Thursday, November 13, 2008

Infinite Light

In room 310 there was a a party.

Behind the scenes at the hotel there was no party.

I skipped on both atmospheres and followed a dog into the dark streets of Safed. I was in town to perform a few of my old tunes, but Safed is not a gig-and-go kind of place. It is an ancient hilltop city (perched atop Israel's 3rd tallest mountain), was home to the great 16th century Kabbalist rabbi Isaac Luria and is famed as a hub of mystical enegry.

Safed at night is dominated by men, the opposite of Fellini's Citta Delle Donne.

but the further you venture into the labyrinth of it's old quarters, the more it is dominated by nobody. The alleyways were perfectly silent.

Rabbi Lurie's synagogue was locked and bolted.

Strangely, inside, a single kerosene lamp was alight.

I stuck my face to the glass, enchanted. This was a sight that would have made a Kabbalist out of Richard Dawkins, but maybe I'm a greater rationalist than he. Rather than spend the night praying in the small courtyard, I concluded my evening by buying shit to consume in front of the telly, and visiting Israel's most splendidly ugly public restroom.

I love Luria and his vision of infinite light - a delicate system of energies that controls the universe. Still, I'll forever be a deciple of Lao Tzu. "It appears as darkness." he wrote, "darkness within darkness, the gateway to all mystery."

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