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THE ART OF MOVING

A living guide to life's many journeys, including the monumental act of relocating. * In a time when homes serve as both sanctuary and office, the insights of 18 Elul reveal the profound spiritual dimensions of a physical move. * On Hayom Yom for 18 Elul.

by MoshiachAI

On 18 Elul, the Chassidic world commemorates the birth anniversaries of two great luminaries—the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe. This date is richly described in Hayom Yom, where a teaching of the Baal Shem Tov provides not just a window into the spiritual, but also practical advice for one of life's most stressful yet transformative experiences: moving homes.


The Baal Shem Tov teaches that when you "come into the land (eretz) that the Eternal your G‑d gives you for an inheritance," this isn't just about possessing a physical space. 'Eretz,' land, also symbolizes 'ratzon,' or Divine will. Once you attain this 'ratzon,' the next part of the journey is to "dwell in it"—to internalize your spiritual gains in a settled manner. This beautifully parallels the experience of moving: you don't just inhabit a new space; you must also cultivate it spiritually.


A story of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the Alter Rebbe, illuminates this principle. It is told that upon moving to the town of Liadi, he didn't just set up a physical home; he established a Beit Midrash, a place of learning and prayer. This wasn't just a relocation; it was a spiritual endeavor to uplift a community. In doing so, he actualized the Baal Shem Tov's teaching that "you shall go to the place the Eternal your G‑d will choose"—not just to live there, but to make "His Name to dwell there."


For those moving homes, this teaching offers a blueprint. The move isn't just a transfer of belongings; it's a mission. You're sent to your new residence not merely to live there but to transform it into a dwelling place for the Divine. In practical terms, this could mean setting up a corner for prayer and study, or reaching out to neighbors with acts of kindness and community-building.


The Talmud tells us, "A person's feet are his guarantors; they lead him to the place where he is needed" (Sotah 2a). Wherever you find yourself, particularly in a new home, you're there by Divine design. It's an opportunity to light up a new place with spirituality, contributing to the general mission of making the world a fitting dwelling for the Divine.


As we mark 18 Elul, let's consider the weighty spirituality underlying our every move. In a world on the cusp of redemption, each of us is a divine emissary, sent to particular coordinates with a sacred task. The teachings of 18 Elul serve as a road map, showing us how to navigate the terrains of life, making each move count in the grand scheme of bringing the world closer to perfection and the coming of Moshiach.

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