As Jews, we have a commandment to place a mezuzah on each doorpost in our house. And in order to ensure that their condition has not deteriorated, we check our mezuzahs at least twice in seven years.

The mezuzah is a parchment scroll containing a biblical passage that begins with Shema Yisrael, the Jewish declaration of faith in the One G‑d. These words are powerful, and also protect us from harm.

Over twenty years ago, our family learnt firsthand the power of the mezuzah.

It was a few days before Rosh Hashanah, and my young, very active son was playing quietly on the floor with some toys. Now this was not normal. I asked him if anything was wrong or hurt him, and he said no, but when I touched his forehead he was warm.

Everything came back normal, but still our son had an unexplained feverBeing an overprotective mother, I checked his temperature, and my assumption was correct. He had a low-grade fever of 99°F. I took him to the doctor to see if some infection was starting.

The doctor examined him carefully and said that he didn’t see anything wrong, and that it was probably just a virus that in a few days would be gone.

After a week of continuous low fever, our doctor decided to do blood work. Everything came back normal, but still our son had an unexplained fever.

Another week passed and again he ran the blood tests, this time ordering work for different types of diseases that had a low-grade fever symptom. Everything came back normal.

Our doctor was perplexed. He didn’t know what was wrong with the child. He referred us to a pediatric specialist. The doctor to whom he sent us was a non-observant Israeli who had been living in Canada for a long time. He had a fabulous reputation of getting to the source of a problem. The doctor examined our son from head to toe, took his temperature, and said he wanted to run his own tests.

The doctor told us that if the results came back normal, he would have to admit our son to the hospital and do more extensive work. This was a Thursday morning. Once again our little boy was stabbed to draw blood.

When we left the doctor’s office, my husband and I both blurted out at the same time that our mezuzahs must be checked, even though they had been checked several months earlier. We went home, took down the mezuzahs and brought them to the sofer (scribe), who said that we would have them back before Shabbat.

Friday morning, the doctor called to say that the tests were normal and that he had made arrangements for our child to be admitted to the hospital on Sunday. Not even five minutes later, the phone rang again, and this time it was the sofer. He wanted to know if we had a sick child in our house! We said that we did, and he went on to tell us that the Hebrew lettering in the mezuzah from my son’s room had two cracks that changed some words to mean “sick child.” The mezuzah needed to be replaced.

The scribe wanted to know if we had a sick child in our house!Friday afternoon, my husband put up all the mezuzahs—including a new one on my son’s door. My son, who had been quietly leaning on me while I read him a story, suddenly jumped up and became his old active self. We took his temperature—by now he really hated that—and, for the first time in three weeks, it was normal.

Saturday night I called our doctor’s service and left a message that I needed to speak to him as soon as possible. Fearing that the child was worse, he called back right away. I related to him our story about the mezuzah.

He asked me to bring my son to his office that evening. The doctor re-examined my son and he took his temperature. It was normal.

He had heard stories about the power of a mezuzah, the doctor told us, and thought they were just tales. This was the first time he actually saw a patient who was sick and cured because of a mezuzah.

May the mezuzah always protect the Jewish nation!

Postscript (1/19/2009):

It is now over twenty years since the original story took place.

Over the years we have had our mezuzahs checked many times. The scribe always proclaimed them kosher.

A couple of weeks before Chanukah, my husband told me that it had been a long time since we last checked our mezuzahs, and he had a feeling that it was time to check them again.

My husband called the scribe and made the arrangements. The scribe told him that he could pick them up that day and would bring them back in the evening.

After checking the mezuzahs, the scribe called and said that we had two non-kosher mezuzahs. One mezuzah was from a bedroom and the other was from our mamad, the “safe room.”

G‑d works in strange ways. Shabbat Chanukah was the start of the war in Gaza. We had five air-raid sirens that day. Four Grad missiles, sent by Hamas, landed inside our city of Netivot. One landed not very far from us. Each time, the wail from the air-raid siren sent us to our safe room. Imagine seeking shelter in a room that had a non-kosher mezuzah!

G‑d knows everything, and thankfully, through His hand, my husband had the mezuzahs checked and our safe room was really safe.