Have you ever walked into a Jewish home and noticed a small object hanging from the doorpost? That object is called a mezuzah. The Hebrew word mezuzah means “doorpost.” According to tradition, the mezuzah is to be affixed to the right side of a doorpost at the entrance to a Jewish home as well as at the entrance to each of the interior rooms except for bathrooms. The mezuzah itself consists of a protective casing, which is generally wooden, plastic, or metal and is often quite beautiful and artistic in design. Inside this protective casing consists of a small, sacred scroll of parchment (k’laf ) that has two biblical passages written on it.
Some people believe that the mezuzah provides special protection over the residents of the home where it hangs, and when they pass by a mezuzah some people have the custom of kissing it (usually touching the mezuzah with their hand, then kissing their hand).
WHAT IS WRITTEN ON THE PARCHMENT?
The parchment is a holy document, written by a scribe who concentrates on the spiritual meaning of each word. The text inscribed on the parchment is the first three paragraphs of the shema, which is the central prayer of the Jewish faith. These paragraphs detail how one must love G-d with all their heart, and states that these words should be placed on the doorposts of one’s home and on their gates.
WHAT IS THAT SYMBOL ON THE MEZUZAH?
The symbol that looks like this: ש - which is on the case of many mezuzahs is called a shin. Shin stands for the word Shadai, one of G-d’s many names, which stands for “Guardian of the Doors of Israel".
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KOSHER AND NON-KOSHER SCROLLS?
- A kosher scroll is made from handmade parchment from a kosher animal and inscribed in black ink with a special quill pen. It is written by a specially trained, religious devout scribe, known in Hebrew as a sofer. The sofer concentrates intensely and writes with special Hebrew characters in a beautiful calligraphic hand.
- A non-kosher scroll is either reproduced by machine, or not written according to the laws of the Torah.
HANGING A MEZUZAH
- WHEN TO HANG A MEZUZAH. The mezuzah should be put up as soon as possible after moving in, and not later than thirty days. A temporary residence does not require a mezuzah; nor does an office or place of business. A dormitory room, which a student considers a home away from home, should have a mezuzah.
- WHERE TO HANG A MEZUZAH. A mezuzah should be fixed to the right side of the doorpost of every living space in the house, not just the entrance door. Any room that has two doorposts requires a mezuzah, so one should check with a rabbi. Bathrooms, closets, laundry room, boiler room, and so forth, however, do not require a mezuzah.
- HOW TO HANG A MEZUZAH. The mezuzah is affixed on the right-hand side of the door as you enter the room. It should be placed at a slight angle, with the top of the mezuzah pointing toward the inside of the room and the bottom pointing toward the outside. The proper place for the mezuzah is at the bottom of the top third of the doorway. In other words, measure the height of the doorway and divide by three; then align the bottom of the mezuzah with the point two-thirds of the way up the doorpost
- WHY ARE MEZUZAHS HUNG AT A SLANT? One of the most famous French rabbis of the twelfth century was Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac, also known as Rashi. His grandson, Rabbenu Tam, felt that a mezuzah should be affixed horizontally for the sake of tradition, because the scrolls in their leather cases were originally pushed horizontally into the crevices between the stones around the doorways of homes. Rashi argued that the mezuzah should be affixed vertically, in such a away that the top pointed toward the Almighty. They eventually compromised, and agreed that a mezuzah should be hung on the diagonal, with its top inclined toward the inside. The decision, allowing peace to rein in a Jewish home in 12th century France, is part of the message of the mezuzah.
MEZUZAHS ARE PERFECT GIFTS
WHY SHOULD I GIVE A MEZUZAH AS A GIFT?
While some homeowners prefer to select their own mezuzah cases, plenty of people appreciate the thoughtfulness of receiving a stunning new mezuzah as a gift. Here is why a mezuzah is a great idea for a gift:
OCCASIONS TO GIFT A MEZUZAH
1. House warming
When someone is moving into a new house, a mezuzah can be the perfect gift. It acts as a reminder of people’s relationship with G-d and the importance of humility. You can even offer to fix it for them at their doorpost with some nails or double sided tape.
