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Dedicating a new home

Moving house is a big undertaking and accomplishing it deserves celebration.

    There is a Jewish way to mark moving into a new home, called a chanucat habayit celebration. Moving house is a big undertaking and accomplishing it deserves celebration.

    Chanucat habayit, literally dedicating the house, is about thanking God for reaching the milestone of a new home and setting the standard for what kind of home you would like to have. In that vein, the last Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, taught that religious books and a tzedakah (charity) box should be the first things to bring into a new home.

    The idea of a chanukat habayit is based on the completion of the First Temple, where King Solomon led the nation in prayers (I Kings 8). Today, we invite friends, have a meal, talk Torah and give tzedakah, establishing the values you want in your new home. The high point is fixing the mezuzah, which requires a blessing. Some people also say the blessing shehechiyanu, thanking God for reaching this moment.

    A chanukat habayit in Israel takes on even greater significance as it fulfils the mitzvah of settling in the Land.

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