Our well trusted renters who have been living in our New Jersey home for two years, just threw us for a loop.
The husband was recently told of his job’s relocation and thus, according to our contract, they are providing the necessary two months notice before they vacate.
And now, we are stuck with the decision: What to do?
Try to find new renters? (In the middle of the winter?)
or try to sell the house? (Is the market good enough yet?)
And if yes, how do I feel about letting “my home” go?
While in synagogue this past weekend, we were blessed to have someone in our community lead us in an interactive, in-depth study of the week’s Torah portion. During this program (sTorah-telling), we were asked to take on roles of some of the characters in the story. For me, the last question that was raised hit “home” the most.
We were reminded of the story of Joseph who grew up in the Land of Canaan with his entire family, but in the second half of his life spent his time in Egypt where he not only became 2nd to Pharoah, but got married and raised his own family.
The question that was presented to us was: Where does Joseph consider “home”? In Canaan (where he was raised) or in Egypt (where he raised his own family)?
And lots of suggestions were brought forth to argue both places as Joseph’s supposed say on the topic.
But, the answer that I identified with most was: that perhaps Joseph doesn’t feel “at home” in either place. That is, wherever he lives, his memories, his culture, his customs, his mother-tongue, his dearest friends, his sense of security, the older generation of his family, the newer generation of his family, or his heart… will always be in another place. And that he’ll never feel 100% “at home” wherever he lives.
I feel like I’ve experienced this inner conflict ever since I traveled to Israel for the first time as a teenager.
So, it made sense that when we made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) six years ago, I was very stuck on holding onto our treasured home in NJ. The first home that my husband built with his own two hands, the home two of our children were born in, the home that hosted an Upsherin – “first haircut party”, Shabbat dinners, Tu B’shvat seders and Havdalah gatherings, just to name a few. The house where our kids went sledding down hills of snow in the winter and went jumping on an over-sized trampoline in the summer. The house that is located in the same town I grew up in and very close proximity to nearly the rest of my family (of about 100 people at least). The house that contains so, so, so many memories, even though we only lived in it for a short five years.
In fact, I was so stuck on this house, that I insisted that we not sell it when we moved to Israel.
Just in case.
We wanted to return.
Back to New Jersey.
But, the fact is…
And we’re happy here.
And, we even built a house here.
And we’re raising our kids here.
And at least for now, it looks like we’re going to stay, even though (at least personally), I’ll never feel 100% at “home” in this country no matter how long I live here.
And with that, I am ready to let it go.
And simply feel content to reside in the only home I’ll probably ever feel 100% “at home” in… The home of G-d.