The mezuzah is a special object placed on the doorpost of a home as a fulfillment of G-d’s commandment. It serves as a reminder that G-d is ever present and to live by His will.
A mezuzah consists of the decorative house and a scroll written with verses from Deuteronomy known as the Shema Yisrael. The scroll is placed inside the mezuzah house. The scroll is a piece of parchment on which a scribe has written two portions of the books of Deuteronomy.
The first portion is Deuteronomy 6:4-9. This portion is known as the "watchword" of the Jewish faith, the "Shema". It says: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one." It is followed by instructions to speak these words in many situations each day.
The second portion is from Deuteronomy 11:13-21. The intervening portions are various commandments culminating in the illuminating words of God's promise to the Jewish people. He tells us that if we follow His ordinances, God will deliver the beneficent rains in their seasons, the former rains and the latter rains and prosperity in the land given to His people.
There are no rules, however, how the case that holds the parchment should look. Therefore, some mezuzahs are ceramic or glass, some mezuzahs are wood and some mezuzahs are silver according to your desire. Some mezuzahs are modern, some mezuzahs classic. The variety of mezuzahs is unlimited.
It is customary for the mezuzah house to be adorned with the Hebrew word שדי (Shaddai), which is G-d’s most mystical name, or just the Hebrew letter ש (Shin) to represent the word Shaddai. This word is an abbreviation for “Shomer D’latot Yisrael” – the Guardian of Israel.
When hanging the mezuzah it is proper to put a mezuzah on the right hand side of each doorway both outdoors and indoors, with exception of bathrooms.
ברוך אתה ה' אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וציוונו על קביעת מזוזה.
Baruch Ata Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam asher kidshanu b'mizvotav v'zivanu al kviat mezuzah.
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to affix a mezuzah.
It is a custom to kiss the mezuzah upon going through a doorway by first kissing one’s fingertips and then transferring the kiss to the mezuzah. It reminds us of the "Shema" and the commandment "to love God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your might". Having a mezuzah on your door will remind you to keep the word of G-d on your lips as you enter and leave your home.
Your mezuzah does not need to be "kosher". That is to say, the symbolism of the mezuzah is fulfilled even if you place a printed scripture portion on paper inside the case. You need not go to the expense of a scribe written parchment.
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