Why is the mezuzah hung at an angle?
There was discussion among the rabbis as to whether it should be hung vertically or horizontally. Positioning the mezuzah at an angle is said to be a compromise. There are some interpretations that this symbolizes the importance of compromise for harmony in one’s home.
Is there a special ceremony for hanging a mezuzah?
Yes! The ceremony is called chanukat ha-bayit, translated as dedication of the house. This is a joyous occasion frequently marking a new beginning. Here is more detail on how to hang a mezuzah.
How many mezuzahs do I need in my home?
It is customary to place a mezuzah on any door frame you walk through to enter a living space. A bathroom is not considered a living space.
What exactly is written on the scroll?
A prayer known as The Shema, which comes from the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), and another passage (Deuteronomy 11:13), In The Shema we are reminded of our special relationship with G-d and are told to teach this to our children, think of these words when we are in our homes, going out and about, when we go to sleep, and when we get up. We are also told ways we can remember and think about these words from G-d. One of the ways is to write them on the “doorposts of your house,” mezuzot baitechah.
So, the purpose of the mezuzah is to see it and be reminded of our relationship with G-d?
Yes, it reminds us of the importance of humility and our relationship with G-d. Some people “kiss” the mezuzah each time they enter and leave a building that has a mezuzah by lightly putting their fingertips to their lips and then touching the mezuzah case.
I know of some Jewish people who are not very religious who have mezuzahs in their homes. Why would that be?
Some people think of the mezuzah as part of the Jewish cultural experience, some just like the beauty of the mezuzah and its case, and some think it is a superstitious thing that can protect a home. There is nothing superstitious about it, though. It is really meant to be a reminder in one’s daily life of that relationship with G-d.
What is the difference between mezuzah and mezuzot?
Mezuzah is singular and mezuzot is plural, but some people say mezuzahs and that is acceptable as well. There are also many different spellings of the words because it is a transliteration of the Hebrew word. All of the various English spellings are acceptable.
For what occasions might one give or get a mezuzah?
Mezuzahs may be given as a wedding gift, an anniversary gift, a bar or bat mitzvah gift, a house warming gift, a thank you gift, a hostess gift when you are invited to a special meal, or even a gift to welcome a new baby. In addition to these occasions, it would be appropriate to give a mezuzah for almost any reason.
Who writes the scrolls that are placed inside the mezuzah?
The kosher ones are written very carefully by a sofer, the Hebrew term for scribe, and are also carefully checked to make sure they are perfect or “kosher.” Some people use a copy of a scroll. This would not be considered kosher, but that is not important to everyone.
Are all scrolls made the same size?
No, they can be made in different sizes, but the ones that fit the most of the art glass cases made by Mezuzah Mosaics are 2.5 inches long.