"Location, location, location." This real estate truism is also emphasized in the words of the Jewish sages -- albeit with a slightly different intention.
In Ethics of our Fathers, Rabbi Yochanan asked of his five top students: "Go and see which is the best trait for a person to acquire." One of the students, Rabbi Yossi, felt that the most important "trait" for a person to acquire is a "good neighbor." Maimonides writes: "It is human nature that one's views and actions follow those of his acquaintances and fellows, and to behave like his fellow citizens. Therefore one must associate with righteous people..."
You wouldn't consider locating to a slum. Same is true in the spiritual senseFollowing this reasoning, the foremost Jewish consideration when contemplating relocation is the existence of a viable Torah observant community in the area. Available Jewish education, kosher food, mikvah (ritual pool), and an active community which provides a spiritual support system are essential. You wouldn't consider locating to a slum, even if the proposed home was beautiful. Same is true in the spiritual sense.
If you have already settled on a new home, congratulations on the move. According to the Talmudic sages, moving to a new location brings a change of mazal (luck, fortune). May this move be accompanied by a noticeable upswing in your mazal!
A good start provides a solid foundation for all that follows. Establishing the Jewish identity of the home from the onset is a way to make the house a vessel for all sorts of blessings. The primary requirement when moving to a new home is affixing a kosher mezuzah on the doorways of the residence. Visit our mezuzah section for all the information you will need on this special mitzvah which provides protection for all the inhabitants of the home.
The following is a list of suggested steps for one moving into a new home:
- According to an age-old Jewish custom, the first items brought into a new home are bread and salt.
- It is recommended to bring some Jewish books and a charity box into the home even before the movers bring in the rest of the boxes. This establishes the Jewish flavor of the home; a home which will hopefully be a haven of study and kindness.
- Tuesday is the most propitious day of the week for scheduling the actual moveTuesday is the most propitious day of the week for scheduling the actual move, the only day when G-d saw that "it is good" twice. Other than Shabbat and Jewish holidays, days of rest when any move would be prohibited, Mondays and Wednesdays are inauspicious days to plan a move. According to kabbalah, the Divine attribute of severity is dominant on these days.
- Before moving into a new home, some have the beautiful custom of inviting a group of young children to study some Torah in the house. "The existence of the world is dependent on the [Torah issued from the] breath of children." The Torah study of young pure souls has a spiritually purifying effect on the entire area.
- Shortly after entering a new home, it is customary to host a Chanukat Habayit (home dedication) party. At this gathering, words of Torah are spoken and family and friends use the occasion to express their blessings and wishes for a fruitful and happy stay in this new home.
- See also Is there a blessing recited when moving in to a new home?