and repair Mezuzahs, and our Mezuzahs
are guaranteed certified Kosher. Our inventory
includes Ashkenaz, Sephard and Chassidic
Mezuzahs should be checked
every 3 and 1/2 years.
Every doorway in a Jewish
home or business should have a mezuzah
on its right hand side (as viewed from
the main entrance to the room). Bathrooms
are the only exception to this rule.
A Mezuzah is a parchment
which we affix to our doorposts, on which
a scribe has hand-written two paragraphs
from the Torah: The portion of 'Sh'ma
Yisroel' ("Hear O Israel...")
in the Book of Devarim (Deuteronomy 6:4-9),
and the portion of 'V'hoyo-im-shamoa'
("And it shall happen if you obey...")
in Devarim (Deuteronomy 11:13-21.) In
these paragraphs, G-d states that great
rewards await those who observe the Mitzvot,
including prosperity, success and long
life. Each of the two paragraphs includes
a commandment to affix a Mezuzah on the
These portions are written on the parchment
with special ink, by a highly trained
and certified scribe. The text is written
in a single column on 22 scored lines.
Every letter must be properly written,
for even one letter written incorrectly
invalidates the Mezuzah.
On the back of the parchment is written
the word 'Sha-dai', along with certain
other letters. After the scribe has completed
his writing, the parchment is rolled (not
folded or creased) from left to right,
so that the first word to appear when
the Mezuzah is opened is 'Sh-ma'. The
Mezuzah is then placed in a protective
cover or case and is ready to be put up
on the doorpost.
The mitzvah to place mezuzot on the doorposts
of our houses is derived from Deut. 6:4-9,
a passage commonly known as the Shema
(Hear, from the first word of the passage).
In that passage, G-d commands us to keep
His words constantly in our minds and
in our hearts, by (among other things)
writing them on the doorposts of our house.
The words of the Shema are written on
a tiny scroll of parchment, along with
the words of a companion passage, Deut.
11:13-21. On the back of the scroll, a
name of G-d is written. The scroll is
then rolled up placed in the case, so
that the first letter of the Name (the
letter Shin) is visible (or, more commonly,
the letter Shin is written on the outside
of the case).
The scroll must be handwritten in a special
style of writing and must be placed in
the case to fulfill the mitzvah. It is
commonplace for gift shops to sell cases
without scrolls, or with mechanically
printed scrolls, because a proper scroll
costs more than even an elaborately decorated
case ($30-$50 for a valid scroll is quite
reasonable). But according to traditional
authorities, mechanically printed scrolls
do not fulfill the mitzvah of the mezuzah,
nor does an empty case.
The case and scroll are then nailed or
affixed to the right side doorpost on
an angle, with a small ceremony called
Chanukkat Ha-Bayit (dedication of the
house - yes, this is the same word as
Chanukkah, the holiday celebrating the
rededication of the Temple after the Maccabean
revolt against Greece). A brief blessing
is recited. See the text of the blessing
at Affixing the Mezuzah.
Why is the mezuzah affixed at an angle?
The rabbis could not decide whether it
should be placed horizontally or vertically,
so they compromised!
Every time you pass through a door with
a mezuzah on it, you touch the mezuzah
and then kiss the fingers that touched
it, expressing love and respect for G-d
and his mitzvot and reminding yourself
of the mitzvot contained within them.
It is proper to remove a mezuzah when
you move, and in fact, it is usually recommended.
If you leave it in place, the subsequent
owner may treat it with disrespect, and
this is a grave sin.
The commandment to put up Mezuzos is
Mitzva number 423. The Mitzva is incumbent
on Jewish men, women, and children, to
have Kosher Mezuzos on their doors. One
should pay special attention to his Mezuzos,
as they act as an alarm system for the
home, and the reward for putting up Mezuzos
is long life.
There are 713 letters in a kosher Mezuzah.
If there is one extra or one is missing
it renders the Mezuzah invalid. The standard
sizes are 10 or 12 cm. Preferably the
letters should not exceed the margins.