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Mezuzah Guide

Mezuzah Guide

How to put up a mezuzah

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The Mezuzah

No, it’s not a Jewish doorbell. It’s a home security device called a mezuzah, and it’s wired into the Ultimate Protection Agency.

The software inside this gadget is a scroll with the words beginning, “Hear O Israel, the L‑rd is our G‑d; the L‑rd is one.” Those powerful words sum up the mandate of a Jew: to infuse the world with G‑d’s oneness.

Regarding these words, G‑d has commanded us, “And you shall inscribe them on the doorposts of your home, and on your gates” (ibid., verse 9). Hence the mezuzah: a parchment scroll inscribed with the verses of the Shema prayer is affixed to the right doorpost of every room in a Jewish home.

Why a Mezuzah?

In addition to its role as a declaration and reminder of our faith, the mezuzah is also a symbol of G‑d’s watchful care. The name of G‑d, Sha-dai, which appears on the reverse side of the parchment, is an acronym for the Hebrew words which mean “Guardian of the doorways of Israel.” Placing a mezuzah on the doors of a home or office protects the inhabitants—whether they are inside or out.

For more information see What Is a Mezuzah? and The Scroll Inside.

1. What Do I Need?

To properly affix Mezuzahs to your doorposts you will need:

  1. Kosher mezuzah scrolls, one for each qualifying doorway in your home or office.
  2. Protective cases in which the rolled parchment scrolls are inserted.
  3. A measuring tape and pencil to mark the spot on the doorpost where the Mezuzah is to be affixed.
  4. Hammer and nails, screws and a drill, or as a last resort, an industrial-strength glue or double-sided tape, with which to affix the mezuzah.
  5. A printout of this page with the instructions and blessing.

2. Which Rooms Require a Mezuzah?

Before you go out to purchase your mezuzahs, you need to figure out how many your house requires. Which doorways need a mezuzah?

A mezuzah is affixed to every doorway in your home or office that leads into a proper room, except for the bathroom. What qualifies as a "room"? Any enclosed space that's at least 6.5 ft. x 6.5 feet. This includes vestibules, hallways, large walk-in closets, etc.

If there are several doorways leading into a room, each doorway requires its own mezuzah. Doorways without doors (e.g., archways between rooms) also require a mezuzah. Count the doorways that qualify to determine the number of mezuzahs you need.

For more information see Which Rooms Require a Mezuzah?.

3. Obtaining Kosher Mezuzahs

Now that you know how many mezuzahs you need, do some research to find the right place to purchase them. Because mezuzahs must be made according to very exact laws and specifications, only an expert can determine if a mezuzah is indeed “kosher.”

Some basics: The mezuzah must be hand-written by a competent ritual scribe on specially prepared parchment with the specific types of quill and ink mandated by tradition. All too often, printed or improperly prepared mezuzahs, or even empty cases, are fraudulently sold. So make sure to purchase your mezuzahs from a trusted religious source, or ask your rabbi for help.

The mezuzah scroll is rolled from left to right and placed right-side-up in a protective case.

If you will be putting your mezuzah into a case, carefully insert it in a way that the letter Shin will be upright and facing toward the doorway. Also take care that the role not be pinched or bent in the process.

For more information see The Scribal Art.

4. Mark the Spot

A mezuzah is affixed on the right doorpost, approximately, at the bottom of the top third of the doorpost.

For the front door, the right doorpost is the doorpost to the right of the person entering from the street. In internal doorways, it is the doorpost to the right of a person entering in the direction towards which the door opens. If there is no door, think about importance and function: the dining room is more important in the hierarchy of the home (it's used more formally) than the kitchen, so in a doorway between the dinning room and the kitchen, the mezuzah should be on the right of the person entering the dining room.

To determine the proper height at which to affix the mezuzah, use a measuring tape to get the total height of the doorpost. Divide it into three, and measure that amount from the top of your doorpost. Use a pencil to mark the spot. Your mezuzah should sit right atop that mark.

For more information see Affixing the Mezuzah.

5. The Blessing

You are now ready to affix the mezuzah. The blessing is recited once, before putting up the mezuzahs. You will put up the first mezuzah on one of the most important doorways in your home, such as your bedroom. Have the mezuzah and tools in hand. As you recite the blessing, keep in mind that it applies to all the mezuzahs you will presently affix in your home.

