Sofia Freudenstein

This framework - inspired by Heschel's radical amazement with the world in its entirety - is most likely why I became the person I am today.

Student, Yeshivat Maharat
New York
A Halakhic Perspective

How did you first encounter Abraham Joshua Heschel’s work?

I attended the Toronto Heschel School in Toronto, Canada. The school believed in integrated subjects – my art classes were influenced by my limmudei kodesh (holy studies). This framework – inspired by Heschel’s radical amazement with the world in its entirety – is most likely why I became the person I am today.

How did Heschel influence your life, thinking, and/or work? What of Heschel lives in you?

My undergraduate thesis was on Heschel, so I have much to say. Here are two pieces I wrote on his yahrzheits (the anniversary of a death):

Jan 2020
Against dichotomies–Whether it be his refusal to line up according to one specific denominational label, or his rejection of the opposition of halakhah and aggadah since Judaism needs to both provide order and compassion.

Dec 2021
Revelation at Sinai for Heschel is not just a point in history, but is re-experienced and re-enacted in the past, present and future in a way that makes it not isolated to a specific moment. Heschel is calling on us to take these re-enactments, and re-internalize and re-rectify them, with every re-living we have of that moment. We are not merely bystanders to these re-experiences - each time we experience them we are invited to re-understand and re-contemplate our relationships to them. Something only happening once isn’t enough to transform – it’s about how we internalize that experience and make it an experience that lives constantly.

Additional Texts

Historicism and Revelation in Modern Jewish Thought


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