The kavanah of walking

I am the son of Uruguayan immigrants. My parents came to Brazil still young and here they built their lives. It was from them that I first heard the expression: “Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar” (“A walker has no path, the path is made by walking”).

The ditto brings us the idea and the image that walking in itself is more important than the path. Is it?

It is evident that there’s value in the action. The pleasure of doing something, feeling that we aren’t still but in full movement. This is all very good and invigorates us. I experienced this feeling in a project known as the Way of Abraham, whose proposal is to redo the trek of the patriarch Abraham, since he received the call to “go unto himself” (in Hebrew, Lech lechá). I walked through new and unknown places, met new cultures and peoples. Walking made me look and reflect upon my steps, and from there to hear my voices and my silences. However, today I add two more questions to my backpack: why and where to walk.

One of the words I most like in the Hebrew language is kavanah, usually meant as the heart’s intention. Kavanah comes from kivun, meaning direction or bearing. My experience taught me that knowing why and where to we walk has the power of making us soar!

We are nearing Passover, a holiday that celebrates the redemption of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. In the desert, the people had a very clear kavanah (heart’s intention), which was the search for freedom and the rescue of their identity. In my reading of the Passover biblical narrative, though, I highlight a fundamental ingredient: faith. I believe that, even with such a clear goal and with such vital values like liberty and identity, without faith, maybe the crossing would have not been feasible.

Yes, sometimes it’s hard. It is very hard… Sometimes we get lost on the way or forget why and where to we are going.

Let’s carry on with force, with kavanah, and supporting each other.
Andar com fé eu vou.*

*Translator’s note: this is a reference to Gilberto Gil’s song Andar com Fé, “Walk with Faith”. The verse translates to “walk with faith I will”.

Ale Edelstein is an actor, singer and chazan at CIP – Congregação Israelita Paulista.

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