Epilogue: The Tree of Life
“Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who passed in 1972, was one of the foremost Jewish philosopher-theologians of the 20th century. I was blessed to spend Saturday afternoon upon afternoon at his Riverside Avenue apartment in Manhattan.
The unending stream of wisdom and energy in his ideas was as though the Tree of Life and Light had taken root right before us.Heschel saw life as a pattern and he insisted that ideas of goodness be authentically rendered in acts of goodness. Heschel didn’t just applaud Martin Luther King in his quest for racial equality. Heschel marched with King. Heschel not only taught about the essence of time, his very lessons were a model of time itself.
How much like a Tree of Life was Heschel’s universe – this blending together of light and growth. How compelling, rejuvenating and life-affirming was Heschel’s image of the world – this dazzling light channeling tree of wisdom and unending passion to teach and stir the souls of others. What an enticing and sturdy affirmation of life I find this image as my journey reaches its goal.
The universal message of the Jewish story is to think beyond yourself: Don’t just pluck the fruit of the Tree of Life yourself.
Life has no higher purpose than to nourish the tree and grow fruit for the world.”
- Gordy Zacks