Our Homes Are a Sacred Place
Yael Eckstein | May 8, 2023
And make its plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as its pitchers and bowls for the pouring out of offerings. Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times. —Exodus 25:29-30
Undoubtedly, one of the most fascinating topics to Christians and Jews is the Holy Temple—its significance to Jewish worship in biblical times and what Judaism teaches about the building of a Third Temple in the future. This is one of six devotions looking at different aspects of the Temple and its inherent lessons for us all.
If you have ever been to a Jewish home on a Friday night for Shabbat dinner, you have seen the special way the table is set. Shabbat candles, lit just before sunset, are usually burning nearby. At the head of the table is a fancy cup or goblet for the kiddush wine.
Kiddush means “making holy,” because the meal begins by declaring the holiness of the Sabbath over a cup of wine. Also at the head of the table you will see two loaves of braided challah bread covered with a decorated cloth cover. And next to the challah, you will always find salt.
The two loaves of bread remind us of the double portion of manna that God provided each Friday in the desert in honor of the Sabbath. But why salt? The salt is essential because the laws of grain offerings in the Temple tell us, “Season all your grain offerings with salt” (Leviticus 2:13). So just as the offerings in the Temple always included salt, so too, our bread at the Sabbath table must include salt.
Our Homes Are a Sacred Place
Now obviously our meal at home is not an offering to God in the Temple, but there is a deeper lesson here. In the instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle and everything in it we read, “And make its plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as its pitchers and bowls for the pouring out of offerings. Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times.”
The Temple contained a table with bread, a candelabra, bowls, jars, and many other objects that seem like household items. The truth is that the Tabernacle—and even the Holy Temple in Jerusalem that came later—were intended to represent a home. A home for God.
The Jewish sages explain that God wanted Israel to make Him a home, which would serve as an example of our own homes. So just as the table in the Temple and Tabernacle could never be empty of bread, so, too, our tables may never be empty of food for those in need.
And just as the Temple was a place to draw close to God and rejoice in His presence, we must make our own home a sacred place that draw us closer to God and each other, as we enjoy the bounty of His blessings.
How can you make your home a sacred place? Listen to my podcast How You Can Make Your Home a Sacred Space for more teachings on how we each make our home a place where we grow closer to God.