Chofetz Chaim photo on the wall of an office

I wanted a home not a house

When we got married, we started rearranging our belongings to create the beginning of a house. But I was really working towards creating a home – a Jewish home.

The mezuzos went up first, the candlesticks, kiddish cup and havdalah set which were wedding presents went on the shelf next.

The few seforim I had brought with from South Africa joined them. The dishes had been toiveled already.

My eyes looked around at the empty walls while the thoughts filled my head… what picture would go where… what photos did we have to put up and which would we need to get?

My eyes kept searching, where would we put the gedolim pictures? Which wall? Which wall would enable them to be a central focus of our home?

A defining point of a Jewish religious home guided by torah values and Hashem’s guides for us in this world, to keep us on the straight and narrow and focused on our Jewish torah values while we were also citizens of the modern working world.

Living in Israel did not automatically mean that we did not have to worry about outside influences taking us astray as some would think, not even living in a very religious neighborhood.

But having a constant reminder on our walls of what and who we value and what we can emulate would help.

I found my wall.

It was the accent wall just as you walk in – right in front of you!

I wanted the Gedolim pictures to take a central place. Not just another picture on the walls like other picture we had. I wanted them to be stunning.

Beautiful portraits that we would feel beautified inside with our torah way of life.

Framed pictures that would show how much we love our way of life and our Jewish tradition and halacha and ultimately Hashem.

An unspoken message to everyone that walks into our home, religious and non religious, Jewish and non Jewish.

But mostly for ourselves and our children.

I wanted to be able to look at the portraits in our daily life, or while at our shabbos table as we read about the gedolim and admire their traits and achievements and model ourselves even if only in a small way after them.

When I finally found the right Gedolim portraits, ones that suited our heritage, our home and our style, we felt we we had the strong basis of our home in place.

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