My Irish Rebbe

by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Gerald was the type of person in whom all the great ones of the Axial Age were alive. So if you needed Confucius, here was there. If you needed Lao Tzu, he was there.... He was able to channel the authentic, pure mystical teachings of the ages."

I was introduced to Gerald Heard sometime in the early Sixties by a young man named Charles Vernoff, then a student at the University of Chicago, who is now a professor. I was very pleased, because that meeting led to many wonderful things in my life. When I first met Gerald, I was so surprised about meeting someone who was like a savant, because I had read about savants. Yet there was such a beautiful humility about him. Here was this young rabbi coming to see him, and he was willing to hear about the Kabbalah, about Jewish spirituality, from me in a very open way. Later on I sent him a spiritual poem that I had written, and he would read it from time to time as part of his prayer. He considered himself a tertiary, but he was a monk of all kinds of systems. His main religion was Vedanta, but he also included anything else that would make him feel close to God.

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