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What is a Mezuzah?

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 doorpost.

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 BEST GIFT

The Parthian king, Artiban, once sent a priceless jewel to Rabbi Judah the Prince (135 c.e. - 220 c.e.), who was the compiler of the Mishna and one of the wealthiest Jews. The king made it obvious that he expected something of equal value in return. The Rabbi's return gift to the king was a Mezuzah. The king's reply was: "I sent you something priceless and you sent me something that can be bought for a paltry sum!?" The Rabbi answered: "You sent me something that I must hire a guard to watch and I sent you something that will watch over you!" Talmud Yerushalmi, Peah 1:1

 

THE MITZVAH OF MEZUZAH

To fulfill the Mitzvah of Mezuzah properly and to have its protection, three parts of the Mitzvah must be fulfilled. (If any of these three parts is not fulfilled, the Mitzvah is not performed.)

1) It must be written properly by a certified scribe. Since the laws of writing a Mezuzah are very intricate and include thousands of details, a non-certified scribe is doomed to fail.

2) It must be properly inspected by certified professional examiners and should additionally be computer scanned to verify textual accuracy. Note: After examining over 40,000 Mezuzot, we found 16% to be Possul(invalid) and of all of those that were found to be invalid, 93% were never acceptable in the first place. That is why it is so important to purchase only reliable Kosher Mezuzot. Although deterioration can occur, most of the problems exist from the time of purchase. That is why a certificate of Kashrut is so important. All the Mezuzot & Tefillin we sell have been carefully inspected and computer scanned to ensure maximum levels of Kashrut.

3) It must be properly installed. Note: After conducting thousands of house calls, we found the statistics to be very disheartening: 96% of the homes were found to have installation problems (such as Mezuzot installed upside-down, missing Mezuzot, some installed on the left side of the opening instead the right side, some installed more than 3 and 1/2 inches away from the opening, etc.)

A Mezuzah is not an amulet. The Rambam indicates that to treat it as one degrades the Mitzvah. Nevertheless, one of the special benefits of the Mitzvah is that it protects he who performs the Mitzvah from harm that may otherwise befall him.

Men and women alike are obligated in the Mitzvah of Mezuzah, which can be fulfilled during the day or at night. The Rambam concludes the Halachot (laws) of Mezuzah with this statement: One must be very punctilious in fulfilling this Mitzvah because it is a constant obligation that includes everyone. Every time a person enters and leaves, he is confronted with the Unity of G-d, the name of the Almighty, and he remembers his love for Him. He awakens from his slumber and his involvement in the vanity of temporal matters and realizes that nothing has eternal existence but the knowledge of G-d. He then immediately returns to the path of righteousness. Our sages have said that he who has Tefillin on his arm and head, Tzitzit on his garment and Mezuzot on his doorways, can be assured that he will not sin, because he has many reminders. These are the selfsame angels that protect him from sin as it says, 'The angels of G-d surround those who fear Him and protect him.'


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Questions? Comments? Suggestions? E-mail-Moshe@mezuzahdoctor.com


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