How to put up a mezuzah by Rabbi Kauffman
How to Hang a Mezuzah
A mezuzah (Hebrew: "doorpost") represents the dividing line between the inside of a Jewish home or business and the outside world. Each mezuzah contains a rolled kosher parchment with the Shema prayer meant to protect the inhabitants. The case that holds the scroll can be simple or decorative, but the mezuzah itself is a reminder of your covenant with God. By obtaining the right material and hanging the mezuzah in the proper way, you can represent yourself with this symbol of the Jewish faith.
Buy a kosher scroll.Kosher mezuzah scrolls are written by scribes. The scribes use a particular type of quill and ink on a particular parchment. Good scrolls follow these traditions and should be bought from a trusted religious authority.
- According to religious doctrine, you are supposed to have a mezuzah for every proper room. This includes hallways and large walk-in closets but excludes unclean areas and areas of improper dress such as bathrooms and indoor pools.
- Ask your rabbi for locations where you can get properly made scrolls.
Pick a mezuzah case.The scroll rests inside the case you’ll hang beside your door. The scroll needs to fit inside comfortably, never pressing against the sides of the case. Most cases come in heights of 10 or 12 centimeters and may open from the sides or back. These can be found online or at Jewish religious shops.
- Cases come in a variety of styles, such as simple wood, metal, or glass. They can also be decorated, such as sculpted or painted with religious imagery.
Ready your measuring equipment.You will need measuring tape in order to determine how high you must place the mezuzah. Once you’ve measured the proper distance with tape, use an implement such as a pencil to mark where the bottom of the mezuzah will hang.
Get hanging material.A hammer and nail or a screw and drill are common ways to hang a mezuzah. Choose a nail or screw that corresponds to your mezuzah. These will go into the door frame and must be big enough to allow the mezuzah to hang securely. Strong glue or double-sided tape are also options.
- Glue or tape should only be used with cases that open from the top or bottom. They do not support the part where the scroll rests in cases that open from the back.
Securing the Mezuzah
Place the scroll in the case.The mezuzah should have been rolled from left to right. Now set it in the case, making sure it does not get damaged. The word Shaddai (אֵל שָׁדַּי) should be facing outwards and the letter Shin (ש) should be on top and facing the doorway.
Determine where you’ll hang the mezuzah.The mezuzah will always be on the right side of the door’s entrance. When entering your home from the street, it will be on the right post. For doors inside your home, it will be on the right when you enter into the room the same way the door opens.
- For an entryway without a door, consider the hierarchy of a room in daily life. The dining room is a gathering spot and is used more than a kitchen, so the mezuzah should hang on the right side when entering the dining room from the kitchen.
Measure your door post.Use your measuring tape to get the total height of your door. Divide the height by three. Measure that resulting amount from the top of the doorpost and mark it with your writing utensil. This is where the bottom of the mezuzah will hang, about shoulder height on an average doorway.
- If your door is taller than average, hang the mezuzah at shoulder height.
Recite the blessing.Before you hang the mezuzah, it needs to be given a blessing. Hebrew is the proper language to do this in, but if you do not know Hebrew, do it in a language you understand. In Hebrew, the blessing is "Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu likboah m'zuzah."
- In English, the blessing translates to “Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to affix the mezuzah.”
- When affixing multiple mezuzahs, only one blessing is needed, but try not to talk until all of them are in place.
- A mezuzah that is removed from its spot for over 24 hours should be blessed again.
Put in the nail.Where you marked the door frame is the place where the bottom of the mezuzah should hang. Bring the mezuzah up to the wall or measure upwards if you know how tall the case is. Hammer in the nail or secure one half of the mezuzah with whatever alternative hanging material you’re using.
Affix the mezuzah properly.Now the bottom of the mezuzah should be on the mark around your shoulder. Slant the top of the mezuzah towards the inside of the room and the bottom to the outside of the residence. Add a second nail or screw to hold it in place or secure it to the wall with tape.
QuestionShould the mezuzah be hung on wood only or can it be affixed to concrete?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA mezuzah does not require a specific surface material, so you can hang it on concrete.Thanks!
QuestionI am not Jewish, but have many mezuzahs from Israel. I would like to hang one at my front door. Am I being disrespectful because I am not of the faith?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, you are not. Nevertheless, you should ask yourself, "Will I be abiding by the words written on the scroll within the mezuzah, both within and outside these gates or doorposts?" If your answer is no, it's better not to hang the mezuzah. If you plan to try hard to do so, then you should absolutely feel free to put up the mezuzah.Thanks!
QuestionIn one place it says place the mezuzah on the right doorpost. Then it says place it on the side of the doornob. My doornob is on the left. Where should it go?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerOn the right. It always goes on the right, regardless of where your doorknob is.Thanks!
QuestionIf the entry to a room like my living room doesn't have a door, should a mezuzah still be affixed on the entry wall?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou don't need a door for a mezuzah. I was told not to hang mezuzahs in closets and bathrooms.Thanks!
QuestionWhere do I get the text to place inside the mezuzah?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJewish religious-goods stores and Jewish websites sell them. The parchment has to be kosher.Thanks!
QuestionI was fixing a mezuzah and the case made out of ceramic broke. I attached the pieces with a glue. Is this ok?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt should be fine, but the cracks can leave a mezuzah, especially one closer to the outside of the house or other areas of climate change, more vulnerable to damage.Thanks!
QuestionIs it okay if I place my mezuzah on the inside door frame of my office instead of on the outside door?Community AnswerA mezuzah should be placed on the outside unless there is a concern that it will be stolen or cause danger. You should consult with a Rabbi to determine if there is a leniency in your case depending on the facts of your situation.Thanks!
QuestionShould the mezuzah be placed at an angle?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, it should.Thanks!
QuestionShould the mezuzah hang to the left or right of the door frame?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe mezuzah hangs to the right. In some places, where there is crime, some people put mezuzahs inside their homes nailed on the wall in a vertical position.Thanks!
QuestionWhen selling my home, should I leave or remove my mezuzahs?Community AnswerIf you're selling your home to a Jew, you should leave it up; you can even collect a reasonable price for it from the new occupant. Even if they have their own mezuzahs, they should be the ones to remove it or instruct you in removing it.Thanks!
- If you have any questions or issues related to the laws of mezuzot, it is best to consult a rabbi.
- The mezuzot in each Jewish household should be closely inspected twice every seven years by a scribe to check for damage from weather, temperature, and aging.
Video: How to Affix a Mezuzah
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