The ultimate religious experience is described in Jewish sacred literature as Devekuth. The word devekuthliterally means attachment, cleaving or adhesion. It refers usually to attachment to G‑d, or to Shekhinah--G‑d's Presence. Yitzhak Buxbaum translates this word as G‑d-consciousness. Gershom Scholem points out that

“[Devekuth] is generally used for what is otherwise called Unio mystica”.

“ To cleave to Him this means the cleaving of the mind to him, for there is no devekuthexcept that of the mind and the meditation of the heart.”

While devekuthcertainly implies a meditative state of mind, it does not necessarily mean ecstasy or an altered state of consciousness, but rather may indicate a waking state in which one is acutely aware of the Presence of G‑d. Zoharviews all of the commandments as primary aids in attaining devekuth.

The following two Chasidic stories illustrate the use of mezuzah as an aid in maintaining devekuth-consciousness.

The Story of Reb Elimelekh

After the funeral of the [Mezritcher]Magid, many of the Chasidim went with Rabbi Reb Elimelekh to accompany him on his journey home. When evening came, on they all stopped at a roadside inn, because of his fatigue from traveling, Reb Elimelekh took a nap and continued sleeping for a few hours. The Chasidim were shocked that the one whom they had chosen to lead them could sleep uninterruptedly this way for hours at a time. It seemed to them a serious lapse on the part of Reb Elimelekh and they wanted to wake him. However, since it was improper for them to wake their Rebbe, they asked Reb Zusya from Anipoli, his older brother, to do so. Reb Zusya went with them to the room where Reb Elimelekh was sleeping, stood at the doorway and put his hand over the mezuzah. To the astonishment of all, Reb Elimelekh immediately woke up.

They asked Reb Zusya to explain this and he said: “It is well-known that you are supposed to picture the name of G‑d YHVH continuously before your eyes, as it is written,

I have placed the Lord [YHVH] always before me.[Psalm XVI, 8]

How then can a man go to sleep, for during sleep it is impossible to do this? He answered his own question, saying, “the answer is that we rely on the divine Name, which is written on the mezuzah [Shaddai]. So when I put my hand on the mezuzah and covered up the Name, Reb Elimelekh had to wake up immediately to picture YHVHbefore his eyes.”

The Story of Reb Barukh

When Reb Pinchas of Koretz was still living in Ostrov, Reb Barukh of Mezhibuzh was raised and educated in his house, and after marriage he continued to visit his Rebbe's home frequently. He was once taking a nap in his Rebbe's room, when Reb Pinchas said to the people that were with him at the time, “If you stand around my disciple's bed, I will show you something novel.” With that he approached the doorpost of the bedroom, and with his hand covered the tiny parchment scroll, the mezuzah, which was affixed to it. Reb Barukh began at once to stir as if about to wake up, but the moment his Rebbe removed his hand from the mezuzah he again fell soundly asleep. After Reb Pinchas had repeated this a few times over, he said, “You have now seen a man of true holiness. Even when Reb Barukh is asleep his soul is not diverted from continuous cleaving to his Creator!”1