“Only one thing I ask of you, O Lord: That I may dwell in your house all of the days of my life” – Psalm 27
During this month of Elul leading up to the High Holidays, we recite these beautiful words at each service. But what does it mean to dwell in God’s house? The psalm mentions visiting the sanctuary separately, so it seems that the sanctuary is not what is being referred to here. Instead of a location, God’s house seems to be a state of mind or being. When we consciously imbue our lives with meaning, when we feel hints of a higher source and a sense of purpose for our lives, when we connect to transcendent values of love, justice, and mercy, then we are living in God’s house. We may experience these things only for a moment; it is hard to capture these experiences and make them last. Perhaps the psalmist is asking not for a continuous feeling of living in God’s house but for a succession of such moments . “May I connect to something beyond myself,” the psalmist seems to be saying, “even for a little while, each day of my life.” As we enter into the High Holiday season, let us take time to cultivate our awareness of these moments of connection and meaning. Let us do what we can to dwell in God’s house. L’shanah tovah!