_ The Forest of Lublin / Shekhinah | Ulrike Grossarth

The Forest of Lublin / Shekhinah

In the winter of 2005, I read a passage in the ‘Tales of the Hasidim’ by Martin Buber that served as a starting-point for an on-going project in which, initially, students of my class were involved and that is now, in further journeys, continued by different people—with no end in sight.

The catalyst was a text fragment about a revelation by the Seer of Lublin, a zaddik from the eighteenth century, who makes the following prophecy while riding in a carriage through the forests of Lublin: “at one point in the future, the entire revealed and hidden teachings together with the settling down of the Shekhinah will be present here.” The Shekhinah is a mysterious and very productive motif in [the] Jewish religion, with a variety of meanings (for instance, the hidden or "female" side of God or "bride"). I remember that we were strongly affected by this description of the self-evident connection between a metaphysical state and a real space. The first impulse of our project was the casual remark: “We’ll go and see whether she is already there.” Only much later did it become clear to us that the most important part of this text is the point where it talks about driving. The Seer was able to allow for the relativization of his position through the moving trees; that is, he accepted the activity of the surroundings and was thus able to announce the missing element of our culture.