Behaalotecha

The old debate continues: some of the Israelites wish to remain in Egypt, craving stability and food security; others trust Moses’ promise of a fulfilling future elsewhere. Essentially, both sides are right, and reflect legitimate desires – all human development is driven by the tension between various forms of staying and leaving. This is also the dynamic behind prayer – and all loving relationships – which are characterised by ratzo vashov, moving towards and moving away. Both directions matter. And while seventy elders leave the people to receive prophecy,  “two men remained in the camp… yet the spirit rested on them.” Rather than asking where to be, let us focus on what to do there: sanctifying place through action, through relationships, through trust.

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[Inspired by: Numbers 11; Sefer Hayetzira 1:8; the Brexit debate; and Der Krater des Vesuvs mit dem Ausbruch by August Kopisch.]

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