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    Homes & houses – Balak

    family home houseAt the start of our daily prayers we echo the sidra’s praise (“Mah Tovu”) of the homes and dwelling places of the people of Israel (Num. 24:5).

    What’s so good about homes?

    First, the fact that we have them. Many of the world’s people lack a roof over their heads.

    Secondly, the fact that they enable us to build personal and family identity: the rabbis say that the Israelite camp in the wilderness was so arrayed that every tent was private and no-one could look into anyone else’s – unlike the modern media, which constantly pry into and expose what ought to be private and sacred.

    Thirdly, the haven and bulwark that homes represent – home is where they’ve always got to let you in, and home is the place where we can retreat from the pace and problems of the world outside.

    If Jews lack homes they don’t wait for others to supply them: they make their own effort.

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