Thursday, March 11, 2021

How to judge value

All values are esteemed only to the extent that they are worthy in the sight of God, for only through the Divine Light is their light seen. Treasures of the world, though they be marked by beauty and charm, when they diminish the image of the divine will not endure. Fortunate is the person who sees with eyes and heart together. Fortunate is the person who is not entranced by the grand facade or repulsed by the appearance of misery. This is the mark of the spiritual personality; chic clothes, smiling faces, and artistic wonders which are filled with evil and injustice do not entrance him. Architectural wonders and monumental temples, which seem to testify to glory and honor, power and strength, are loathsome to him if they were built with the sweat of slaves and the tears of the oppressed, if they were raised with wrongdoing and deceit. Hypocrisy which parades under the veil of righteousness is worse to him then obvious wrongdoing. In his heart any religious rite for which the truth must be sacrificed is revolting. Deeds … are for the purpose of coupling the beautiful and the good, for the sake of the unification of grace and splendor. The criterion by which we judge beauty is integrity, the criterion by which we judge integrity is truth, and truth is the correspondence of the finite to the infinite, the specific to the general, the cosmos to God.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 59

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