Quote of the Day


The true motivation for prayer is not, as it has been said, the sense of being at home in the universe, but rather the sense of not being at home in the universe.

Is there a sensitive heart that could stand indifferent and feel at home in the sight of so much evil and suffering, in the face of countless failures to live up to the will of G-d? On the contrary, the experience of not being at home in the world is a motivation for prayer.

The experience gains intensity in the amazing awareness that G-d himself is not at home in the universe. He is not at home in a universe where His will is defied and where His kingship is denied. G-d is in exile; the world is corrupt. The universe itself is not at home.

To pray means to bring G-d back into the world, to establish His kingship for a second at least. To pray means to expand His presence.


Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Insecurity of Freedom, p. 258.

About Rabbi Joshua

I'm a Rabbi, writer, thinker, mountain biker, father and husband ... not necessarily in that order. According to my wife, however, I'm just a big nerd. I have degrees in dead languages and ancient stuff. I have studied in various Jewish institutions, including an Orthodox yeshiva in Europe. I get in trouble for making friends with perfect strangers, and for standing on chairs to sing during Shabbos dinner. In addition to being the Senior Rabbi of Beth Emunah Messianic Synagogue in Agoura Hills, CA, I write regularly for several publications and speak widely in congregations and conferences. My wife is a Southern-fried Jewish Beltway bandit and a smokin' hot human rights attorney... and please don’t take offense if I dump Tabasco sauce on your cooking.
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3 Responses to Quote of the Day

  1. ronitkory says:

    second to last line is striking…i think i'm going to have to find this book…preferably used and cheap…

  2. ronitkory says:

    $26 on amazon and it's paperback? maybe we'll meet some other time, abe

  3. Rabbi Joshua says:

    Ronit,I originally pulled this quote from a compilation of Heschel's work called "I Asked for Wonder." Used copies are listed on Amazon starting at $3.55, and this would be a nice small intro to Heschel.Cheers!

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