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Portions of beauty and suffering

“They” say a lot of things. “They” say we should drink 8 glasses of water a day. Or not. “They” say finding a geico in your home is good luck. We rarely know who they are and sometimes we acknowledge that “they” often stands for popular wisdom or an unverified statistic that we still seek to quote because it brings us comfort.

Well, “they” say that “of the 10 portions of beauty that came down to the world, 9 went to Jerusalem and one to the rest of the world.” The next verse reads “of the 10 portions of suffering that came down to the world, 9 went to Jerusalem and one to the rest of the world.” The ‘they’ in this case would be Talmud scholars.

I find myself in Jerusalem and my heart has no room for suffering this week. And so, on my first walk, I photograph what is beautiful, what is curious, what is giving me hope. If “they” are right about this city, the beauty and the suffering walk hand-in-hand and cannot be divorced from one another.

For today, though, world — please, let me just savor the beautiful light.

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