Thursday, July 01, 2021

Maybe not! But you are still responsible!

The more deeply immersed I became in the thinking of the prophets, the more powerfully it became clear to me what the lives of the prophets sought to convey: that morally speaking there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings. It also became clear to me that in regard to cruelties committed in the name of a free society, some are guilty, while all are responsible. I did not feel guilty as an individual American for the bloodshed in Vietnam [or Afghanistan, or Iraq, or …], but I felt deeply responsible. “Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor” (Leviticus 19:15). This is not a recommendation but an imperative, a supreme commandment. —Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 225

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