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The Fiftieth Yahrzeit of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel   ז״ל  

12/01/2023 09:03:54 AM


Rabbi Abraham Joshuh Heschel died on December 23, 1972 - the eighteenth of Tevet. The Hebrew date of his Yahrzeit coincides with January 11th this week.

In  Toronto and New York, a Jewish day school is named after him. Heschel's legacy has touched all streams of Judaism, civil rights, racial equality, Jewish-Christian dialogue, and much more.

Born into a European Hasidic dynasty, Heschel found his way to the U.S. and became a scholar at the Hebrew Union College (Reform) and the Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative). At rabbinical conventions, he would emphasize the importance of Halakha (Jewish Law) to the Reform rabbis and the importance of Aggadah (the non-legal ethical impulses of Judaism) to the Conservative rabbis.

His written words are manifold including but not limited to philosophical greats such as:

God in search of Man, Man's quest for God, Torah Min Ha'Shamayim (Heavenly Torah), the Prophets, the Sabbath, etc. In my first year of rabbinical school, I took a required course taught by his student, the late rabbi Fritz Rothschild ז״ל, who had edited a book on Heschel's vast writings called, "Between God and Man."

Heschel marched with the late Martin Luther King for the cause of civil rights and became famous for the expression, "praying with one's feet." 

Heschel developed strong ties with the Roman Catholic Church, which helped lead to Nostra Aetate, the Church's revised and positive attitude toward Judaism and Jewish-Christian relations.

Nowadays, we continue to need the leadership and inspiration of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel on matters of civility, mutual-cooperation, an understanding of Jewish Law which is spiritually and ethically based, multi-faith and multi-cultural understanding, and more.

Yhi Zichro Baruch - May the memory of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel this week of his fiftieth Yahrzeit be for a blessing.

Rabbi Howard Morrison

Wed, 7 June 2023 18 Sivan 5783