A Quintessential Guide to Kosher Mezuzah and Its Placement
“And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:9).
The mezuzah is a well-acknowledged, visible symbol of a Jewish home of business that contains a powerful message and holds immense significance.
What is a Kosher Mezuzah?
A mezuzah is said to be kosher when a competent scribe or sofer hand writes it using special black ink and a quill pen. The parchment paper used in kosher mezuzah is also specially prepared from the skin of a kosher animal. The letters of the prayer must be written according to the Jewish Law, and every letter and word must be correct. Any mistakes or missing letters will result in invalidating the entire parchment.
It is not possible to tell if a mezuzah is kosher just by looking at it. It is for this reason one should buy a mezuzah from an accredited store or a god-fearing person.
Mezuzah or parchment scrolls need protection from external elements. For this, you need to place it in a mezuzah case. You will get an exclusive range of mezuzah cases, from inexpensive plastic to crystal gemstones to elaborate porcelain and metals. If you are hanging a mezuzah outdoors, be sure to buy a waterproof case.
Which Doorway Requires a Mezuzah?
According to the custom in practice, put a mezuzah on most doors that people living in the house use. Hence, a Jewish home should have a mezuzah on the front and side doors, porch, bedrooms, living rooms, laundry room, playroom, garage or storage rooms, etc.
Rooms restricted for placing mezuzah:
• Closets and other small places that are not used for everyday living
• When a Jew and a non-Jew share the same house, each having his designated area or room
• A temporary house or living space
After moving into a new home, immediately hang a mezuzah and recite the mezuzah prayer while hanging. When moving out of a home, do not remove the mezuzah if the next occupant is also Jewish, as it is considered disrespectful. Since there is a significant expense involved, it is good for the new homeowners to pay for the mezuzah.
There are technical specs to follow when placing a mezuzah on the doorposts:
• When you scroll and keep the mezuzah in the case, make sure the Hebrew word “Shaddai,” written on the back of the parchment, faces outward. Also, ensure the mezuzah is not upside down.
• All the mezuzahs should be hanged on the right doorposts.
• The mezuzah should be placed on the lower part of the upper third of the doorpost-at around the shoulder’s height.
• As per the Ashkenazi custom, the mezuzah should be positioned at a slight angle, with the above half pointing towards the room you will enter, i.e., straight up vertically.
• Affix the mezuzah permanently with nails, glue, or screws. Using a tape to affix mezuzah is regarded as too temporary. Similarly, magnets and Velcro may not be used.
• Affix the mezuzah from both the top and bottom.
Reciting the Mezuzah Prayer or Blessing
Recite mezuzah prayer while hanging the mezuzah. Either do it yourself or call a competent scribe to do so. When reciting the blessing, the case with the mezuzah enclosed should be held against the doorpost, ready to be affixed.
To Wrap Up
Mezuzah holds great significance, and it is a must for every Jewish to hang a mezuzah as per biblical commandments.