Breaking down the Yamim Nora'im

Breaking Down Mikdash Me’at

Can holiness dwell in places other than a designated holy space? Absolutely.

When the prophet Ezekiel cries out to God that God has scattered the people of Israel, God responds by saying that God has become a mikdash me’at to the people of Israel. Our rabbis teach that this is a sign that God is with us even when we feel distanced. In a year when we find ourselves unable to gather in our beautiful sanctuary, we ask: What it would look like to turn our body and our home into mikdashei me’at, small sanctuaries?

What are some ways we can prepare our bodies to be a mikdash me’at? 

  • Think of the ways your body has helped you this year. What are you grateful for from your body?
  • Take a dip in the mikveh, a pond, lake, the ocean, or even your bathtub or shower! You can use these beautiful ritual ceremonies for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, created by Mayyim Hayyim Mikveh in Boston.
  • Put on your finest clothing. While it sometimes feels silly to dress up when we are at home, we all know the saying “we are what we wear.” Take out that dress that makes you feel alive again, put on those fancy shoes that have anxiously been awaiting your feet for the past six months, or dust off your best hat. As you get dressed, set your intention.

What are some ways we can prepare our home to be a mikdash me’at?

  • Select a special space in your house and designate it for prayer.
  • Surround your space with plants, pictures, tapeteries, and rugs that make it feel holy—maybe even add some mood lighting by placing a lamp or your holiday candles in your prayer space.
  • Print out any supplemental readings, poems, or articles you think will help you get in the mood—use resources like this one on the BJ website for inspiration!
  • There is a tradition of hanging a blessing up in our homes, the birkat habayit. Take a stab at writing your own birkat habayit, a blessing for your house that you can hang in your new prayer space. Here are some questions to help get you started: What are you grateful for from your home this year? What do you hope to fill this space with in the future? What are some of the sweetest memories you have in your home?