A kosher mezuzah on your doorposts not only makes your house an abode for Godliness but will provide you security measures even after you have left home for a day. It elevates the safety of the entire Jewish nation. Mezuzah cases are customarily small boxes or cylinders two to six inches long. It comprises verses from the book of Deuteronomy, handwritten on parchment.
Every time a Jewish passes through a door with an affixed mezuzah, he or she has to kiss their fingers and touch the mezuzah. It represents love and respect for God, reminding them of the commandments contained within them.
The parchment of the mezuzah
A “kosher” mezuzah is hand-written on genuine parchment, prepared from the skin of a kosher animal, such as sheep, cow, or goat. It is made and written by a scribe, known as a sofer, and is written in permanent black ink with a special quill pen.
It is customary to engrave the back of the parchment with the Hebrew word Shaddai. It signifies “Almighty” and is one of the many names for God in the Bible. It also serves as an acronym for Shomer Deletot Yisrael, or “Guardian” of the doors of Israel.
Mezuzah cases are made from a wide range of materials, such as silver, metals, wood, ceramics, stone, polymer clay, and even pewter.
Rule of Mezuzah to Renter
When a person rents a house to another, it is the responsibility of the renter to bring the mezuzah scroll and affix it even if he has to pay it to be affixed. It’s because the affixing of a mezuzah is the responsibility of the person who dwells in the house and not the house itself. When he moves out, he shouldn’t take it with him. However, if the house belonged to a non-Jewish family, he can take it with him.
Doors and rooms that require a Mezuzah
Are you wondering which doorposts and entranceways are required to have a mezuzah to fulfill the commandment? You can affix a mezuzah at every doorpost, except bathrooms.
Every doorway of every room of a Jewish home needs a Mezuzah. A doorway is an entranceway having two doorposts and a lintel, either square or arched. The rule also applied to all the doorways of every room in any building, space owned, or rented by a Jewish people (even if the room is not for living space, but as an office, factory, or for storage).
The doorways that require a mezuzah but often overlooked includes:
- Large walk-in closets.
- Laundry room.
Some exemptions to the mezuzah room rule
- The room in which the doorway leads must be at least 2 square meters. It should be equivalent to 4 square amot (plural). However, an amah (singular) is a standard biblical measurement that is around 50 centimeters.
- You should hang a mezuzah on a doorway that leads to an unclean room or place such as a washroom or any other area where people are dressed immodestly, including indoor saunas, bars, swimming pools.
How to hang a Mezuzah?
Although there are a diversity of traditions and nuances with how and where to place kosher mezuzah scroll and case on the doorpost. Here are some of the general rules once you have set the parchment inside the case.
- Always hang your mezuzah on the right side of the doorpost as you enter the main room.
- It's a custom to place the mezuzah at a slant toward the main room.
- Do not forget to hang the mezuzah on the upper one-third of the doorpost.
- Jewish people of Spanish and Middle Eastern ancestry place their mezuzah cases vertically.
- Never affix a mezuzah on a temporary dwelling or hotel room doorpost.
- Affix a mezuzah within a month of shifting into a new home or apartment that you are renting.
Once you are ready to hang the mezuzah case, whether with nails or 3M strips, hold the mezuzah on the doorpost where you intend to hang it and recite blessings. It is believed that a single blessing on one mezuzah placement covers the entireness of the home.
Interesting facts about Mezuzah
- The mezuzah is one of the most common examples of Jewish material culture.
- The word “mezuzah” means doorpost and the parchment scroll placed on the doorpost inscribed with verses from Deuteronomy.
- Jewish people believe that the mezuzah provides special protection over the residents of the home where it hangs.
- The texts on the mezuzah are written with special black ink that is waterproof and doesn’t fade over the years.
- Each letter is written in sacred texts in the Hebrew alphabet that takes heart, mind, attentiveness, and holiness of preparation.
- The texts are written on cowhide with a lot of preparation, including two months of drying, stretching, and polishing to ensure it will become easier and smooth enough to write on.
- The parchment has been fabricated particularly for use as a holy object. All the words are handwritten by an expert scribe well-versed in the intricacies of the script and its laws.
- A mezuzah case is decorated in enormous ways and often has a Hebrew letter shin on it, the first letter of one of God’s names, Shaddai.
- When Jewish people pass by a mezuzah scroll, they have a custom of kissing it by touching the mezuzah with their hand, then kissing their hand.
- It’s a religious directive to all the Jewish people to affix a mezuzah at a doorpost at every Jewish home as it reminds them of God’s commandments.
Mezuzah maintenance tips
- Once the mezuzah is affixed, your obligation to mount the mezuzah essentially is complete. However, it’s crucial to maintain your mezuzah regularly.
- Ensure you have your mezuzah checked twice within every seven years for defects, tears, or fading.
- It’s vital for mezuzot placed on outside doorposts of the home as the weather can damage and age a mezuzah, forcing it to become unusable.
Even people who are not Jewish give mezuzah a try as it is a good luck symbol. People believe that the kosher mezuzah scroll and cases provide special protection over the residents of the home.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.