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Mezuzah Placement and Blessing

  • Where should the mezuzah be placed?
  • What is the bracha for the mezuzah?  When is it said?
  • How would you characterize a “gateway” requiring affixing a mezuzah?
  • Which is preferable- a large or a small mezuzah?
  • What is written in the mezuzah?
  • Can a mezuzah be written in any language?


The text of a mezuzah comprises the passages of Shema Yisrael and Vehaya im shamoa.

 It must be hand written, in Hebrew only, on a kosher parchment.


In the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 285a)  it says, “For the sin of not honoring the mezuzah, a man's son and daughters will die young, as it is written, `And you shall write them for Mezuzot upon your house.' And following this, it is written `So that your days may be lengthened' etc… This is from the source in Tractate Shabbat 32b:


From here we learn that inattention to fulfilling the mitzvah (halachic law) of mezuzah can cause terrible catastrophes chas v'sholom. On the other hand, one who meticulously fulfills this mitzvah is assured of a long life, as it says lima'an yirbu yimaychem...


Is there a connection between the laws of the mezuzah and the smearing of blood on the mezuzot of Bnei Yisrael (the Israelites) in Egypt?  Does the mitzvah of mezuzah commemorate the commandment upon our forefathers in Egypt, to put blood on the mezuzot at the entrances to their homes as a “sign” for the demon to pass over them without causing them harm?  It is possible, but we have no written proof.


Those who interpret the clues even explain the word mezuzot as the reversal of the letters zuz mavet (move over death). And the letters shin dalet yud are explained as the acronym for Shomer Daltot Yisrael (He watches over Jewish homes).  In any case these letters are one of Hashem’s names and they may not be uttered in anything other than holiness.


Despite all that has been said here, it is important to emphasize that the mezuzah is not a good luck charm.


I remember an incident where a woman who asked me, after having her one and only mezuzah checked, if the talisman of the mezuzah works also on the inner rooms of the house. I answered her that this is halacha, not a talisman. I also explained to her that the halacha requires a mezuzah on each and every doorway of every “clean” room. She then replied that her bathroom and toilet were kept very clean!


Every place with an entrance, creating an opening, requires a mezuzah. This definition is sometimes insufficient.  The absence of a door, does not excuse one of the obligation of a mezuzah, at least according to our sages. In a doorway or on a divider that opens but does not have a lintel or a rafter, a mezuzah is not necessary.


A vestibule with pillars is not a conglomeration of openings and therefore these "openings” do not require mezuzot.


The location of the mezuzah- On the doorpost to the right upon entering the room, 2/3 up on a “regular” doorpost, the mezuzah is placed upright or slightly slanted, with the top of the mezuzah cover pointing inward at the room.


The exit to the terrace is not the entrance, and therefore the mezuzah at this entrance will be placed to the right, when one enters the house from the terrace, as with every other entrance in the house. On a closed porch, some say that entrance to it is as entering a room and consequently, the mezuzah should be to the right when facing the terrace.


In a room with two entrances, the rule is that it depends on the frequency of use of the doorway.


A room that does not measure 43 sq. feet, such as a walk- in closet, does not require a mezuzah.


A long narrow room, despite the fact that it measures 43 sq. feet- some say that if there are not 4 cubits- about 6.5 feet, does not need a mezuzah. Such a room necessitates a mezuzah without a bracha.


The entrance to a house must have a mezuzah according to halachic law as it is written “bisharecha”.


The definition of a gateway is not a decorative frame at the entrance to a courtyard.  Rather, it is an entrance attached to a gate, which renders entry to the complex enclosed within impossible, without passing through it.

 It has the shape of an opening, as well as a lintel.  “beit shaar” means a shack like for a shomer (guard).  Such a place requires a mezuzah even if it’s smaller than 43 sq. feet.  Therefore, a small entrance with a doorpost, preceding the entrance to the house necessitates a mezuzah because of its classification as a gate to the house. 
A mezuzah, must be affixed and not just hang.  This is also implied in the text of the bracha, “asher kidshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu likboa mezuzah”.


People occasionally purchase a small parchment for their mezuzot after receiving a mezuzah cover as a gift, which they want to use it.  Please note that mezuzot measuring less than four inches long are not recommended, if only because of the difficulty to accurately write such small letters.

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The Mezuzah placement at two third height of the doorpost, right to the entrance. The Mezuzah placement at two third height of the doorpost, right to the entrance.
The direction of the Mezuzah scrolling,To enlarge, click hereThe direction of the Mezuzah scrolling,To enlarge, click here
Writing a Mezuzah,To enlarge, click hereWriting a Mezuzah,To enlarge, click here
An invalid Mezuzah.To enlarge, click here, A letter is missing in the bottom third.An invalid Mezuzah.To enlarge, click here, A letter is missing in the bottom third.
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