There was a time in my life that I was flying so often, that when people would ask me where I lived I would answer in jest, seat 23A which was my preferred airplane seat.
However, in truth, it takes a lot to create a true feeling of a home. In the real estate world, a few of the essential things you are taught is that when someone is trying to sell their house, they should bake something fresh in the oven, and have fresh cut flowers around so that a potential buyer can easily envision a place where they would want to live. In essence by showing that your house is not just a physical structure but a home full of life happiness and joy you elevate your property’s value.
What is your definition of a home?
A home in my opinion is a place that radiates warmth, unconditional love, shared happy memories, and a place that makes you feel comfortable to be who you are.
It’s where you love to create new memories and a sanctuary that all of your family and friends are drawn to.
When I would fly to the States on business, I had many good friends and family who would open their homes to me all across the country.
During these trips, I spent a lot of time getting to know these people on a much deeper level and built-up relationships with their families as well.
One specific family went way out of their way to make me feel so welcome; with their warmth and trust, that was off the charts.
They even gave me access to the house so I could come and go at any time of the day or night.
I spent many happy times showing their children pictures of my children and then when I would return to Israel, I’d show my children, pictures of them.
Even when I thought I had come to the conclusion they had mastered the art of hospitality, one day they managed to outdo themselves by jumping to the head of the line to a whole new level of friendship.
The family realized that it was the right time to build a much bigger house to better suit their needs since their family had grown and expanded a lot.
My friends were extremely involved in planning every detail of the house down to make sure that it covered every single thing that they could think of.
One morning the blueprints of the house were spread open on the kitchen table and they called me over to show me something. When I leaned over to look at the plans, I saw something that caught my eye, and it became forever imprinted in my memory.
While planning a section of the new house, they had built into the plans an extremely luxurious guest room, and engraved into the plans were the words Yitz’s room.
The commandment to be hospitable had become imbued into their family that it became the foundation to their future home.
In this week’s Parsha, Parshas תרומה Hashem asks his children to chip in together and build a Mishkan, (tabernacle) a resting place for the Devine Spirit to dwell inside of. The Mishkan was built in the desert and eventually was transferred into the Bais Hamikdash King Solomon built.
The words used to explain the reason for erecting the Mishkan are ושכונתי בתוכם.
There are a few questions. First, why collect all the money from the people? If Hashem knew that he would want to build a Mishkan he could have appointed Moshe to have someone collect some spoils from the red sea and put it on the side for funds for this structure?
Another question is why it says ושכונתי בתוכם which implies so that I can dwell inside of them. Shouldn’t it have used a word that would imply with them or amongst them?
Besides the laws of the physical actual structure of the tabernacle and all of its vessels, Chasidus explains this desire of dwelling inside of us as a step-by-step process. Hashem first asks that each Jew make a contribution so that they will have a personal investment and connection to my sanctuary.
The sacrifice of his funds will create an opening for Me to dwell in that space. The more space a Jew clears away his own personal desires, the more space is available for the Divine to dwell within him. This process will elevate the physical body into a holy being.
When the divine spirit is clearly visible inside of him it will naturally create a warm and loving and holy environment that will be shared with his spouse and children. This will continue to grow until everyone living in the house is imbued with a glowing inner light that will transcend the physical house to a sacred warm and loving divine home.
Finally, when each Jew connects with his or her inner core and manages to accomplish this through proper divine service this will cause a type of devotional enriching cosmic effect so that the entire globe will be filled with light and recognition of Hashem’s oneness.
Have a wonderful Shabbos