G-d’s Housing Crisis

Friday, 16 February, 2024 - 6:08 am

Homelessness is rampant in America’s major cities.  We can debate the core cause of homelessness, but all would agree that not having a home causes further instability.

The fortunately housed amongst us also spend time outside the home. Whether we travel for business or pleasure, we sometimes need to stay in temporary housing. It may be five-star or one-star, but it’s not home. It may be fun, different, or pampered – but it lacks the comfort and familiarity of our own dwelling.

What if you had a home wherever you went? What if you had multiple homes or places to stay whenever you wanted? Would you still have that benefit and secure feeling of ‘home’?


In the parsha of Terumah that we read this week, G-d demands of the Jewish people, “They shall make for Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell amidst them.”

If G-d exists everywhere, doesn’t He already have a home? Why the need for a specific sanctuary in which He can dwell?  What is the purpose of this Sanctuary?

In light of this question some commentaries have offered that the Sanctuary’s primary purpose was not to find a home for G-d, but to dedicate a space for humans to worship G-d.  G-d’s housing needs are not wanting, but our spiritual needs certainly are.

Yet others find this response incomplete. After all, the Torah states explicitly that the Sanctuary is for “Me” (G-d) and “I will dwell amidst them.” There must be a “housing” component for G-d as well.


True, G-d does not need a home. But at the same time He can only truly be revealed in a space that allows Him in. G-d exists everywhere, but where is He revealed?

G-d’s presence can only be “at home” in a place that welcomes it.  The epicenter of “welcoming G-d” was in the Sanctuary and the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. These places were completely consecrated as sacred spaces and, as such, were perfect receptacles to the Divine presence.

We too can choose to welcome G-d into our lives. By living lives full of Torah and Mitzvot, full of prayer and deed, we transform our lives into the holy space that G-d so desires to call home.

Our own homes are the cornerstones of our inviting G-dly spaces. And, when we travel – we can transform those spaces into spiritually welcoming spaces as well.

With Hashem at our side, every space we occupy can be home.

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