We are currently in the process of moving into a new home. While it is undergoing some renovations, we have been living at my parents house, where we moved when I was in 11th grade in about 2003. I thought to myself, “Wow Dan-o, you’ve been living at Mom and Dad’s house for a month now. You haven’t lived here for this long for about 16 years. You must have some classic stories to share with your thousands upon thousand upon thousands of readers from Uganda to Kenya about the trials and tribulations of moving back home after so many years, with a wife and 6 young children!”
And as I thought about it, and thought some more, I realized I had nothing. No really interesting material. No intense drama. Nothing too crazy to report. Yes, there was the Friday night when my delicious daughter pooped all over the living room carpet floor. And it is a little odd that my momma still hides junk food from me. But overall, there’s nothing too wild or interesting to report.
This likely has a lot to do with my Better Half’s superhuman character traits, being totally fine living at her in-laws for so long. And it probably also has to do with how easy going and pleasant my own folks are to be around.
But I think a big part of it, is, as Snow White so eloquently put it many years ago, “There’s no place like home.”
In other words, it’s been so hard to think of crazy and wild stories about my homecoming because it feels so normal and natural to be home, even after all these years.
It is similar to the feeling I get every time I visit Israel, and my bus is approaching Jerusalem. It feels so natural. Except now, instead of immediately stopping at the first falafel stand I can find, I instead consume my momma’s signature homemade macaroni and cheese on a weekly basis.
And while one would expect us to feel a sense of urgency to get out of here into our new house, at least on our end, there is absolutely no rush. My wife described this as almost a vacation, and we aren’t quite ready to move out back into the real world.
Transitioning from my family’s home for the last 5 years to my childhood home, and then eventually to our new home, has got me thinking about the real meaning of the concept of home.
Interestingly, the Torah spends a lot of time describing in very specific detail how to build the Mishkan, the Tabernacle that served as a portable Temple, or dwelling place for the Divine Presence while we journeyed through the desert. This directive appears when G-d tells the Jewish people, “Make for Me a Sanctuary so that I may dwell among them.” The Torah is not just a history book, but an Eternally relevant Document that informs every aspect of our life throughout the millennia. The rabbis explain that this statement was a directive to the Jewish people of every future generation to build their personal sanctuaries so that they are suitable for G-d himself to dwell.
Perhaps then, it is our duty to construct a home that is worthy of the exalted Presence of G-d Himself. By building a home of tranquility, holiness and peace, we can craft a suitable dwelling place for the Almighty.
Now, more than ever, the home has become a focal part of our lives. All of us were confined to our homes for several months in the spring. And now, many of us work from home, our children are schooled from home, and we spend considerably more hours at home than ever before. With so much uncertainty, and turmoil in the outside world, perhaps now is specifically the time we are meant to find solace in being in the warm refuge of our home. Now, more than ever we can build and shape the home we want, to create that natural place that we can always come back to– a place indeed filled with the all-encompassing Presence of G-d Himself.