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Messianic Jewish Halacha
The Mezuzah Book 1 Section 11


1. It is a Divine Command to affix a mezuzah to every door of the house. Even if one has many rooms, and in every room there are many doors for ingress and egress, one must affix a mezuzah to each one of the doors, even though only one of the doors is ordinarily used. Even if the number of tenants was reduced and only one door is being used, nevertheless, mezuzot must be affixed to all doors. If a door has been made for occasional deliveries, and there is another door for entrance and exit, no mezuzah need be affixed to the door used for deliveries. Accepted as is RGBG

2. Mezuzot must be affixed also to the gates of courts, alleys, cities and provinces, as it is written (Deuteronomy 6:9): "And upon thy gates." Accepted as is RGBG

3. The mezuzah must be affixed to the right hand side as one enters. If it is affixed to the left hand side, it is invalid. It must be removed and affixed to the right hand side, and the benediction repeated upon fastening it. As regards the affixing of the mezuzah, it is immaterial whether one is left-handed or right-handed. Accepted as is RGBG

4. If there are two houses, each of which has a door opening either into the street or into a court, and the space between the two houses, too, has a door, and it is doubtful to which side of this door the mezuzah should be affixed, then we are guided by the location of the hinges, that is, the place where the hinges are affixed and toward which the door opens, is to be considered as a part of that house, and the mezuzah should accordingly be affixed to the right side where one enters. This rule applies only to a case where both houses are used equally, but if one of the two is used more frequently, then we are not to be guided by the position of the hinges, but the mezuzah must be affixed to the right side of the entrance to the house which is more often used, even though the door opens into the other house. Accepted as is RGBG

5. The mezuzah must be affixed within the upper third of the door-post. If we affix it higher than this limit, it is valid, providing it is one hand-breadth from the lintel. But if we affix it lower than the upper one-third, it is invalid, and we must remove it, affix it to the proper place and pronounce the necessary benediction. If we place it above the one hand-breadth limit, we must remove it and affix it to the proper place without saying the benediction. It is best to affix the mezuzah within the outside hand-breadth of the door-post, but if one deviates from the rule, it does not matter. Accepted as is RGBG

6. How should the mezuzah be affixed? We roll the parchment from the end of the sentence to the beginning, that is, from the last word Ehad (One) towards the first word Shema (Hear), so that the word Shema be on the top. Then we put it in the tube or other receptacle, and fasten it with nails to the door-post diagonally, having the top line containing the first word Shema towards the house, and the last line towards the outside. If the doorpost is not wide enough, we may fasten the mezuzah vertically. If we simply suspend the mezuzah, it is not valid. We must fasten it with nails at the top and at the bottom, so that it should not remain suspended. Sephardic tradition allows for vertical mounting RGBG

7. Before affixing the mezuzah, we say the benediction: "Blessed art Thou, 0 Lord our God, King of the universe, who hath sanctified us by His commandments, and hath commanded us to affix the mezuzah:" If several mezuzot are to be affixed at the time, one benediction suffices for all. If a mezuzah fell off the door-post, the benediction must be repeated when we attach it again; but if we remove it in order to have it examined, it is doubtful whether or not we need repeat the benediction upon affixing it. Accepted as is RGBG

8. Some courts have a small door by the big gate, through which people pass in and out, whereas the big gate is used only occasionally. Since these are two separate entrances, having between them a post one hand-breadth wide, a mezuzah must be affixed to each. Accepted as is RGBG

9. In a place where we suspect that the mezuzah might be stolen, then if possible, one should make a groove in the door-post and place the mezuzah in it; but the groove must not be more than one hand-breadth deep, because if it is deeper, then the mezuzah is not on the door-post of thy house but in the door-post. One must, however, make some mark to indicate where the mezuzah is placed. If it is impossible to make a groove in the door-post, one may affix it inside the house behind the door, but it must be affixed to the doorpost and not to the wall, and it must be affixed not more than one handbreadth away from the opening of the door. If it is more than one handbreadth from the door, it is invalid. Accepted as is RGBG

10. A house requires a mezuzah only when it measures no less than four cubits (six feet) square. If it is not square, but it occupies an area of sixteen cubits, the same as four by four, as for instance when the house is long and narrow, or it is circular, it requires a mezuzah according to the opinion of some authorities, while others hold that it does not require a mezuzah, unless it is four cubits wide. Accepted as is RGBG

11. Only doors which have two door-posts at least ten hand-breadths high, and lintel above them, require mezuzot. Even when the door-posts are not made of special wood or stone, but the walls of the structure themselves form the door-posts and above them is the ceiling, a mezuzah must be affixed to it. If the house has only one door-post, for instance where the wall extends beyond the door on one side, like this ~~|| then if the door-post is on the left side of the entrance, no mezuzah is required; if the door-post is on the right side of the entrance, it is doubtful whether a mezuzah is required. In such a case, we should either affix the mezuzah without saying the benediction, or first affix one to a door which definitely requires a mezuzah, and then to the doubtful door. Thus the benediction said over the former, covers the latter. (See section 7, above). This rule is to be applied to all doubtful cases. Accepted as is RGBG

