Jewish Thoughts: Ritual Objects
The character of a Jewish home is to some extent cultivated by the objects and symbols in it. From many of these, the home's occupants absorb a certain spiritual sensation. When entering a home with a mezuzah on the door, its occupants are made, even if unconsciously, to think for a moment of the holiness of a home. This is a Jewish home in which God colors its entryway. The shemah, the most essential Jewish declaration of belief, on a handwritten parchment, is rolled up and placed inside its decorative cover. To live in a home with a small “Torah” scroll affixed to its door is to feel the divine presence watching over it.
The mezuzah, along with Jewish books and objects such as charity boxes, menorahs, Sabbath kiddush cups, and Shabbat candles, help create a space for you as a couple and the family you may one day have that always focuses on what is truly important. Here is a list of some Jewish items you may want to have to facilitate your home's Jewish awareness:
Pushka (charity box)
Mizrach (a sign with the Hebrew word for east indicating which direction to pray)
Etrog holder (for the fruit we wave with a palm branch on the holiday of Sukkot)
The danger exists that a home may have Jewish holy things that the people living there see only as objets d'art and not things to live with and use. Be sure to pick these objects up. If you have a menorah, light it; if you have a shofar, blow it; if you have Shabbat candles, light them. In this way they can all come alive as virtual occupants of your home along with you; they can be teachers of the tradition and Jewish spiritual depth.