12 Cheshvan 5782 / Monday, October 18, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayeira
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A Clean Home

Mopping the floors becomes a time for meditation as I recite breathing exercises; vacuuming offers “quiet” time I can spend in personal prayer and offering thanks...


I’ve been cleaning my home a lot more lately. And by “a lot more” I mean I’ve actually been spending some time cleaning my home instead of no time cleaning my home. Now before you imagine a completely disgusting environment, I will state that there are 5 people living in my home and we all regularly pick up, put away, and keep the place tidy. Visitors see a well-kept environment, lovingly cluttered by children’s toys.


I’m learning, however, that there is a difference between a tidy home and a clean home that goes deeper than not being able to remember the last time I dusted the electronics. There is a certain spirituality to the effort of transforming this building from a house to a home through the work of mindful cleaning.


Mopping the floors becomes a time for meditation as I recite the breathing exercises suggested by Dr. Zev Ballen in this article. Folding a daily load of laundry (instead of letting it pile up until we are searching for clothing) becomes a time to reflect on the beautiful times we spent together as a family while wearing the clothes. Cleaning the kitchen before bed creates a welcoming space for cooking a health breakfast for my family in the morning. Vacuuming offers “quiet” time I can spend in personal prayer and offering thanks.


For too many years I pushed these tasks into the area of things I grudgingly had to do, and only when it absolutely had to be done. I thought I was too busy, too important really, to have to be bothered with these menial tasks. In having this attitude I robbed myself of the gift of being able to do them with a grateful heart.


And gratitude is really what it is all about. Whether cleaning your home, travelling for work, shopping, performing regular maintenance on your car, exercising… whatever it is, approaching the task with a grateful heart will uplift it from a menial task into an opportunity for growing spiritually.


I’ve also learned that it doesn’t really matter if anyone else notices your efforts. I can’t say that my home looks a whole lot different with the effort of cleaning I’ve been investing in it. It’s still tidy but now something more has been added to it – a grateful attitude and a mindful presence as I dust and scrub and de-clutter. Conversations with Hashem have been spoken throughout as I went about my cleaning list and prayers have been uttered as I bring to mind the people living in this home and the dreams I have for them.


In cleaning my home I have time to let Hashem freely work on cleansing my heart. As my heart is cleansed and healed I have more room to be grateful. The more grateful I am the more ability I have to give freely to those around me. As I give those around me a clean and peaceful home, they have the opportunity to relax from their day and open their hearts to Hashem as well.


It may seem strange that such simple tasks, cleaning my home, can have such far reaching effects on my life and my family. But I’ve learned that in this life of mine, where I all too often tend to complicate and intensify situations, simple tasks are where I can be grounded and find truth. A little soap, water and elbow grease will open up the floodgates of prayer, gratitude, and humility – which in turn makes everything in life a little simpler and a lot more satisfying.


And now, I have a sink full of dishes that I am excited to start scrubbing.



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Jennifer invites you to participate in a regularly held Noahide on-line study group that reviews the garden series books of Rabbi Arush. You can contact her at jenniferjwoodward@gmail.com for dates and times.

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