Recite the blessing. If you can read and understand the original Hebrew, say it in Hebrew. Otherwise, you can say it in any language you understand.

Here’s the Hebrew text:

בָּרוּך אַתָּה אַדָנָ-י אֶלוֹהֵ-ינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אַשֶר קְדִשָנוּ בְּמִצְווֹתָיו וְצִיווָנוּ לִקְבּוֹעַ מְזוּזָה

Here’s how it sounds:

Baruch Atah A-do-nai Elo-heinu Melech haolam asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu likboa mezuzah.

Here’s what it means:

Blessed are you, G-d our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has made us holy with His commandments and commanded us to affix a mezuzah.

6. Affix the Mezuzah

The mezuzah must be permanently attached to the doorpost. Use hammer and nails, glue, or a durable double-sided tape. Position the mezuzah above the one-third mark you've made. It should be towards the outer edge of the doorpost, on a slant with the top pointing inwards to the room.

Immediately after reciting the blessing, affix the mezuzah. Do not allow interruptions as you then proceed to the remaining rooms in your home. Remember to affix each mezuzah according to the above-mentioned specifications.

7. Regular Check-Ups

You have now affixed the mezuzahs. Your home proudly displays its Jewish identity, and you've tapped into this unique spiritual connection. But you're not finished yet. The mezuzah is a holy object that must be properly maintained.

At least twice in seven years, we take down our mezuzahs and have them professionally checked to ascertain that they are intact. The scribe examines the scrolls to ensure that no letters have been cracked or erased and that the mezuzah is still good. Our vigilance keeps our mezuzahs performing their function: bringing holiness, protection and merit to our home.

For more information see Caring for your Mezuzah and Check Your Mezuzahs!.

By Chabad.org Staff
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Discussion (33)
April 15, 2015
Just writing in response to the couple of natters i saw.
-If you are renting and they don't want you to damage the walls you can use the sticky adhesive that comes off easy, like the one from infomercials
-If you are moving out of a place you may take your Mezuzot along with you if either one of two things
1: the next renter isn't Jewish
2: the next renter does not wish to purchase the Mezuzot from you
Chavie Revah
Brooklyn
February 27, 2015
Placing a Mezuzah on a new front door,
The example on the website shows the door opening from right to left. Placing the mezuzah on the right would be logical because as you walk into the house you see the mezuzah guarding the door. My door, however, opens from left to right. Therefore, if I put the mezuzah on the right side, you will not see it when you walk in the house. In this light, is it correct to place the mezuzah at the correct height and angle on the left side so as anyone walks through the door, you see the mezuzah as you cross the threshold. Thank you very much for your help.
Eugene Ungar
Palm City
February 2, 2015
Re
We are not supposed to take down the Mezuzah, rather leave it for the next owner. If, however, we know that the next owner is not Jewish, we do take the Mezuzah with us.
Yisroel Cotlar
Cary, NC
January 31, 2015
Does mezuzah stay or go?
Do you take your mezuzah with you if you move?
Gail Bernstein
Connecticut
November 6, 2014
Re:
If it is impossible to affix the mezuzah in the doorway itself, the mezuzah should be placed on the front of the doorway on the right-hand side. When doing so, the mezuzah must be placed within a close range of the doorway, so that it is clearly associated with that doorway.
Shaul Wolf
Chabad.org
November 6, 2014
Do you say the bracha for each mezuzah you put up?
Anonymous
October 14, 2014
My storage room doesn't have a doorpost. It has a thick door and the door fills the entire doorway. Would you affix the mezuzah flat on the wall on the right side?
Anonymous
February 18, 2014
So I could use Command strips to affix my mezuzahs, as long as I get the ultra-sturdy kind?
Samantha Leon
January 14, 2014
When to affix
When purchasing a home, affix the mezuzahs, with the blessing, immediately upon moving in.
If you are renting the home or apartment the obligation to install a Mezuzah applies only after thirty days. However it is obviously preferred not to be without a Mezuzah, therefore many have the custom to affix all of the mezuzahs immediately upon occupancy, without reciting the blessing. Once the 30-day period has elapsed, one of the mezuzahs (from a room that has a door) should be removed, checked and replaced.
Chabad.org Staff
mychabad.org
January 12, 2014
when?
When do you put up a mezzuzah? When you buy, after your rehab or when you move in?
Sheila Beth Rosen Schiff
cle
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