34. “The man who has not suffered – what does he know anyway?” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  35. “A religious man is a person… whose greatest passion is compassion.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  36. “The work on weekdays and the rest on the seventh day are correlated. The Sabbath is the inspirer, the other days the inspired.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  37. “When I marched with Martin Luther King in Selma, I felt my legs were praying.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

  38. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  39. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  40. “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” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  41. “The primary purpose of prayer is not to make requests. The primary purpose is to praise, to sing, to chant. Because the essence of prayer is a song, and man cannot live without a song. Prayer may not save us. But prayer may make us worthy of being saved.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  42. “God is not nice. God is not an uncle. God is an earthquake.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

  43. “The road to the sacred leads through the secular.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  44. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  45. “To serve does not mean to surrender but to share.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  46. “We forfeit the right to worship God as long as we continue to humiliate negroes. … The hour calls for moral grandeur and spiritual audacity.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  47. “Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts out as a sound, ends in a deed.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

  48. “Indeed, the sort of crimes and even the amount of delinquency that fill the prophets of Israel with dismay do not go beyond that which we regard as normal, as typical ingredients of social dynamics. To us a single act of injustice–cheating in business, exploitation of the poor–is slight; to the prophets, a disaster. To us injustice is injurious to the welfare of the people; to the prophets, it is a deathblow to existence: to us, an episode; to them, a catastrophe, a threat to the world.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  49. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  50. “The hour calls for moral grandeur and spiritual audacity.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel”The beginning of our happiness lies in the understanding that life without wonder is not worth living.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  51. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  52. “Awareness of the divine begins with wonder.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

  53. “Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  54. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  55. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel Quotes
  56. “(People) can never attain fulfillment, or sense of meaning, unless it is shared, unless it pertains to other human beings.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  57. “Every little deed counts.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  58. “People are anxious to save up financial means for old age; they should also be anxious to prepare a spiritual means for old age…. Wisdom, maturity, tranquility do not come all of a sudden when we retire.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  59. “Much of what the Bible demands can be comprised in one imperative: Remember!” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

  60. “When religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion, its message becomes meaningless.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  61. “The problem to be faced is: how to combine loyalty to one’s own tradition with reverence for different traditions.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  62. “To abstain completely from all enjoyments may be easy. Yet to enjoy life and retain spiritual integrity – there is the challenge.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  63. “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.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
  64. “It is of the essence of virtue that the good is not to be done for the sake of a reward.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

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