The Why, What, and How of the Mezuzah

The Why, What, and How of the Mezuzah

Is it time to put up a new Mezuzah? Are you sure you know how to do it?

If you're not all that sure about it, or would like to pick up a few interesting bits of information about the Mezuzah, this article is just for you!

First, before we go over the HOW, let's mention the WHY.

Why do we put up Mezuzahs on our door posts?

Many of us members of the jewish tribe, often read the Shema scriptures. We're told to read those a few times a day and to keep those close to heart. The Shema scriptures say - “…inscribe them on the doorposts (mezuzot) of your house and on your gates.”

But why?

Let's be a toddler for a minute and repeat the evergreen - "But why?", shall we?

Judaism is an ancient faith, and it survived A LOT.

The main reason for mounting the Mezuzah, is rooted in what made our faith last through the years. Here's a shocker - it's the same thing that makes certain diets work, and all habit changes last. It's Consistency.

Yes, we put up a Mezuzah for the sake of Consistency. But why?

Well, looking at Abraham's first Hebrews, and comparing them to Moses' later Hebrews, we see Moses had more luck at pulling in the crowd.

Abraham led a tribe of a few thousands, while Moses ringed in many more.

How did he do that?

By introducing the Mitzvahs -

Our Mitzvot, our everyday acts, which lead us all through our waking hours, keep us consistent. We're constantly reminded of our jewish affiliation. Our self identity is one with our religion, thanks to the fact that we're busy being jews for quite a chunk of our lives.

Think about it -

Just saying - "I'm on a diet!", won't work. But being engaged, planning your meals, shopping for the right groceries; all those will create a sense of consistency and will keep you committed to your declaration.

And so it is with Mezuzahs - we put them on our doorposts, mostly to remind ourselves of our jewish affiliation. We reach up to them as we walk by, so they won't become an overlooked item, but a constant reminder of our faith and sense of belonging.

There are other, more spiritual reasons for putting up the Mezuzah, and we will be happy to share more information about those in a separate article.

What are the different parts of the Mezuzah?

Good question! Now we're talking;

To put up a Mezuzah, you need to understand what all those parts you found in the package are, right?

When looking at the Mezuzah, we just see the case, so some of us would expect to open the anticipated package we ordered from Shalom House, containing the beautiful mezuzahs we picked out, and see just one bit. But behold! There are more!

So - a Mezuzah is made of the case we already mentioned, but it also holds the scroll. The scroll is called a Klaf, in Hebrew, and it's basically a parchment. A real, old time parchment, hand made by a Soffer Stam - a person who spent many years studying the Torah and the intricacies involved in working on parchments. Parchments are made from a kosher animal and are inscribed in black ink, with a special quill pen. The same kind used to make a Sefer Torah that's used in the synagogue.

So what's inscribed in there? What are the holy words that make the Mezuzah so important to us, that we put it everywhere and reach up to it all the time?

It's the same words we started this article with - Shema Israel - “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.”. Probably among the most powerful words in the jewish faith. But you may agree that "Challa" and "Matzo balls" are kind of powerful as well…

Anyway, you can get some lovely kosher parchments here, or you can choose to have your Shalom House Mezuzah delivered along with a parchment.

And now that we understand the WHY and the WHAT, let's talk about the HOW -

How should I put up my Mezuzah?

OK, so as with many of our other mitzvahs, there are a few details to keep in mind -

Where should the Mezuzah be mounted?

Some choose to put on all doorposts, leading to a living space, including the attic, garage and basement, but excluding the bathroom.

Others choose to place it at the main entrance to their home or place of business.

Whichever option you choose, here's where to locate it:

  • The Mezuzah is traditionally placed on the right doorpost upon entering the space.
  • It's usually placed diagonally, with a slight slant - the top of the Mezuzah should point inside the room.
  • The Mezuzah should be hung at shoulder height.

And now, to the most important parts of the HOW section -

You should throw a big party to put it up!

Many people perform the Mezuzah mounting ceremony as the Main Event of their Housewarming party.

And why do we refer to it as a "Ceremony"? Because of the blessing. The Bracha -

When affixing the mezuzah to the door post, we say "Boruch Atah A-do-nai Elo-heinu Melech Ha-olam asher kiddishanu b'mivtzvotav v'tzivanu likbo’a mezuzah.".

Which means - "Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to affix a mezuzah."

We only say this Bracha once per ceremony. If you're mounting several mezuzahs on the same day, no need to repeat the blessing.

And now, you know the WHY, WHAT and HOW of the Mezuzah. It's time for some fun!

Why should I get a Mezuzah?

Have you seen some of the beautiful Mezuzah options here at Shalom House?

A Mezuzah can make a great gift for a new home, or for a couple who just moved in together, a wedding present and even to congratulate your friends on the successful completion of their home renovation.

So… Which Mezuzah should I get?

Who's the Mezuzah for?

Is it for a child's room? If so, have a look at the Children's category - it holds many fun Mezuzahs like a Train, and Noah's Ark. How wonderfully creative are these?

Is the Mezuzah for a place of business? If so, a Football Mezuzah may not be your best bet. You should probably consider choosing a more grown up option, like this lovely 3d Mezuzah. These 3d cuties come in a variety of colors. Be sure to check the other colors out in the Metal Mezuzah category.

Looking to upgrade a living room or bedroom with a new Mezuzah? This Floral Silver Mezuzah is a great option, both delicate and stylish.

Are cookies a staple in your home? If so, this Cookie Monster Mezuzah (yes! A Cookie Monster Mezuzah!) is a MUST for you! Look at how well the puppet's naive look works with the Hebrew letter Shin in the back. You can tell he's just waiting to be mounted on your kitchen doorpost and make you laugh every time you reach up to the Mezuzah.

And our last Mezuzah recommendation for the day - the Wedding Mezuzah. Have you heard of the wonderful trend where couples keep the glass shards from their Chuppah and use it to decorate their home? Well, now you have. This Mezuzah's case is see-through, allowing anyone to view the parchment and also the colored shards which brought the couple together on their wedding day. Isn't that special?

Looking for more unique Mezuzahs? The Mezuzah category holds these and many other wonderful options.

Enjoy your new Mezuzah!

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