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Mezuzah Placement

Mezuzah Placement

Where on the Doorpost Do I Place the Mezuzah?

Photo: Ivan Prole
Photo: Ivan Prole

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 (see illustration). In most homes, the doorways are approximately 78 inches high, so the bottom of your Mezuzah should be no lower than 52 inches from the floor.

If your doorway is much higher (say 90 inches or higher), affix the Mezuzah at shoulder height, even if this is lower than the upper third of the doorway. If the doorpost is very low, a rabbinical authority should be consulted in order to determine where the Mezuzah should be mounted.

If the doorpost or archway is wider (thicker) than a handbreadth (approximately 3¼ inches), the Mezuzah should be mounted within the outermost handbreadth of the doorpost, rather than in the center. However, if there is a protrusion (such as a jamb) running along the height of the doorpost, some rabbinical authorities advise affixing the Mezuzah on the protrusion.

The Right Side

There can be confusion as to which is the “right side” of the doorway. Is it the right as you enter a room or as you exit? And what about a doorway that is between two rooms (e.g., a doorway between a kitchen and dining room)?

The basic rules are:

  • For the door at the entrance of the house, the right as you enter is always considered to be the right side.
  • Inside the house, if the doorway can be used as an entrance from either side, the right side is determined by how the door opens. Whichever room the door opens into is considered the primary room, and the Mezuzah is placed on the side that is on the right when entering that room.

The laws defining the terms “entrance” and “exit” are many and complex. If there is no door, if there is a swinging or sliding door, or if you are in doubt that you affixed the Mezuzah correctly, it is advisable to have a reliable rabbi visit your home to determine the correct location for the Mezuzah.

Young Children

When one has young children and they cannot reach the Mezuzah to kiss it, the Mezuzah should still not be placed lower than the top third of the doorway. Instead, you can lift your children up to the Mezuzah or keep a stool nearby so they can reach it on their own. Doing this provides an opportunity to instill in them—and yourself—a valuable lesson: if an ideal is beyond your reach, strive upwards towards it instead of compromising the ideal.

When There Is No Room

There are cases when it is physically impossible to affix the Mezuzah on the inside of the doorpost itself—for example, a swinging door interferes with the placement of the Mezuzah.

In such a case, the preferred approach would be to make a groove that is less than a handbreadth deep, and place the Mezuzah in the groove.

If that is not possible, then it would be permitted to affix the Mezuzah behind the door, provided it was placed on the doorpost.

When necessary, it can be put on either the inner or outer side of the doorpost, as long as it is within about three inches from the opening of the doorway.

You may also place the Mezuzah on the inner side of the doorpost if you are genuinely concerned that it will be stolen or defaced were it to be mounted on the actual doorpost.

Compiled by Dovid Zaklikowski, based on materials by Rabbi Aaron Wolf, Lubavitch of Center City Philadelphia, and other sources.
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Discussion (23)
November 10, 2016
To Barry
If placing the mezuzah on the outside will not interfere with the door's swing then that's where it should be. Otherwise, it can be inside.

But do note that although the doors swing out, the mezuzah is still placed on the right side when walking into the home.
Eliezer Zalmanov
November 9, 2016
The front door to my house opens outward, rather than inward as most front doors do. Also the door hinges are on the right hand side as you enter the house my question: Should the mezuzah be placed on the indoor or outdoor side of the doorpost?
Barry Rudd
Delray Beach, Florida
February 18, 2016
Re: doorframe too thin
If there is room on the inside of the doorframe then that's where the mezuzah should go.
Eliezer Zalmanov
February 17, 2016
doorframe too thin
If the doorframe from the outside is about an inch thick, so there is not enough space to place the mezuzah, then where should I place it?
October 30, 2015
For several reasons I cannot put the mezouza outside (entrance to my apartment). On the inside the post is not wide enough. My idea is to put it at the entrance of my bedroom.
Anything speaks against this?
(If it is of importance I am only affixing one mezouza in my apartment).
October 9, 2015
The Chabad custom in regards to a door that opens outwards is to place the Mezuzah on the lefthand side. The way to determine which room is considered the primary room, we look at which room the door opens into. The hallway is considered the main room in this scenario, and the Mezuzah is therefore placed on the righthand side of the one "entering" the hallway.
Shaul Wolf
September 27, 2015
The door to our bedroom opens from the left side (handle on the left) into a hallway. If we place the Mezuzah on the right, when the door is open you will not see the Mezuzah as it will be hidden by the open door. The door is always left open. Do we place the Mezuzah on the left so that it will be seen as you enter the bedroom or do we place it on the right side in which case, when the door is open, it will not be seen as it will be blocked by the open door.
Richard Wiener
Westport Ct.
July 9, 2014
My front door open from the left. So would it be ok to place the Mezuzah on the left outside door frame.
polly walker
July 9, 2014
Re: Thick doorframe
The measurement of 3 1/4 inches is not a minimum requirement for a doorpost to have a mezuzah, and a mezuzah may be placed on thinner doorposts as well.
Aside for a mezuzah having to be placed on the righthand side, it must also be as close to the outside as possible, thus incorporating within its protection as much of the house as possible. When a doorpost is 3 1/4 inches thick, if the mezuzah will be placed in the center it will not be as close to the outside as possible, and therefore should be placed further outward than the center. If the doorpost is not that thick, there is no need for concern, and the mezuzah may be placed in the center of the doorpost.
Shaul Wolf
July 8, 2014
What if the door frame for the entryway to the house on the right side is much thinner than 3¼ inches but the left side has the appropriate amount of space? Would it then be permissible to affix it to the left side of the door?
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