DAY 1139: Where Is Home?

August 13, 2015
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1139: Where Is Home?


“Wherever we are together, that is home.”

Dear Hevreh,

This past week I spent some quality time with family. We rented a home on the beach and written upon one of the walls of the house was the quote from above — wherever we are together, that is home. How appropriate because though this rented space was not the physical home any of us lived in before this week, we made it home because we were there together.

Home is not simply the place we grew up. In the first mention of the Hebrew word for home or house (b-y-t) in the Torah, Abram (before he’s called “Abraham”) is told by God to leave “your father’s house” (Genesis 12:1). Only a few short chapters later he shares his anxiety with God that he has “no heir for my house” (Genesis 15:3-4). Notice that Abram never returns home. He journeys away, flying away from the nest of his upbringing. Yes, he is anxious as to whether he can build his own home, but psychologically and spiritually, his encounter with God changes him in a way that he could not return. He’d rather live with the anxiety of the present than return home to a past in which he does not belong.

Likewise, our journeys change us. Even if we return home — to our parents’ home, the one we grew up in — we’re never the same. So where is home? Home can be anywhere; we can feel athome whether we are on a beach in South Jersey or on a boat in the water just off the coast, or hiking in Cheesequake park, or in countless other locations. What matters is that the place we’re in and the people around us recognize, affirm, and support the journey we’re on. Abram’s father could not connect with his son’s faith in God. I wonder if he did, if he was willing to listen to and be present for Abram’s journey, that they could’ve found a home to sit together in, even if it was on the coast of South Jersey.

May our Jewish home for the soul be a home where we listen to, affirm, and support our unique journeys through life.

Kol Tuv,

Rabbi Ari Saks

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