Ritual for Returning Home

Found In: Daily Prayer & Mindfulness

Tags: mezuzah, handwashing

By Amy Loewenthal | Prayer

Many of us work in stressful situations. Sometimes upon returning home, we discover that we are carrying with us feelings and experiences from the work day that we would rather not bring into our homes. Perhaps our day at work has triggered anger, but since the workplace is not an appropriate place to express anger, we return home pumped to react to something that has nothing to do with the life inside our homes. Or perhaps our work requires that we closely attend to others’ needs and by the time we get home we feel drained and wonder how to summon up the energy to listen to the people we care about the most. 

The following is a suggested ritual practice to help us separate between the "world of work" and the "world of home." This ritual should be simple enough to do habitually, but powerful enough to enable a shift in mood.

Kissing the Mezuzah

While standing outside your door- acknowledge that you are no longer at work. Set down anything you have in your hands and think about what you would like to leave behind from your workday. Say quietly, “I’m laying it down.”

Put your hand on the mezuzah and close your eyes. For several breaths, become aware of your love for those who live inside the house. Kiss your hand as you open your eyes.

Enter your house and greet your loved ones with a smile and a kiss. Excuse yourself and proceed to change your clothing.

Removing Constricting Work Clothing

Notice how it feels to wear your work clothing. Does it require extra energy?  Take off any clothes that you don’t want to get dirty or wrinkled and hang them up. Remove any constricting clothing, such as a necktie or brassiere, and remove your wristwatch. Notice how your body feels. Take a deep breath, in and out.

Recite the following blessing:

Baruch Atah Adonay Eloheynu Melech ha'olam, matir asurim.

Blessed are You, Adonay our G-d, Ruler of the World, who frees the bound.

Put on comfortable, soft, loose clothing. Close your eyes and take another deep breath. As you breathe in- notice areas in your body where you might still feel tension from your work day. As you breathe out – focus on releasing the tension. Scan your muscles. When no tension remains, take one last deep breath and say, “I am home now.”  

Washing Hands

Remove any rings. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.

 

Ritually wash your hands again and then recite the following blessing:


Baruch Atah Adonay, Eloheynu, Melech ha'olam, asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu al n'tilat yadayim.

Blessed are You, Adonay our G-d, Ruler of the World, who makes us holy with your commandments, and commands us to wash our hands.

Place your clean hands over your heart, feel your heart beating. Know that you are loved simply because you exist. Acknowledge that you are loved by G-d and by your loved ones in your home.

Say or sing one of the following:

V'taher libeynu l'ovdechah be'emet

Dear G-d, purify our hearts to serve You truly.

P'tach libi b'toratehah, u'v'mitzvotechah tirdof nafshi.

Dear G-d, open my heart to Your Torah and Your commandments for my soul to pursue them.

Lev tahor b'rah li Elohim v'ruach nachon hadesh b'kirbi.  Al tashlicheni milfanechah, v'ruach kodsh'chah al t'kach mimeni.

Dear G-d, create for me a pure heart, renew in me a steadfast spirit.  Don't cast me out of Your presence, or take Your holy spirit away from me.

Now that you are fully home rejoin your loved ones and look for G-d in the light of their eyes.