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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

When life has you down, you can always come home

Daf Yomi Yevamos 87

When I was learning in yeshiva in Israel, I bumped into an old friend from back in Australia.  I hadn’t seen Ari for many years and we’d taken completely divergent paths in life.  After high school, he’d gone off to Israel to join the army where, sadly, he had become less and less observant.  By the time I met him, Ari had a Filipino girlfriend and prided himself on being ‘the only one who comes to Israel and finds a non-Jewish girl to date.’

One evening, he came to our yeshiva to visit some of his old mates and at the end of a wonderful night of reminiscing, I suddenly said to him, “Ari, it’s time to come home.  Why don’t you consider joining us in the yeshiva?”
Ari shook his head.  “Na, mate.  It’s too late for that.”

The Mishnah states: The daughter of a priest who was married to an Israelite may not eat the priestly tithe (terumah).  If he died and she had a son by him she may still not eat terumah. If she was subsequently married to a levite she may eat the levite tithe (maaser). If the latter died and she had a son by him she may continue to eat maaser. If she was subsequently married to a priest she may eat terumah. If the latter died and she had a son by him she may continue to eat terumah. If her son by the priest died she may no longer eat terumah. If her son by the levite died she may no longer eat maaser. If her son by the Israelite died she returns to the house of her father; and it is concerning such a person that it was said (in the Torah), “And she shall return to her father's house, as in her youth; she may eat of her father's bread.”

It’s good to know that no matter what ordeals one has in life, there’s always a place you can call home.  This poor lady was married and widowed three times.  She buried three children.  She lived a life of tragedy but she’s not alone.  At the end of the day, she knows that her parents will welcome her back into their home where she will ‘eat of her father’s bread.’

Most people know that no matter what happens – whether it may be issues with relationships, financial difficulties or any other problem, your parents will always open up their hearts and welcome you back home.   Nevertheless, sadly, it’s not true for everybody.  Not everyone has parents that they can fall back on in times of need and distress.  Not everyone has that safety net, that warm cup of cocoa by the fire.

But we all have a Father in Heaven to Whom we can always turn.  His house is always open.  We can always eat His bread.  His love for us never ceases.  He always yearn for His children to come back home.  It’s never too late.  No matter what you have done in life, no matter how far you have drifted from your Father’s home, He is patiently sitting by the fire, cocoa in Hand, waiting for you.  He loves you and will never forsake you.

It’s time to come home.  Our Father in Heaven is yearning to have a relationship with you.  He yearns to embrace you.  There’s no curfew – it’s never too late to open up your heart to Him.  May you merit a deep, close, and personal relationship with your Father, and never be afraid to come home after years of sojourn through the perils of the wilderness of life!