The Divine Houseguest
Just as physical light and darkness cannot exist in the same place at the same time, spiritual light and darkness work exactly the same way...
by Racheli Reckles
My husband just played me a little excerpt of Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein's no-holds-barred talk. It was so good, it knocked my socks off. I mean literally. I was listening to the lecture, and before I knew it, my socks just flew off my feet! I'm still trying to figure out how that happened... Okay, here's what he said. Hold on to your socks. (I apologize; sometimes I can't help myself.)
Once upon a time there was a king with three daughters. When it came time for the first daughter to marry, the king offered her anything she wished. I don't want anything, father, except for your crown. I want to put it in my new palace, so every time I walk through the living room, I will see your crown and remember you, she said. The king was touched and delighted by her answer, and he happily gave her his crown.
The second daughter married soon after, and the king gave her the same offer. I don't want anything, father, except for that beautiful painting of you in the hallway. I want to hang it up on my wall so every time I walk down my hallway, I will see you and remember you, she said. The king was deeply moved, and he happily gave her his painting.
Finally, the third daughter got married. But her request was different: I don't want anything, father, except for the blueprints to your palace. The king was surprised and perplexed by his daughter's strange request. Okay, my darling, he said, I think they are somewhere in the attic. He spent a while looking for them, and finally found them in a dusty chest. He pulled them out and handed them to her. Tell me, why did you request these blueprints? he asked. You see, father, I want to build my castle exactly like yours. This way, when you are there, you will not feel any difference between your castle and mine. In fact, you will love being there so much, that you will agree to move in with me and my husband, because I never want to be away from you, she explained.
The king's heart melted, and he hugged his daughter tightly and kissed her on the forehead. He moved in with her and spent many years happily living with her and her growing family.
The first daughter represents the mezuzah. If we're spiritually conscious, we may look at the mezuzah and remember Hashem as we walk in and out of the house.
The second daughter represents portraits of holy places in Israel. We might decorate our homes with them, so when we walk through the house we may remember the beautiful and special land Hashem gave us.
The third daughter represents Hashem himself. The entire house is not only a reminder of Hashem, but actually a dwelling place for the King.
How do we live?
Are we like the first daughter, who has a fleeting thought of Hashem when we walk through the door? Other than that, do we live at home with no other awareness of Him?
Are we like the second daughter, who gets momentary reminders of Hashem through looking at pictures of holy gravesites or the Holy Temple? Other than that, do we live at home with no other awareness of Him?
Or are we like the third daughter, who has actually invited Hashem into our homes? Do we make Hashem our permanent Divine Houseguest?
When the Holy Temple was destroyed, the Shechina lost her home. Where can she be found now? In the homes of those Jews who consciously invite her in.
So how do we invite Hashem into our homes? Let's answer this question with a few more...
Do you have television in your home? Then Hashem is not in your house.
Do you use the internet for pointless purposes? Then Hashem is not in your house.
Do you have video games in your home? Then Hashem is not in your house.
Do you have trashy/heretical reading material in your home? Then Hashem is not in your house.
Do you walk around your home immodestly dressed and behave immodestly? Then Hashem is not in your house.
Many people are going to be up in arms about these strong statements. They will have all kinds of legitimate reasons to justify what they're doing at home.
But, know this: Hashem's Divine Presence is pure holiness. It cannot exist among any trace of unholiness!
Just as physical light and darkness cannot exist in the same place at the same time, spiritual light and darkness work exactly the same way. If you want Hashem in your house, you need to actively make Him a part of your home. To help make your choice a little easier, think about this:
The next time you turn on the TV, think: I'm choosing MTV instead of Hashem.
The next time you go online, think: I'm choosing Facebook instead of Hashem.
The next time you read a mind-polluting magazine, think: I'm choosing Cosmopolitan instead of Hashem.
The next time you walk around in boxers or less, think: I'm choosing unholiness instead of Hashem.