This basic, most fundamental of differences led the Christian King of Spain to rule that Jews be evacuated forthwith from a Kingdom they had built over four centuries. The naughty, naughty proposition that the self could have power was a fact too powerful to be tolerated by a King.
Here we have a picture of the Kings' New Clothes.
Simon's tale drew back to the Barcelona Disputation, the beginning of a swift end to Jewish glorification. Since then, I didn't need really to watch more of the programme to see history repeating itself, again and again. The Old Testament takes the reader round in circles of tribes spoiling each other's tents, feeling guilty, asking forgiveness, being granted it, and repeating the whole cycle as soon as they get bored with what they've got. Shekels of silver and fattened bullocks could not, it seems, prevent Man from making war on its own kind (and the rest of the planet's inhabitants) for the sake of what he doesn't have. It seemed to me, in looking at the possibilities which lay behind the ghetto walls, that Jews might just be on to something. Like, well, how to live.
In 1492, Gerona in Spain had become the capital of Judaism, until that year when all of their kind were expelled. This came 101 years after the massacre of 4,000 Jews in Seville, so the Jewish population of Gerona moved out swiftly. Jewish memory is connective through its people as Simon mentioned on TV, and deeply epigenetic - it makes sense that Jews take lessons with them. Many places across the 'civilised' nations welcomed the flight and the bountiful abundance brought with its participants. But some sites were Trojan horses, promising fruits and delivering bread. Venice was one of these, and the voyagers arriving from their fugitive trek were herded into stalls at the northern edge of the town, away from the sea and the sobriety of orthodox living. This, the most cliche town in Italy, is where the first ever 'ghetto' was created.
This morning, my walk took just under an hour, on a route I'd never taken before on foot.
I wondered if they were congregating to fly south across the sea, as is likely at this time of year, or whether they had simply decided that fresh stubble filled with grain made for a good breakfast. Whichever is true, they had plenty of fields to pick from. They'd all chosen this one. I was lucky, I guess. How they had reached the collective decision would remain a mystery. When the sun rose, it was spectacular and golden, taking its time emerging from a froth of cottonpuff cloud to a clear sky, where it blazed like a freshly-cast bell.
"where the birds in flight from Spain came to rest."
<There, at the heart of a misunderstood community, a haven is built to commemorate beauty, in a way people can understand, if they like that sort of thing. Clearly in Simon, the awe almost made him cry, probably a horrid thing to do in front of a camera - for a bloke, anyway. I cried when I walked into Durham Cathedral, but I would hardly call my self a Christian. My heart is with the Sun.