#116 Likboah Mezuzah: Affixing the Mezuzah
#116 Likboah Mezuzah: Affixing the Mezuzah
In this Lesson you will learn about the Mezuzah, the ornament that is found on the doorposts of most Jewish homes, synagogues, Jewish stores and restaurants. One can purchase a mezuzah from a store or DYI if you would like to be creative and should be placed on a Jewish home within 30 days of moving into the home or aptartment.
#1 EXPLORE THIS: The Meaning and History of the Mezuzah
A mezuzah (Hebrew: מְזוּזָה “doorpost”) is a piece of parchment inscribed with specified Hebrew verses from the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21). These verses comprise the Jewish prayer “Shema Yisrael”, beginning with the phrase: “Hear, O Israel, the LORD (is) our God, the LORD is One”. A mezuzah is affixed to the doorframe in Jewish homes to fulfill the mitzvah (Biblical commandment) to inscribe the words of the Shema “on the doorposts of your house” (Deuteronomy 6:9).
The commandment to affix a mezuzah is widely followed in the Jewish world, even by Jews who are not religiously observant. While the important part of the mezuzah is the klaf, or parchment, and not the case itself, designing and producing mezuzah cases has been elevated to an art form over the ages. Mezuzah cases are produced from a wide variety of materials.
The earliest evidence of a mezuzah is from the Second Temple period. A mezuzah containing some of the text from the Torah (Deuteronomy 10:12-11:21) was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran.
It is common to touch the mezuzah upon entering a Jewish home and then to kiss your fingers. This is a sign of respect for tradition and the values of the Jewish home.
#2. STUDY THIS: What is on the Mezuzah Scroll?
The parchment is prepared by a qualified scribe (a “sofer stam”) who has undergone many years of meticulous training, and the verses are written in black indelible ink with a special quill pen. The parchment is then rolled up and placed inside the case.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 & 11:13-21
Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your resources. And these things that I command you today shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you go on the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your arm and they shall be an ornament between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
And it will be that if you hearken to my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord, your God, and to serve him with all your hearts and all your souls. And I will place rain for your land in its proper time, the early and the late rains, that you may gather in your grain, your wine, and your oil. And I will provide grass in your field for your cattle, and you will eat and you will be satisfied. Watch yourselves, lest your heart be seduced and you turn astray and serve other gods, and prostrate yourselves to them. And the wrath of God will be upon you, and he will restrain the heaven and there will be no rain, and the ground will not yield its produce, and you will be lost quickly from upon the good land that God gives you. And you shall place these words of mine on your hearts and on your souls, and you shall bind them as a sign upon your arms and they shall be ornaments between your eyes. And you shall teach them to your children to discuss them, when you sit in your house and when you go on the way, and when you lie down and when rise up. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates, in order to prolong your days and the days of your children upon the good land that God swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of Heaven over earth.
#3 WATCH: How a Mezuzah Scroll is Made
#4 LEARN: How to Affix the Mezuzah to a Door
The mezuzah is placed on the right side of the door or doorpost, in the upper third of the doorpost – approximately shoulder height. Care should be taken to not tear or damage the parchment or the wording on it, as this will invalidate the mezuzah, which is considered Torah. Generally, Jewish law requires that mezuzot be affixed within 30 days of moving into a rented house or apartment.
The procedure is to hold the mezuzah against the spot upon which it will be affixed, then recite a blessing:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשַׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לִקְבּוֹעַ מְזוּזָה
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher kidishanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu likboah mezuzah.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who sanctified us with His mitzvot, and commanded us to affix a mezuzah.
#5: WATCH : Putting Mezuzahs Up Around the House
#6 RESPOND AND REACT
1. What does the Hebrew word Mezuzah mean in English?
2. Why do Jewish people put a mezuzah on their doorpost?
3. Why do some Jews touch a mezuzah and then kiss their hand?
4. What is the name of the person who writes mezuzahs?
5. Where book in Torah does the text of the mezuzah scroll come from?
6. What is the blessing one recites when hanging a mezuzah?
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