In an OnBeing conversation (18th February 2021) with Krista Tippett, Rabbi Ariel Burger points out that “if you ever look at a traditional page of an old Jewish text, like an old Hebrew bible with commentaries or an old edition of the Talmud….there’s text in the middle, and then there are commentaries around the sides, and then there’s space around the edges.”
He goes on to tell us that while “in some ways, of course, the text is most authoritative and most important”, “it’s really the white space around the edges that ultimately is most important, because that’s where we get to write our questions, and we get to expand and grow and evolve a tradition that, without us, would have long since become either dormant and rigid, or would’ve disappeared entirely.”
Some months before Albert Einstein passed on, an editor of Life magazine, William Miller, visited him. William’s son Pat, a freshman at Harvard, was with him. Looking at Einstein seated in “his old-fashioned rocker”, William “had the feeling of seeing a living saint….his eyes seemed to reveal not a man but an embodiment of pure thought.”
In the course of the conversation (published in the Life edition of 2nd May 1955), we listen to Einstein’s advice to Pat:
The important thing is not to stop questioning….Never lose a holy curiosity.
The Buddhist teacher Stephen Batchelor writes (in a 2010 piece titled “Freedom Through Not Knowing”) that his Teacher “used to repeat” “A famous citation….all the time” : “Great doubt, great awakening; little doubt, little awakening; no doubt, no awakening.”