12. If the two door-posts have no lintel above them, but they have an arched top, like a bow, or even if there are no door-posts at all, but the vault itself begins from the ground, then if the wall is ten hand-breadths high and four hand-breadths wide, a mezuzah must be affixed in either case. In the case of stores, where one door-post is made to reach from the ground to the lintel, but the other door-post does not reach to the lintel, but a wall is made to protrude to about a cubit (one foot and a half) or more, like this I - 1-1, then if the door-post which reaches to the upper one is to the right of the entrance, a mezuzah must be affixed to it; and if the lower door-post is to the right of the entrance, then if this door-post is ten hand-breadths high, a mezuzah must be affixed to it, but if it is less than ten hand-breadths high, it should be affixed to the wider part of the wall. Accepted as is RGBG

13. There are some authorities who hold that if an entrance has no door, it nevertheless requires a mezuzah, and there are others who hold that there must be a door. Therefore, the mezuzah should not be affixed before the door is put in. But one should never first affix the mezuzah and put in the door thereafter, because a precept must be performed on an occasion already existing, and not perform the precept first and thereafter create the occasion for it. Accepted as is RGBG

14. A house used as a temporary residence needs no mezuzah. Therefore, the sukkah erected for the Feast of Tabernacles, requires no mezuzah during the days of the Feast. Stores erected for the duration of a bazaar, and are thereafter, either taken apart or they remain entirely unoccupied, likewise require no mezuzah. But stores which are permanently occupied with merchandise, do require a mezuzah. Accepted as is RGBG

15. A corridor which has three walls with a ceiling above them, and the fourth side is open, but it has two columns resembling an entrance, requires no mezuzah, because these column have not been made to serve as door-posts, but rather to support the ceiling. However, if it has a wall on the fourth side as well, although the wall is low and does not reach to the ceiling, or even though it is made up of windows, a mezuzah is required. Accepted as is RGBG

16. A gate-house, that is, a small hut by the gate of a court in which the watchman stays, or a porch used as an entrance to an attic, a garden-hut, and a shed, require no mezuzah, because they are not used as residences. However, if a house requiring a mezuzah opens into any of these structures or into the corridor, a mezuzah must be affixed to the door leading from any of these structures into the public thoroughfare. Therefore, the gates of courts, alleys, provinces and towns require a mezuzah, since houses requiring mezuzot open into them. Even if ten houses open into one another and only the inner one requires a mezuzah, mezuzot must be affixed to the nine outer ones. Therefore, a gate opening from a garden-house into a court, does require a mezuzah. Some authorities are of the opinion that a gate-house and a porch require a mezuzah, even if there is no house opening into them. It is therefore, best to affix the mezuzah to such structures without saying the benediction. Accepted as is RGBG

17. Bath-houses, canneries and immersion houses (containing pools for ritual purification), require no mezuzah, since they are not made for respectable dwellings. However, stables, houses where fowl are raised, barns for straw, and cellars where wine or other beverages are kept, provided they have the required legal size of a house (see section 10, above), do require mezuzot. Some authorities hold that even these are exempt from a mezuzah. Accepted as is RGBG

18. The mezuzah in a room where children are usually found, or in a room where people at times, wash themselves or urinate, should be covered. The covering of the mezuzah suffices only when these practices are occasional, but when something for loathsome usage is regularly kept near the mezuzah, as for instance, a urinal, it does not suffice. Accepted as is RGBG

19. A house or a court in which non-Jews as well as Jews dwell, is exempt from a mezuzah. Accepted as is RGBG

20. A cellar having doors and door-post lying in the ground, is exempt from a mezuzah, because the term 'door-post' applies only to one standing vertically. Accepted as is RGBG

21. If a man rents a house outside the land of Israel, he need not affix mezuzot to its doors for the first thirty days, because it is not considered a permanent dwelling. Accepted as is RGBG

22. If a man moves from a house and it is to be occupied by another Jew, he must not remove the mezuzot, but must leave them there, and the new occupant is to pay for them. Accepted as is RGBG

23. One must take special care to observe the precept of mezuzah, because it is a continuous obligation. Whenever we enter or leave our house, we are confronted with His name, the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He. And remembering His love, we will awaken from our lethargy, and will cease going astray after the vanities of the time. We will be aware that nothing in this world endures forever, except the knowledge of the Rock of the world, and we will at once come to our senses and walk in the path of the righteous. Our Rabbis, of blessed memory, said (Menahot 43b): "He who has tefillin on his head and on his arm, tzitzit in his garment, and a mezuzah upon his door, is sure not to sin, because he has many reminders; and these are the very guardian angels who protect him from sinning, as it is written (Psalms 34:8): 'The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him and delivereth them."' Our Rabbis, of blessed memory said again (Shabbat 32b): "For the sin of one's failure to observe the precept of the mezuzah, one's children die when young; but the children of one who strictly observes it , will live to a ripe old age, for it is said (Deuteronomy 11:21):'That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children."' Accepted as is RGBG

24. Because the purpose of the mezuzah is to remind us of His name, blessed be He, therefore, we should kiss the mezuzah upon leaving the house and upon entering it. But we are not allowed to put our hand upon the mezuzah proper; we must, therefore, cover the Name (Shaddai) with glass. Upon leaving the house and placing our hand on the mezuzah, we say: "The Lord is my keeper, the Lord is my shade upon my right hand; the Lord shall preserve my going out and my coming in, from this time forth and forever. Accepted as is RGBG


25. The mezuzah of a private dwelling should be examined twice in seven years, but that of a public building should be examined only twice in a jubilee (fifty years). Accepted as is RGBG