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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Is anyone (really) home?

Daf Yomi Bava Basra 30


One day, following the morning Shacharis services in Berditchev, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok went over to a businessman who was a regular at the minyan.
“Shalom aleichem!” he said to the businessman.
“Aleichem shalom?” the man responded, a little confused, “But Rebbe, I haven’t gone anywhere.  I’ve been here in town all along!”
“Oh, I know that you were here physically.  But your face during Shacharis told me that in your mind, you were at the market in Leipzig!  So now, here I am welcoming you back to Berditchev!”

A fellow once told his friend, “What are you doing in my house?”
“You sold it to me,” he responded, “and I have proof that I’ve been living here for the past few years!”
“I was doing business overseas,” the first one replied. (Rashbam: And so he didn’t know the friend was squatting in his house and therefore didn’t protest.)
“But I have witnesses that saw you at the local market for thirty days each year!”
“That’s true,” he admitted, “but those thirty days I was occupied in the market!” (And therefore still unaware of the squatter.)

Sometimes we spend so much time away from the house that we no longer know what’s going on there.  How our spouse is doing.  How our kids are.  What’s going on in their lives.  Friends, work, school.  We’re so busy doing our own thing that we don’t realize how out of touch we’ve become.

Until one day we wake up and realize that we’re not around enough.  And so we resolve to be home more.  But even though we might be there physically, we still seem to somewhere else.  Like the fellow davening in Berditchev.  Sure he was right there in shul, but in reality he was off in Leipzig.  Or the fellow from the Gemara who was home one month a year.  He might have been physically in the city but he still had no clue who was living in his house!

When you’re home with your family, you need to be 100% present!  Not on your phone, not on your computer, not sitting in front of the TV.  None of those ‘moments’ count!  You have to deduct all that time from whatever amount of hours you think you’re spending at home with the family.  Being with them means taking the time and transforming it into an unforgettable experience!

There’s no time more precious than quality family time.  Your spouse and kids should be counting down the hours and minutes until you get home.  And so should you!  But that only happens if you give the time you spend with them the same focus and honor you give your work and other commitments.


If you’ve come home to watch TV or play on your phone, why bother?  You could have done that at the office!  May your family time be the most quality moments of your day!