Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


Going Home

Going home has many meanings.  The connotation attributed to these two words can carry a good feeling of returning to one's roots - going back to Mom and Dad where it’s comfortable and relaxing.  Security and acceptance is there, no pretenses have to be used.  It is where the person belongs, where he (she) finds solace.  It can be a place where the person experiences peace where he finds comfort to be him (her) self.  Songs have been written about the two words, the concept, the joy, the ecstasy of letting go of a harsh and punitive world.  It is a place where rest exists and hard labor ceases.  There is solace in the words themselves.  Individuals can look forward to return for respite after a day’s work.  They are able to leave their stress behind.

In a religious sense the term Going Home means leaving the mundane life and aiming to be in heaven where the end of life leads us:  where we are in eternal “rest”, where we meet our deceased families and friends, where G’d exists and all is beautiful, peace, love, and happiness.  Most religions have the belief that if you have been a decent, upright and righteous person you will be rewarded in the afterlife.  If not your fate will be  otherwise.  It is contrary to one of the quotations from William Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESAR:  “The evil that men do lives after  them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”  In our Jewish religion it is best to practice  as many of the “karyagim” 613 Mitzwot as possible to be considered for a place in the “gan eden” (heaven). There is also the fifth commandment, which demands you to “honor thy mother and father so that you may live long on earth.”  In the German language and culture there is a poem which assures you a path to G’d if you adhere to the directives of decency, loyalty, and righteousness”: “Musst immer treu und redlich sein bis auf das kühle Grab, dann weichst du keinen Finger breit von Gottes Wegen ab.” There is a Negro spiritual regarding the next world.  It deals with the Negro slave who is finally released from his miserable worldly existence in which he looks over Jordan and what does he see:  “a band of angels coming after me, coming for to carry me home.” The word home may have a connotation which does not always have the same meaning and may produce anxiety for some folk who are removed from their own surroundings and are because of illness and/or old age transferred to a nursing “home.”  There is the phrase when a person is very ill or about to leave this earth he is told that soon he will go to his “heavenly home.”

In our religious literature we learn about Noah, whose home was on a boat where he brought with him various species of animals in order to spare them from extinction and/or annihilation.

There are many kinds and types of homes and songs that have been devoted to them.  There is the song about the beauty of home which are loved by a certain class of folk:  “Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play, where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day."

Let us hope that our Jewish people will forever have their home, which is safe, peaceful, and free of anti-Semites, where they can live with their loved ones in freedom and equality with their neighbors.


 Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.

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