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Uncertainty

Rabbi Harvey Belovski reveals the power of uncertainty as the core of a meaningful and emotionally healthy inner world.

Rabbi Harvey Belovski goes back to his childhood and remembers the nervous boy who had an aversion to uncertainty - something that continued to trouble him well into adulthood.

Harvey explains that, when he was young, he was taken with the certainty shown by Abraham in the story of the Binding of Issac, where his total faith in God led him to the brink of sacrificing his son. According to Harvey, "we are always left in awe, or horror, that Abraham seemed to experience no doubt that he was doing the right thing."

Later, Harvey found another interpretation of the story in the writings of a Polish rabbi known as the Ishbitzer, who suggests that Abraham was being tested to see if he could embrace uncertainty - did God want Abraham to sacrifice Isaac or would Isaac become the father of a great nation? Abraham simply couldn't know, yet he was required to accept the doubt.

"This might seem trivial," Harvey says, "but it changed my world forever...I began to see doubt and complexity less as enemies to be eliminated, but as central features of a meaningful life."

Through traditional Jewish music and the compositions of Mozart and Chopin, he leads us on his journey from discomfort to mature acceptance that uncertainty is something to be embraced.

Presenter: Rabbi Harvey Belovski
Producer: Michael Wakelin
A TBI production for BBC Radio 4.

18 days left to listen

28 minutes

Music Played

  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Concerto In D Minor BWV 974: I. Andante

    Performer: Vahan Mardirossian.
    • Bach: Piano Transcriptions.
    • Transart.
  • Rabbi Menachem Creditor

    Mizmor Ledavid (feat. David Paskin)

    Performer: Rabbi Menachem Creditor.
    • Olam Chesed (A World of Love).
    • Menachem Creditor.
  • Philip Glass

    Heroes Symphony: III. Sense of Doubt

    Performer: Philip Glass.
    • Philip Glass: “Heroes” Symphony (from the music of David Bowie & Brian Eno).
    • Point Music.
  • Daniel Ahaviel

    Nigun Modzitz

    Performer: Daniel Ahaviel.
    • Veahavta.
    • Fdd Production.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    String Quartet No 19 in C Major, I. Adagio, Allegro

    Performer: Salzburg Mozarteum Quartet.
    • The 99 Most Essential Mozart Masterpieces.
    • X5 Music Group.
  • Anton Webern

    Five Pieces for Orchestra, I. Sehr ruhig und zart

    Performer: Pierre Boulez & London Symphony Orchestra.
    • Anton Webern, Complete Works, Op. 1 - Op. 31.
    • Sony.
  • Anton Webern

    Five Pieces for Orchestra, II. Lebhaft und zart bewegt

    Performer: Pierre Boulez & London Symphony Orchestra.
    • Anton Webern, Complete Works, Op. 1 - Op. 31.
    • Sony.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    24 Préludes, No. 5 in D Major

    Performer: Maurizio Pollini.
    • Chopin, Preludes, Op. 28.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.

Readings

Title:  Proverbs 15:30

Author: Translation adapted by Harvey Belovski with commentary of Metzudat David

 

Title:  Psalm 23

Author: Translation adapted by Harvey Belovski

 

Title: My Doubt

Author: Jane Hirschfield

Publisher: 

 

Title:  Genesis 22

Author: Translation adapted by Harvey Belovski

 

Title:  Fear and Trembling

Author: Søren Kierkegaard

 Publisher: Penguin Classics

 

Title: Genesis 22, commentary of Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner

Author: Translation adapted by Harvey Belovski

 

Title:  Ecce Homo

Author: Friedrich Nietzsche

Publisher:  Penguin Classics

 

Title: String Theory for Dummies

Author: Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Publisher: For Dummies

 

Title: The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents

Author: Deepak Chopra

Publisher: Harmony

 

Title: Derech Eretz Zuta 1

Publisher:  Dov-Bar Aharonson Publications

Broadcasts