There Are No Final Answers

Leaving home is an important part of growth. Being home for a youngster means being not only sheltered but being unripe. If your children are home, it means they are not ready, or they are not willing, to go out. So this notion of home means, among other things, comfort – security, safety, even warmth. In many ways, symbolically, home means the womb.

You may say that home is almost the opposite of spiritual. Spiritual usually means a going out, not a staying home. There is a sense in which home is the opposite of pilgrimage, which means you are going out of home. When you go on a pilgrimage, or when you go on a spiritual search, isn’t it also fair to say that you are looking for a new or different type of home?

Perhaps you are going to the source. Going to the source has an inner, spiritual meaning. Going to the source is sometimes going to the point you started from, and sometimes it means going even deeper.

Home is, in one way, the safe ground, the family – warmth, softness, safety, shelter. All these things are there. And all these things keep you in the shelter, under the apron. For some people that is the right place. For them, marriage is going from holding one apron to holding another apron. And for some people, going from home is going to a slightly different home, but also the same kind of home. You want to re-create home.

But there is another view of home, in which home is the end, not the beginning. You leave your present home, and you are searching for a new home. There is in the Bible, in the Psalms (84:1-4), the notion of the Temple, as this is where I want to stay. Even a bird found its home, a little fledgling found its home. I wish to live near your altar. I’m a wandering bird, and I want to find my nest, my shelter…and my shelter is, interestingly enough, not at home. My shelter, in a way my other home, is near the altar. Now this idea is found and repeated in many ways not only in our literature but in other literatures – that you have to separate from what you may call your temporary, or temporal, home, to go to your permanent home.

The old home is dead for you. It is not enough for you now. When I leave home, it’s about search. The man with the thirst – what does he want? Where does he want to get? Now there are surely some searchers who leave home and want to become, spiritually speaking, gypsies. They are going on a perpetual search that never stops. When is the wandering of a gypsy done? When he dies. You are going to find new things, you are going to find new treasures, but you’re not going to stop. Spiritually speaking, there are lots of such people, perpetual wanderers who are going on a way that doesn’t have any kind of a stop. So there is the person who is searching for another home – a higher home, a better home, a more luxurious home. And then there is the person who would say, “For me staying is dying.”

There are two kinds of people: some people change dresses because they are looking for something that will fit perfectly. And there are some who change dresses because they don’t want to be dressed twice in the same dress. There are people who change religions as people choose dresses.

If you told a person “Here you will find rest,” they will say, “I didn’t change for rest. I didn’t want rest. I wanted a faith. I wanted a faith, so for me, there is no rest.” In the Talmud – I have to quote it, otherwise they will think that I am Buddhist – there is the statement that the righteous don’t have rest. Not in this world and not in the world to come. Because they are always advancing from one level to another. The righteous person is not seeking to play the harp. The righteous person is rather ascending continuously. So if you want to rest, you are not a righteous person. The fact that you want to rest means that you are another kind of a person. If you are a righteous person, you go on to other things.

Then there is the other man, the man who says in the Psalms, “I want to find a home, I’m a wanderer.” “The home is with you.” So it is a home, and it contains all the qualities of the old home. If in my old home I was held in the arms of my mother, and I can no longer stay there, now I want to be held in the arms of the Divine. I’m searching for the same position, if at a very different level.

So it is a twofold movement: One is to go from home to find a new home; the other is to go from home, and you don’t want any home. They are not the same people, and they possibly don’t have the same kind of question. And therefore they won’t stay with the same answer. There are people who want answers; those people, when they find the answer, have found home. Other people, when they find answers, they will develop new questions.

In a certain way these people want the ultimate answer, but the ultimate answer is perhaps something that, almost by definition, is not achievable. Goedel’s Theorem basically says that’s there’s no answer. (Goedel’s Theorem, devised by mathematician Kurt Goedel in 1931, proves, as Time magazine once put it, that “all formal systems…turn out to be incomplete because they are able to express statements that say of themselves that they are unprovable.”) So there’s no home, there’s no stop. But you can get to a point at which it can be said, “I’m satisfied” – where I have enough knowledge to use for any practical problem or purpose. This is a point at which you may say the search is now useless. The great pity, or the great joy, about Goedel’s Theorem is that it tells you there are no final answers. There are no final answers.

For me, home goes as far as Jerusalem. Out of Jerusalem I feel slightly in exile. So, my home is my home, but my home is not as important as being in Jerusalem. For some people it’s a whole country. For some people, it’s this world.