What's on a Mezuzah Scroll, Anyway?

mezuzah scrolls


Pop quiz: which doors in your home should have mezuzah cases? Stumped? We are here to help. Like many things in Judaism, it's complicated.

The general rule is that every room except the bathroom needs a mezuzah. But of course, there are exceptions. The doors of dressing rooms and any completely open room without a door doesn't need one either. And if the room is smaller than 36 square feet, aka some NYC apartments, don't bother. Some surprises? Garage doors, sliding glass doors, and french doors are all fair game. 
sanded mezuzah

Sanded Mezuzah by Joy Stember

Why do we hang a mezuzah (plural: mezuzot)?
It's a fun tradition, one that blesses the home and reminds us every day of our Judaism. The case is a vessel to hold the important scroll, so pick something fun that reflects your style. Something designer or cute for kids or classic or even glitter!

What is the prayer in the mezuzah?
The kosher scroll aka klaf, has a verse from the Shema including: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord (is) our God, the Lord is One".  The kosher scrolls are pricey because the words are handwritten by an expert scribe who is trained in the many laws involved in writing a mezuzah. Every letter must be perfect, and even one crack can make the whole scroll invalid.  


On the back of the scroll, it says one form of God's name: Sha-dai which also means "Guardian of the doorways of Israel”. Since Sha-dai begins with the letter shin, that's why many mezuzot are inscribed with a shin. 

How do you hang a mezuzah?
A mezuzah should be hung on the top third of the right side of the door. Slanted so the top of the mezuzah faces into the room. It's traditional to touch it as you enter the room, and some people kiss their fingers after. 

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You say the Mezuzah should be placed on the right side of the door. To the right side going in or going out?

Karen Michaelson

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