Abraham_Joshua_Heschel (1907-1972) was Professor of Jewish Ethics and Mysticism at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, a distinguished author, lecturer, philosopher and activist. He marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.; he called that “praying with his legs.” He wrote prolifically, but had never done an interview on tape or film until he allowed Carl Stern to interview him on NBC in 1972; as it turned out, the interview took place two weeks before his death. The interview was a breathtaking experience for many who watched. NBC received a quarter million requests for a transcript of the interview. It is possible that no television interview in history touched on so many of life’s deepest questions with greater sincerity. That is what Heschel was: a sincere man.
Heschel was peculiarly aware of the danger of indifference. In such a time as this, with all that is happening in Lybia, the Ivory Coast, Syria, Yemen, and beyond, he would have been unable to sleep through the night, just as he was unable to sleep through the night during the Vietnam War.
Heschel might well have said, “My God is an angry God.” According to Heschel, God’s anger is full of tears. In Heschel’s own words: “The prophet's angry words cry. The wrath of God is a lamentation” (From "Religion and Race," in The Insecurity of Freedom , p. 110).
Here is a collection of online material of use in remembering Avraham Yehoshua Heschel:
Carl Stern reminisces about his interview with Abraham Heschel
Compressed transcript of the interview
Video of interview (1)
Video of interview (2)
Video of interview (3)
PBS Profile of Abraham Joshua Heschel
Notes on a Friendship: Abraham Joshua Heschel and Reinhold Niebuhr
The Spiritual Audacity of Abraham Joshua Heschel
Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King Jr.
Heschel and the Recovery of Biblical Faith
Here is a session outline for a class on “The Bible and Current Events” on the topic of “My God is an Angry God.”
My God is an Angry God
Review and Q & A on Previous Sessions
Assigned texts: Nahum; Psalm 94; Romans 12:19; Revelation 6
Essay Topic: Anger as an expression of Love
Excerpts from Heschel, The Prophets