by HaIm Fabrizio Cipriani
Translation Louise Thunin
It’s uncommon to find oneself in the right place. The Bible text tells us : And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east ; and there he put the man whom he had formed. (Gen. 2 : 8) But then, …the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. (Gen. 3 : 23) Human beings, first separated from the earth from which they are formed and integrated in the Garden-of-Eden dimension, must finally be sent away from this place and reunited to the earth, in order to work on it and on themselves. It is from this moment on that human beings will build their capacity to seek, not to find, the right place.
In the same way, the Abraham narrative begins thus : Now the Lord said to Abram, ˝Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.˝ (Gen12 : 1-2) What makes Abram so important is nothing other than the ease with which he uproots himself from his reality in order to embrace an undefined destiny, in an unspecified ˝elsewhere.˝
It is perhaps for this reason that, later on, the Jewish people will have to uproot themselves from Egypt, in order to rid temselves from all that hinders their spirituality. Even when the Torah is given on Mount Sinaï, we can see that Moses is not where he is expected to be : the Lord says to him, ˝Go down and come up bringing Aaron with you (…) Moses went down to the people (…) And God spoke all these words, saying, ˝I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt…˝ (Ex. 19 : 24 – 20 : 2). Revelation therefore takes place on the mountaintop at a time when no one else is around. This summit is the place where Moses was and where he will be, but where he is not in the present. It is perhaps for this reason that Judaism uses the word Maqom, Place, as a name for Transcendance. This same Place presents itself to Moses as ˝I am who I am.˝ (Ex. 3 : 14) Moses has been to every place where people have looked for him, and yet he will be elsewhere, calling us from another place. Fortunately, we are never in the right place. Otherwise, how could we hear the call ?