When a House Becomes a Home

Today, Sunday, August 23, 2009, I hung a mezuzah on my doorpost, in the front of my house. It wasn’t just any mezuzah — it was one that my parents gave me. And it wasn’t any small event — it’s the first time I’ve ever hung a mezuzah on a home I call my own.

Today marks one week since I moved to Providence, RI (apparently ahead of the rabbinic schedule since the gemara gives us thirty days to hang a mezuzah!) and I am finally starting to feel settled. No, the boxes are not all unpacked, and, no, I do not have all the furniture I need and many of my beloved books are still in boxes; but I am finally starting to feel like this is home.

As I hung the mezuzah in front of my home, I thought about the b’racha that we say as we are mounting it:

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu lik’boa mezuzah.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us in His mitzvot, and has commanded us to affix a mezuzah.

The word “lik’boa” is the word for “affix,” but this is an example of a word that doesn’t have a good translation in the English language. It comes from the word “keva” meaning “permanent”. Like having a “makom kavu’a”, a permanent space, in davening.

Hanging a mezuzah is a spiritual experience. It is the point where someone becomes the owner of her own space. It switches a house into a Jewish home.

And then, of course, I bless my house with the traditional prayer:

Let no sadness come through this gate,
Let no trouble come to this dwelling,
Let no fear come through this door,
Let no conflict be in this place,
Let this home be filled with the blessing of joy,
and peace.

May it be a place of only happiness and prosperity, and may it do me well in my new life.

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