I sum up the Jewish imperative, very simply--and it has been like this since the days of Abraham: to be true to your faith is a blessing to others regardless of their faith. That's the big paradox when you really reach the very depth of particularity.
A Blessing to Others
Topic: Interfaith Pathways
“By being what only I can be, I give humanity what only I can give. It is my uniqueness that allows me to contribute something unique to the universal heritage of humankind. I sum up the Jewish imperative, very simply–and it has been like this since the days of Abraham: to be true to your faith is a blessing to others regardless of their faith. That’s the big paradox when you really reach the very depth of particularity.“
Jonathan Sacks (1948-2020)
Enriched by Difference
Tippett, Krista. Becoming Wise: an Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living. Penguin Books, 2017. Pages 188-190.
- Enriched by Difference — Rabbi Jonathan Sacks by Krista Tippett
- Becoming Wise: Krista Tippett on Love and Mastering the Art of Living on Brain Pickings
- Becoming Wise Discussion Guide, Chapter One
- Templeton Prize Laureate Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
- Templeton Prize, In Memoriam: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (1948 – 2020)
Copyright © 2017 – 2023 LuminaryQuotes.com About Us
Jonathan Sacks with Krista Tippett (Excerpt)
JS— The Bible is saying to us the whole time: Don’t think that God is as simple as you are. He’s in places you would never expect him to be. And you know, we lose a bit of that in English translation. When Moses at the burning bush says to God, “Who are you?” God says to him three words: “Hayah asher hayah.” Those words are mistranslated in English as “I am that which I am.” But in Hebrew, it means “I will be who or how or where I will be,” meaning, Don’t think you can predict me. I am a God who is going to surprise you. One of the ways God surprises us is by letting a Jew or a Christian discover the trace of God’s presence in a Buddhist monk, or a Sikh tradition of hospitality, or the graciousness of Hindu life. Don’t think we can confine God into our categories. God is bigger than religion.
KT— Although at the same time as you say that God is bigger than religion — and I think this is an “and” for you and not a “but” — there is also a special relationship that is evidenced in those texts and a covenant that is particular to the Jewish people. So even as you honor the dignity of difference in the contemporary world, you are upholding the dignity of particularity.
JS— By being what only I can be, I give humanity what only I can give. It is my uniqueness that allows me to contribute something unique to the universal heritage of humankind. I sum up the Jewish imperative, very simply — and it has been like this since the days of Abraham: to be true to your faith and a blessing to others regardless of their faith. That’s the big paradox when you really reach the very depth of particularity.
— Tippett, Krista. “Enriched by Difference – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.” On Being with Krista Tippett, The On Being Project, 10 June 2016, onbeing.org/blog/enriched-by-difference-rabbi-jonathan-sacks/.
Lord Jonathan Sacks Awarded The Templeton Prize
The Templeton Prize ceremony honoring Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was held at Central Hall Westminster on May 26, 2016. In his remarks that evening, Rabbi Lord Sacks said:
“You can’t outsource conscience. You can’t delegate moral responsibility away. When you do, you raise expectations that cannot be met. And when, inevitably, they are not met, society becomes freighted with disappointment, anger, fear, resentment and blame. People start to take refuge in magical thinking, which today takes one of four forms: the far right, the far left, religious extremism and aggressive secularism. The far right seeks a return to a golden past that never was. The far left seeks a utopian future that will never be. Religious extremists believe you can bring salvation by terror. Aggressive secularists believe that if you get rid of religion there will be peace. These are all fantasies, and pursuing them will endanger the very foundations of freedom.
“If we continue to forget that a free society is a moral achievement that depends on habits of responsibility and restraint,” he continued, “then what will come next…will be neither liberal nor democratic, and it will certainly not be free. We need to restate the moral and spiritual dimensions in the language of the twenty-first century, using the media of the twenty-first century, and in ways that are uniting rather than divisive.”
— Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks [2016 Templeton Prize Ceremony (May 26, 2016)].