26 May 2014

Heschel on Monday

“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”

23 May 2014

21 May 2014

Symbols Speak Volumes

Today I did a social experiment and wore a yarmulke (kipper) and prayer undershirt worn by some Jewish men. I wanted to see how people related to me based on these symbols of the "religious life."
       Most people tried to ignore my dress, although just about everyone did a double-take to check out the tassels hanging from the prayer shawl.
       I spent a couple of hours at a hip cafe in Denver (Stella's) where a variety of people hang out. I was not the only person who stood out in one way or another, so a lot of people just took me for another person who was uniquely expressing himself. I appreciate that about Denver.
       There were some other responses from a few people as well:
* One person clearly walked the other way when they saw me and my dress. They seemed frightened or something;
* One person asked if I was an orthodox Jew or some other kind. I assume from this that she thinks I am "religious" in some way;
* Another person wondered if I have been wearing my yarmulke for a long time, or if it was a new thing for me.
       I had the impression that many people looked at me and thought I was religious, and perhaps that I have "faith." Most seemed very respectful.
       I wish that we could redeem some religious "artifacts" such as prayer shawls and yarmulkes. Several times during the day I had a glimpse of the very good and positive that these can bring.
       For one thing, the yarmulke reminded me that I am always under God's providence, always under "his wing" in a sense.
       The prayer undershirt reminded me to be prayerful toward people around me - while standing in line for coffee at Stella's I overheard a gal telling her friend that she had just broken up with her boyfriend that day. I prayed for both of them quietly.
        I am thinking that some time I should wear the North African head dress that I got a couple of years ago. I'll see how people respond to that artifact!

19 May 2014

Heschel on Monday

“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

12 May 2014

Heschel on Monday

“This is one of the goals of the Jewish way of living: to experience commonplace deeds as spiritual adventures, to feel the hidden love and wisdom in all things.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism

05 May 2014

Heschel on Monday

“Wonder or radical amazement is the chief characteristic of the religious man's attitude toward history and nature.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism