What is a Mezuzah? How do you hang it? Mezuzah 101

Your home is your sanctuary, or at least that’s what they say. The Mezuzah, in Jewish homes is part of sanctifying a home, the family dwelling in it and expressing observance of Jewish Mitzvot and customs.
It is a symbol to the Covenant and commitment to create a Jewish home, keeping God’s laws lovingly and respectfully.

The Mitzvah of affixing the Mezuzah to the doorstep dates back to biblical times: “And you shall inscribe them on the doorposts (mezuzot) of our house and on your gates” Deutronomy 6:9. The inscription is to be of God’s words, faith and love, commitment to observe his commandments and passing it on to the children.  But, when you look on a doorstep and see the mezuzah, what is visible is the simple and at times sophisticated mezuzah case.

Where is the divine inscription?

The words are inscribed on a Klaf, the mezuzah parchment, also known as mezuzah scroll. The scroll is rolled up to fit the elongated case and remains protected behind the case. For a Kosher mezuzah the scroll must be inscribed by a certified scriber, with Shema prayer and mezuzah commandment.
The mezuzah parchment is inscribed by hand with first two section of the Shema prayer. On the reverse side of the scroll the scribe writes one of God’s names:  Sha-dai. The three letters of this name form an acronym of the Hebrew words that mean “Guardian of the doorways of Israel.” The Hebrew Shin adorning the mezuzah case represents the first letter of God’s name in Hebrew.

Where do I hang a mezuzah?

A mezuzah should be hung in doorsteps leading the bedrooms, living room and house entrance. It should be slanted with the mezuzah’s top facing inwards the room.

How do I hang it?

You can easily affix the mezuzah with glue, nails and hammer or double-sided tape. This clip will take you step by step in affixing the mezuzah


Can I check the mezuzah?

Checking the mezuzah is very important, but you are probably not qualified for the task, unless you are a certified scriber. So, it is customary to have the mezuzah checked twice every 7 years or once a year before the High Holidays.

What Mezuzah should I choose?

First you should decide on the parchment. The mezuzah scroll is most important, and comes in various styles and dimensions. Sephardic, Ashkenazi, Bet Yosef or basic scroll, the choice is up to you, but let us help you in reaching a decision:

Sephardic VS Ashkenazi scroll

Both are completely kosher and the only difference is in the inscription’s font. The choice between Sephardic scroll to Ashkenazi scroll is up to you and your family’s origin.

Bet Yosef scroll

Again, a unique form of writing that is preferable among Ashkenaz Jewish communities. This type of scroll is available in basic, Mehudar or a mix of Ashkenazi and Bet Yosef font. They differ in level of execution and lettering formation, uniqueness of the special letter’s aspects will be brought up as you move from basic to Mehudar style.

Mezuzah Cases

Once you have chosen your scroll, next step is choosing the mezuzah case! Answer these simple questions and you are all set to choose your mezuzah case in few seconds:

1 Are you looking for an indoor or outdoor case?

-Anodized aluminum, stone or concrete mezuzahs will be an excellent choice.
-Pewter, wood or glass mezuzahs are ideal for indoor use.

2 Plain or colorful and decorative?

Going for plain- use a one tone mezuzah.

Colorful mezuzahs are perfect for indoor use and children’s rooms.

Decorated mezuzahs make for a wonderful gift and come in various designs. Express your Jewish pride with a Star of David mezuzah, or pomegranate theme.
More traditional? Shema engraved mezuzah is the best option for you.

Your home will not be complete without a mezuzah or shofar. Visit our OyVey Jewish blog to learn about shofars, their significance in Jewish traditions and importance in Rosh Hashanah.