A mezuzah is traditionally written on 22 lines, corresponding to the 22 letters of the Alef Beth. These 22 letters together with 10 numbers-sefiroth (Divine Emanations) comprise 32 Paths of Wisdom. The letters represent the qualitative aspects of the Creation, while the numbers represent the quantitative aspects. Even though the mezuzah has only 22 lines, corresponding to the 22 letters, it implicitly contains reference to the 10 sefiroth as well, since 22 lines connect the 10 points in the array (Figure 1).

Figure 1

This is further alluded to in the very word mezuzah, which has a milui1 equal to 231, the number of all possible pairs of letters in the 22-letter Alef-Beth (fig. 2). These 231 Gates of Wisdom contain the mystery of creation, and it is said that they have been used in the manufacture of a Golem (artificial man, android) through meditation upon these letter combinations.

The text of a mezuzah has 170 words. The number 170 is equal to the combined gematria of two words: banim 2 (children)and chayim 3 (life), as it is written,

“...So that your days may be multiplied; and the days of your children...” (Deuteronomy XI, 13-21).

The number 170 is also equal to the sum total of the gematria of the words chayim (life) and emunah 4 (faith), as it is written,

“The righteous shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk II, 4)

The text of the mezuzah has 713 letters. The number 713 is the numerical value (gematria) of the word teshuvah, repentance. The word mezuzah has the numerical value of 65, the value of another Name of G‑d, Ado‑nai (Master, L‑rd). This Name is associated with the Divine Attribute of Malkhuth (Kingship). Perhaps this comes to teach us that by looking at the mezuzah we remind ourselves of the great Master of the Universe, the King of Kings to Whose Supreme Will we must subjugate our will, submitting to the yoke of the Heavenly Kingdom. This moves us to repentance.

The gematria of mezuzah (65) equals the gematria of the word hekhal, chamber, as in Hekhal HaKodesh, the Holy Chamber, or Hekhal, the main Hall of the Temple. This supports the notion that the mezuzah can turn a house into a place of holiness, a miniature temple.

The sum total of the number of lines, words and letters in the mezuzah is equal to 22+170+713=905. This number is the gematria of the phrase found in the Grace After Meals: Berachah Merubah Babaith HaZehGreat blessing to this house.

The sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Joseph I. Schneersohn, points out that the word mezuzah consists of three syllables, me-zu-zah. The first syllable, me-, alludes to the Mishnah, the Oral Torah, because the Mishnah and the Talmud start and end with the letter Mem. The second syllable -zu- alludes to the Jewish nation as it is written:

Am Zu gaaltathis people which Thou hast redeemed.” (Exodus, XV, 13)

The third syllable -zah- alludes to G‑d, as it is written:

Zeh Ey-li v’anveyhu–this is my G‑d, and I will glorify Him.” (Exodus, XV, 2).

This shows the unity of the nation of Israel with G‑d as it is achieved through the Torah, as the Zohar states:

“Three things are bound up one with the other: Israel is bound with the Torah and the Torah is bound up with G‑d.”

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson elaborates on this concept further. He points out that the second syllable, -zu-, is the feminine pronoun this. The third syllable, -zah-, has the same letters as zeh, the masculine pronoun this. As the Rebbe explains, this alludes to the unification of the feminine and masculine aspects of the Divine5 as it is expressed in Torah.

The word mezuzah itself is derived from the root zuz, to move. The first letter of the word mezuzah – Mem, being the middle letter of the Alef-Beth, also denotes a transition between past and future. It is the first letter of the word mayim, water, denoting passage of time. The letter Shin traditionally displayed on the mezuzah case is the first letter of the word Shanah, year, and Shinui, change. Yet the mezuzah must be affixed to the doorposts of a house, the symbol of settlement. Moreover, the law requires that mezuzah is to be affixed to a doorpost in a permanent and immovable manner. Perhaps this apparent contradiction contains a message. We are forever caught up in a race of time, in a race of life. On the other hand, the letter Mem, the first letter of the word mezuzah and also the first letter of the words mikvah6 and mayim (water) represents the present moment. Passing through the door and touching the mezuzah to kiss it, we ground ourselves in the present moment, in the here and now. We ground ourselves in our timeless tradition. We realize at that moment that in these fast-changing times we must not forget the eternal values of Torah.