For Lovers of Peace



Beer Sheva is For Lovers (of Peace)

Beer Sheva Chamber of Commerce


Everybody leaves Beer Sheva. Avraham left. Sarah left. What is it about Beer Sheva that everybody leaves?

Isn’t Beer Sheva a symbol for serenity, for a peaceful life? Isn’t Beer Sheva what we are all reaching for, growing towards, the Beer Sheva of the heart — rooted, peaceful, serenity of place?

Maybe all serenity of place is illusion; it’s not a matter of place at all, maybe we are invested too much in place. Insitutional. Building, all that for lesser imaginations.

Jacob collides with place after he leaves Beer Sheva. Vayifga’ (28:11). Jacob leaves a place of serenity and collides with the place that he comes to; once you leave that one place, all arrivals are collisions with place because you never belong anywhere like you once belonged somewhere. There is only one such somewhere (hello Detroit).

What a difference from grandfather Abraham, his spiritual ancestor (in this section Jacob is referred to as Abraham’s son), his grandfather goes To (lech lecha) jacob Leaves From (vayetze).


Beer Sheva Chamber of Commerce


They built it in the desert. Plenty of room here. Ben Gurion knew that. You can live here, stretch out. It’s hot but beautiful.

Still, what is this story if not suspicious of place, a place is its people. Let’s make our place secure, the heart’s place. Let’s build it strong. Within. Make me a sanctuary, and I will dwell Within Them (Ex.25:8). It’s another Inside Job.

Change vocabulary from going to, leaving from, to Within.

With the first word, vayetze (28:10), Rashi the poet brought down that a tzaddik/righteous person leaves an impression in a place. When a tzaddik leaves a place, the tzaddik leaves a space behind her, an impression, the tzaddik is that place’s grandeur don’t you know.

The place is authenticated by the person. What if there are no tzaddikim in a place? That’s the shadow side, as if it could happen, as if it might have already. As if it’s happening now.