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G-d’s Housing Crisis

Friday, 15 February, 2013 - 1:00 pm

Over the last handful of years America has undergone a housing metamorphosis. Due to the real estate bubble and subsequent housing crash, many people look at a home differently. Before, people may have considered homes as tools for financial success – or at least safety nets from financial ruin.

Now, more than ever, a home has become what it was once meant to be – a home. Home is the place we can call our own. Home is the place we come back to after traveling. Home is the place for family. Home is the place for tranquility and refuge from the chaos around us.

Someone was recently describing to me the turmoil of growing up as a military brat, constantly moving from one location to another, not knowing exactly where and what to call home. Is this my real home or is this my foreign home and my real home is back in America?

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 Mitzvos, full of prayer and deed, we transform our lives into the holy space that G-d so desires to call home.

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