When Dorothy clicks the heels together of her ruby red slippers, she closes her eyes and says: “There’s no place like home…” Longing for home, returning to home, and feeling a sense of home in our hearts is at the center of Jewish belief. So essentially, at the High Holy Days, each of us steps into our ruby red slippers for an opportunity to return home.
In this week’s Torah portion, Shoftim, we are instructed on what we should do when we enter into the Promised Land, into Eretz Yisrael. First and foremost, this is a land that we should “dwell within her.” The Hebrew word dwell consists of the roots for the words: return, sit, dwell, and the Hebrew word “yoshveha” also means that we should not only “sit” but we should allow the land to be “within us.” This is done by a simple grammatical marking of a dot within the Hebrew letter “hay.”
There is a difference between sitting in a place engaged and unengaged. How many of us have attended events where we sit, we are present, but the event itself does not make it “within us.” We are bored, we are critical, and we are on the outside of whatever is happening. What happens when we are present and within what is happening? This could be how you are at our High Holy Day services, and before you come you are clicking your heels, there is no place like home, KI!”
This season of returning, I ask that you find more opportunities to dwell within what is happening. We should consider what happens when we let music, community, and prayers move through us and dwell within us. We may be awakened to what is at home in our hearts.
This week, many people in the Bahamas were impacted by Hurricane Dorian. They are wishing to return to their homes that have been destroyed by this powerful storm. Their sense of security has been shaken, and we have an opportunity to help them. Consider donating to help the victims: https://nechama.org/dorian/
Remember always that KI is a home you can return to, and will open your heart to the warmth and love of home.