Bo – Home Sweet Home

Rav Shmuel Niman zt”l, my mashgiach in Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim who passed away not too long ago, use to tell us  that we should invest in two things, gold and property: “Buy your own home, but don’t invest in stocks.”
In this week’s Torah portion of Bo we find another reason to own your own home.
The Daas Zekeinim mentions the reason why we have four cups of wine on the seder night of Pesach is representative of the four languages of redemption used to describe Hashem taking the Jewish people out of Egypt:” I will take you out”,” I will save you,” “I will redeem you” and “I will take you” (Shemos 6:6,7). The fifth cup for those that need to drink five (this is Elijah’s cup at our seder,) represents a fifth language of redemption “I will bring you” in posuk 8, as people say, ‘Any servant whose master freed them and gave him all his things into his hands if he does not bring him in to his home what does it help?’ This means that a servant whose master freed him and gave him his own goblet but does not bring him into his house to live what is all the nicety worth to him? So to if Hashem would not have brought them to the Land of Israel what would it help to take them out of Egypt? (See Daas Zekeinim in Shemos 12:8 or click here and here for Hebrew text.)

At first glance we see from this Daas Zekeinim how important it is for a person to have a roof over his head and for a nation to have a homeland. However, if you think about the situation, the Children of Israel were in in the desert compared to their lives in Israel, you will find an incredible insight into human psychology, and another reason why it worthwhile to own a house.

While traveling through the desert the Jewish people were taken care of with open miracles by Hashem, such as having food which tasted like whatever they wanted it to taste like, presentedto them on their door step every day from heaven (if they deserved it). In addition, water flowed out of a rock, clothes never wore out and grew with them, and a flat surface to walk on was provided for them throughout the journey, with theClouds of Glory flattening any mountains or hills and leveled any valley for easy travels. Besides all these luxuries, out of 42 encampments in 40 years, 19 years were spent in Kadesh Barnea. So there was a period of 19 years settled in one place with all their needs taken care of. They had the highest security, the most delectable and nutritious food, no work, and free clothing. On the other hand, once they got into Israel they had to start working, tilling the land, producing their own foods, make their own garments, take care of their housing needs, and traveling on rugged terrain to get from one place to another.  Yet, still in all, being settled in their homeland was better than being unsettled and homeless, even when they were in one spot for 19 years! How could this be?

It would seem that the feeling of being settled in one’s own home trumps the greatest luxuries the world can provide. Imagine going on a tour of the world for  few years, staying in some places longer than others, seeing the most magnificent sights, staying at the most luxurious hotels with people serving you the most elegant and exotic  food 24/7,where ever you go. Yet once you return home and settle down, there is a feeling a relief to again be back in your home sweet home, despite all the troubles life has to offer in maintaining a home.  One still feels more at ease  in his own house, rather than traveling around or even renting for many years. There is a feeling of euphoria, of accomplishment and satisfaction, in  buying and maintaining a house after renting for  a number of years. This is due to the feeling of owning one’s own house and being permanently settled; with all its baggage, it is still a lot more comforting and rewarding to a person then the thought of being unsettled.

To take it one step further, for every Jew, he or she will not be truly settled, even if they own a house in exile,  until the return to their homeland of Israel. That is the ultimate redemption! May it come speedily for all of us in our lifetime!

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