Wednesday, October 17, 2007


"Our embarrassment in reading the harsh expressions of divine wrath is also due to the general disposition of modern man. We have no sense for spiritual grandeur. Spiritual to us means ethereal, calm, moderate, slight, imperceptible. We respond to beauty; grandeur is unbearable. We are moved by a soft religiosity, and would like to think that God is lovely, tender, and familiar, as if faith were a source of comfort, but not readiness for martyrdom.

To our mind the terrible threat of castigation bespeaks a lack of moderation. Is it not because we are only dimly aware of the full gravity of human failure, of the sufferings inflicted by those who revile God's demand for justice? There is a cruelty that pardons, just as there is a pity which punishes. Severity must tame whom love cannot win." Heschel in The Prophets, 2.76

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