The myth of the city of Safed

This piece folklore was gathered at the San Fransisco trauma recovery center. I met with a group of social workers and over the course of one hour we all got came together in a meeting room and in one big group we decided to go around the table and each discuss folklore from their lives. At the beginning of the discussion I gave a brief description about what folklore could be. After that everyone shared pieces of folklore from their lives.

“This is a Jewish myth that has to do with the city of Safed which is a famous city and the birthplace of Kabbalah. Kabbalah is the mystical side of Judaism and the entire city of Safed is painted teal, every single thing. The City of Safed is said to be the most mystical place because when Safed was created was painted blue to trick the demons into thinking the ground was the sky and the sky was the ground and so the demons wouldn’t know where to go and the demons would not be able to disrupt the temples in Safed.”

Background information about the performance from the informant: “A lot of jewish tradition has to do with clothing and with color. One tradition related to colors is Jews, we usually wear a light blue just like ceramic bead and what this comes from is from the city of Safed. The city of Safed in Israel is said to be the most spiritual place in Israel because it’s where the Kabbalah comes from and actually Kabbalahists where this as well.”

Final Thoughts: This piece brings up one of the most important parts of Jewish folklore, the Kabbalah. The mystical side of Judaism is often under represented but much of Jewish folklore comes from this book. The myth of the city of Safed is also an example of location based folklore where in the story despite being a myth can be traced back to and actual physical location in the real world which is rare because usually stories like this take place before or outside of the real world.

annotation: To read more about the mythology connected to the city of Safed read Safed: The Mystical City by Dovid Rossoff.