I recently attended a party to celebrate the engagement of a Jewish couple. In typical Jewish fashion, on such an occasion, we say: “L’chaim!” But amid all the well wishes, we also blessWe bless the couple in the most peculiar way the couple in the most peculiar way. We say, “May you build a binyan adei ad—an “everlasting edifice!”

What does this blessing really mean? And how can we wish two mortal beings to build a home that should continue forever—an eternal edifice?

We are right in the middle of “the Three Weeks” of mourning preceding Tisha B’Av—the ninth day of the month of Avm, which marks the destruction of our Holy Temple. Not once, but twice. A majestic structure, the Temple housed the Divine Presence in a way we have a hard time comprehending today. Its physical splendor mirrored the spiritual level of this holy place where miracles were revealed and the presence of G‑d was palpable here in the physical world. I, like many, struggle to grasp this remote reality. Consequently, I struggle to imbue “the Three Weeks” (when mourning observances are kept) and the fast of Tisha B’Av with meaning.

As I was about to bless the couple, only two days before the beginning of this period of mourning, I couldn’t help but wonder ... even the Holy Temple was not eternal! If even that building was destroyed, maybe it’s time to consider another blessing? “May you build an eternal edifice,” I exclaim, while uncomfortably wondering, “What kind of blessing is this?”

In addition to the destruction of the Temple, Tisha B’Av is a day replete with tragedies for the Jewish people. More than any other day in the calendar, Tisha B’Av makes us keenly aware that our continued existence is wondrous. We exist despite being scattered among the nations. We exist despite not having our Holy Temple. We exist despite persecutions, whose numbers and intensities surpass those faced by any other population in history.

Alas, I find my answers precisely in that blessing: “May you build an eternal edifice!” What is this edifice they are building? A Jewish home! And a Jewish home is more than the union of a man and a woman. It is indeed a whole lot than the sum of its parts. For, a Jewish home introduces a third dimension that gives infinity to those two finite beings. That third dimension is: G‑d.

The first Jewish home was that of Sarah and Abraham. A home that set the paradigm for every Jewish home thereafter, it was a bastion of kindness, hospitality, recognition and appreciation for the Creator of the world, Who is involved in every detail of His Creation. Additionally, three distinct miracles that were solely attributed to Sarah, Our Matriarch, occurred in this home. Her challah stayed fresh from Shabbat to Shabbat and satiated everyone who ate it; her Shabbat candles remained lit the entire week; and a cloud of glory hovered constantly over her tent, regardless of where it encamped.

While Sarah’s home preceded the structures that housed G‑d’s presence—the Tabernacle and the Beit Hamikdashby quite some time, our sages nevertheless note that its three miracles were later manifested in G‑d’s Houses. Namely, in the lights of the Temple’s menorah; in the Lechem Hapanim (Show Bread); and, just like the cloud of glory hovered over her home, the Divine Presence now continuously rested within the structure.

The miracles in Sarah’s home were replicated in the House of G‑d. Not the other way around! The message that radiated from Sarah’s home was that this physical, limited, finite space has Infinite Potential! And today, thousands of years after Sarah and Abraham, thousands of years after a Mishkan, thousands of years after a Beit Hamikdash, Sarah’s message continues to radiate from her descendants’ homes.

Our home is not just a home. Jewish homes are the key to Jewish survival because they are sanctuaries for G‑d. Referred to as a mikdash me'at (a “mini-Temple”), our home is a structure within which all of JudaismOur home is not just a home comes to life. More specifically, it is a space within which Sarah’s three miracles live on in the three mitzvot G‑d entrusted to all Jewish women since the times of our Matriarch: separating challah, lighting Shabbat and holiday candles, and keeping the laws of mikvah. Today, despite the years of exile and the faint memory of a House of G‑d, the legacy of Sarah’s miracles lives as Jewish women continue to manifest G‑d’s presence within the walls of our homes. Thus, in building a structure where G‑d feels at home, our homes will stand an “eternal edifice.”

When He asked us to build Him a structure, G‑d said: “Make me a Sanctuary and I will dwell within you” (Exodus 25:8). It does not say, “within it,” but rather, “within you.” For even if the physical structure is gone, G‑d will always continue to dwell in the midst of the Jewish people—a people who make of their homes also His home, eternal edifices wherever we go.

And to that we say l’chaim!