“From the time he was a little boy, Bezalel loved to collect things. His eyes were drawn to shiny stones, dyed strings, and even a bug if it had shiny, shimmering green wings.” These are the opening lines of The World Needs Beautiful Things, a modern midrash by Leah Rachel Berkowitz, with exquisite illustrations by Daniele Fabbri.
Do you know a child who is like Bezalel? Do you sometimes discover treasures and trinkets from nature and the sidewalk stowed away in pockets and backpacks? Children usually have an easier time seeing beauty whereas adults tend to overlook it.
As this book points out, finding beauty in everyday things is not a waste of time. In the case of Bezalel, an Israelite slave who is freed and flees Egypt along with the rest of the Israelites, it is his ability to always see beauty that earns him the position of designing the mishkan, a “dwelling place” for God.
The PJ Library Book Selection Committee chose The World Needs Beautiful Things because this modern midrash shows that, indeed, the world does need beautiful things, and often it’s a child who knows how to find them.
September 30, 2018