Especially for Judy Blanc, who liked it
Haim Blanc was an unsentimental man, yet he could appreciate sentiment. Expressions of idealism or "high" thought did not flow naturally off his tongue, but when uttered genuinely by others he did not scoff. Occasionally I read to him studies of mine on religious themes. He would listen attentively and comment briefly, usually on matters of language, aphorisms, or folklore.
The following essay is on confidence, a quality of the ideal believer that Haim, an "unbeliever," appeared to possess abundantly (presumably on other grounds). In its original form, the essay was a lecture delivered in Jerusalem in February 1976, to the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity in Israel.
Invitations to speak to this group have often stimulated me to articulate thoughts that had long been rattling about shapelessly in my mind. The present subject has been with me for as many years as I have been living here -- about six now -- since the conceptions of security and insecurity that an outlander from the United States brings to this country give him small help in dealing with the local reality. I have had to adjust to a state of insecurity for which nothing in my past prepared me. Therefore, I thought it beneficial to consider some biblical and Jewish aspects of this universal, yet very particular, problem. I propose to study with you the verbal and nominal derivates of the Hebrew root b-ṭ-ḥ.1