Chanukat ha-bayit, which is the ceremony for hanging a mezuzah, usually marks the beginning of something new. As a marriage also signifies the beginning of a new relationship, a mezuzah is an ideal gift for the occasion. The newly-weds can hang it at their home when they move into it for the first time as a married couple.
Even though giving gifts is not traditionally a Jewish custom, people have adopted it as one in modern times. A mezuzah is a gift that embraces the true spirit of the festival, which is dedicating your lives to the service of G-d.
4. New car
A car mezuzah is a small mezuzah case which usually holds a printed copy of the travelers prayer. Car mezuzahs are great, inexpensive gifts to wish your favorite new car owner the best. A car mezuzah can be displayed anywhere in the vehicle. It can be placed inside the driver’s door or stuck on the dashboard for everyone to see.
FINDING THE RIGHT MEZUZAH
WHERE CAN I BUY MEZUZAHS IN BOCA RATON?
At Devon's Diamonds & Decor, we have a wide variety of unique mezuzahs for all styles. Our selection of mezuzahs come in a range of different colors and styles, which allows you to pick the perfect one that suits the taste and personality of the recipient.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN SHOPPING FOR A MEZUZAH?
- SIZE - before buying a mezuzah, make sure to measure the doorpost you intend to hang it on. Mezuzahs come in many dimensions and you'll want to look for one that will fit well on your doorpost.
- LOCATION - while looking for the right mezuzah, keep in mind whether it will be placed indoors or outdoors. Mezuzah cases are made to protect delicate mezuzah scrolls, however, not all cases can survive long-term in certain conditions and can get ruined if not treated properly. A good, sturdy case made from a durable material like stone, cement, glass, or strong metals will not only be safer for your scroll, but will also be able to withstand exposure to corrosive weather conditions like wind, rain, and dust better than a more decorative case made primarily for indoor use.
- METHOD OF HANGING - before shopping for a mezuzah, consider how you will hang it. Some mezuzahs are designed with holes so you can nail them directly to your doorpost, while others are designed to be hung using double-sided tape. This is an important feature to take note of as it will affect the condition of the doorposts you are attaching the mezuzah to.
DO YOUR MEZUZAHS COME WITH A SCROLL INSIDE?
At Devon's Diamonds & Decor, we sell the mezuzah cover and the mezuzah scroll separately. This is because some people already have scrolls which they purchased from their Rabbi or Synagogue. Others may already have a mezuzah with a scroll and they just want to switch the mezuzah cover to a different one to match their decor, etc. At Devon's Diamonds & Decor, non-kosher scrolls are included with your purchase of any mezuzah, while kosher scrolls are an additional fee.
TOP 5 MEZUZAHS IN BOCA RATON
Our family-owned and operated Judaica store offers one of the largest collections of Jewish gifts in Boca Raton. We carry Judaica gifts and Judaica art from artists such as Gary Rosenthal and Michael Aram. The following are the top five, best selling mezuzahs, which you can purchase directly from our Judaica web store, or come in to our location in Boca Raton, Florida.
Michael Aram White Orchid MezuzahThis mezuzah from Michael Aram's White Orchid Collection illuminates the ethereal spirit of the orchid flower. There is a sense of lightness, freshness and even innocence - each petal seemingly untouched and pure.
Gary Rosenthal Copper Heart Wedding Mezuzah
This copper wedding mezuzah from Gary Rosenthal features a swirled heart with a glass cat's eye on the front. On the back it has a spot for the broken glass from the wedding ceremony.
Michael Aram Wisteria Mezuzah
This mezuzah from Michael Aram's Wisteria Gold Collection is inspired by the beauty of twisted and curving vines. They gracefully intertwine while maintaining their own individuality.
Gary Rosenthal Narrow Pointed Glass Mezuzah
This mezuzah from Gary Rosenthal is a classic, colorful fused glass mezuzah with brass and copper accents. It features a glass tube behind the fused glass which holds and protects the scroll.
Michael Aram Twist Mezuzah
This mezuzah from Michael Aram's Twist Collection is inspired by the idea that the whole can be far greater than the sum of it's parts. When elements are combined, they take on another feeling, a greatness. A symmetry is created that is calming and classical.