Last week, I offered to you Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s concept of radical amazement, and the necessity of being conscious of the wonder and mystery of living. How do we respond to Heschel’s ideas? According to Heschel the response is found in prayer.
Here are edited thoughts from the great philosopher about the need to pray, excerpted from his book, God in Search of Man.
To pray is to take notice of the wonder, to regain a sense of the mystery that animates all beings, the divine margin all attainments. Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living. It is all we can offer in return for the mystery by which we live. Who is worthy to be present at the constant unfolding of time? Amidst the meditation of mountains, the humility of flowers — wiser than all alphabets — clouds that die constantly for the sake of God’s glory, we are hating, hunting, hurting. Suddenly we feel ashamed of our clashes and complaints in the face of the tacit glory in nature. It is so embarrassing to live! How strange we are in the world, and how presumptuous our doings! Only one response can maintain us: gratefulness for witnessing the wonder, for the gift of our unearned right to serve, to adore, and to fulfill. It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.
May you have a week of blessings and a Shabbat of peace.
Rabbi Debbie Israel