House & Home

Moving into a New Home

Inspiration

A tradition among Jews from Russia is to bring salt, bread and wine – so that the new homeowners will have spice, sustenance and sweetness in their new abode.

Affix a mezuzah to the doorways through which one commonly enters the home and rooms. The mezuzah is placed at least 2/3 up from the floor (or in the top 1/3), tilting in toward the house or room on the right side as you would enter.

Why is the mezuzah tilted? There was a debate among medieval commentators as to whether it should be vertical or horizontal. In a remarkably unique gesture toward inclusivity, the rabbis decided on a compromise position of placing the mezuzah at an angle inviting us to remember the necessity of compromise within the doorposts of your home.

Inside the mezuzah is a “claf” or handwritten parchment with the words of the first paragraph of the Shema prayer instructing us to teach the words of Torah when we walk along the way and when we lie down. As we affix the mezuzah to the door frame, we say a prayer.

 

Scroll down to find resources for this lifecycle moment. 

Prayer

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשַׁנוּ בְּמִצְו‌ֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לִקְבּוֹעַ מְזוּזָה‬.

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu likboa m’zuzzah.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has made us holy through his/her commandment to affix the mezuzah.

When dedicating a new home, the shehecheyanu blessing may be recited. The words are:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לִזְּמַן הַזֶּה.

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu lazman hazeh

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.

Traditional blessing for a home

Hebrew Transliteration English Translation
ברכת הבית: בזה השער לא יבוא צער. בזאת הדירה לא תבוא צרה. בזאת הדלת לא תבוא בהלה. בזאת המחלקה לא תבוא מחלוקת. בזה המקום תהי ברכה ושלום.‬ Birkat habayit:Bezeh haššshaˁar lo yavo tzaˁar. Bezot haddirah lo tavo tzarah. Bezot haddelet lo tavo bahalah. Bezot hammaḥlaqah lo tavo maḥloqet. Bezeh hammaqom tehi b’rakhah v’shšalom. Blessing for the home: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.

A comtemporary prayer

May the Lord bless this house and make it home
Full of generous welcome for all who visit
Brimming with warmth and contentment for family and friends
Overflowing with hospitality and nourishing provision
A haven for safety and peace in night and day
And a place of refreshment, of growth and happiness
May the Lord bless this house and make it home
Filled with God’s love
Amen

Anonymous

Texts

Rosh Hashanah 16b, It is taught “shinui makom, shinui mazal”; change your place, change your luck.

1 Samuel 25:8 Say as follows: To Life! Greetings to you and to your household and to all that is yours!

Proverbs: 24: 3-4. By wisdom a house is built; it is made secure through understanding. By knowledge its rooms are furnished with all sorts of expensive and beautiful goods.

Poem

Traditional

Amid pleasures and palaces
though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble,
There’s no place like home.

Anonymous

 

A Home Song

I read within a poet’s book
A word that starred the page;
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage!
Yes, that is true; and something more
You’ll find, where’er you roam
that marble floors and gilded walls
Can never make a home.
But every house where Love abides
And Friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home-sweet-home;
For there the heart can rest.

Henry Van Dyke (d)

Psalm

Psalm 30

A psalm of David. A song for the dedication of the House.

I extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, and not let my enemies rejoice over me.

O LORD, my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.

O LORD, You brought me up from Sheol, preserved me from going down into the Pit.

O you faithful of the LORD, sing to Him, and praise His holy name.

For He is angry but a moment, and when He is pleased there is life. One may lie down weeping at nightfall; but at dawn there are shouts of joy.

When I was untroubled, I thought, “I shall never be shaken,”

for You, O Lord, when You were pleased, made [me] firm as a mighty mountain. When You hid Your face, I was terrified.

I called to You, O LORD; to my Lord I made appeal,

“What is to be gained from my death, from my descent into the Pit? Can dust praise You? Can it declare Your faithfulness?

Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; O LORD, be my help!

You turned my lament into dancing, you undid my sackcloth and girded me with joy,

that [my] whole being might sing hymns to You endlessly; O LORD my God, I will praise You forever.

or

Psalm 118:26 May he who enters be blessed in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the House of the Lord.

or Psalm 61 http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt2661.htm

Song

Our House (Crosby Stills Nash and Young), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm-q0ELuk1A

Debbie Friedman, Holy Place

Home by Phillip Philips – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTg1n95–KE

Other Resources