1

How is a mezuzah written? The two portions, Shema and V'hayah im shamo'a, are written on one piece of parchment in a single column. Approximately half a fingernail of space should be left above and below [the writing].

Should one write [a mezuzah] in two or three columns, it is acceptable, as long as it not written tail-shaped, in a circle, or tent-shaped. If it was written using any of these forms, it is not acceptable.

If it was not written in order - e.g., one wrote the passage [V'hayah im shamo'a] before the passage [Shema] - it is not acceptable. If one writes a mezuzah on two different parchments, it is not acceptable even if they were sewn together [later].

A mezuzah should not be made from a Torah scroll or tefillin that have become worn, nor should a mezuzah be written on the empty parchment from a Torah scroll, because one should not lower an article from a higher level of holiness to a lesser one.

א

כיצד כותבין את המזוזה כותבין שתי פרשיות שמע והיה אם שמוע על דף אחד ביריעה אחת ועושה לה ריוח מלמטה וריוח מלמעלה כמו חצי צפורן ואם כתבה בשנים או בשלשה דפין כשירה ובלבד שלא יעשנה כזנב או כמו עגול או כקובה ואם עשה כאחת מאלה פסולה כתבה שלא על הסדר כגון שהקדים פרשה לפרשה פסולה כתבה בשני עורות אף על פי שתפרן פסולה ספר תורה שבלה ותפילין שבלו אין עושין מהן מזוזה ולא מן הגליונים של ספר תורה אין כותבין עליו מזוזה לפי שאין מורידין מקדושה חמורה לקדושה קלה:

How is a mezuzah written? - Sefer HaMitzvot (Positive Commandment 15) and Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 423) consider the mitzvah of mezuzah to be one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

The two portions, Shema and V'hayah im shamo'a, are written on one piece of parchment in a single column. - The Jerusalem Talmud (Megillah 1:9) states that unlike a Torah scroll or tefillin, a mezuzah should be written in a single column.

Approximately half a fingernail of space - approximately one centimeter

should be left above and below [the writing]. - Also, a small amount of parchment should be left on the right side for the mezuzah to be rolled closed (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 288:1).

Should one write [a mezuzah] in two or three columns, it is acceptable - although this is not the desired form

as long as it not written tail-shaped - i.e., wider above than below, the top lines being longer than the bottom ones

in a circle - This word is not found in our text of Menachot 31b, the source for this halachah.

or tent-shaped - i.e., wider below than above, the bottom lines being longer than the top ones.

If it was written using any of these forms, it is not acceptable. - Menachot 31b.

If it was not written in order - e.g., one wrote the passage [V'hayah im shamo'a] before the passage [Shema] - it is not acceptable. - Furthermore, if even one letter from a mezuzah was not written in order, the mezuzah is unacceptable (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 288:3).

The Ginat Veradim suggests that the Rambam requires only that the order of the two passages not be reversed, but is not concerned with the order of the letters within the passages themselves. This perspective, however, is not accepted by other authorities, who explain that surely, the Rambam requires order within the passages. He gave the above example only because he felt that it was more important to emphasize that even if the passages themselves were written in order, if their order was reversed, the mezuzah is not acceptable.

If one writes a mezuzah on two different parchments, it is not acceptable even if they were sewn together [later]. - In his Responsa (213), Rabbi Akiva Eiger writes that if the parchments were sewn together before the passages were written upon them, the mezuzah is acceptable.

A mezuzah should not be made from a Torah scroll - i.e., one may not cut the passage, Shema, from a worn Torah scroll and write the passage, V'hayah im shamo'a, on the empty space below it. One may not cut both passages from the Torah scroll since, as explained above, a mezuzah may not be written on two different parchments (Siftei Cohen, Yoreh De'ah 290:1).

or tefillin that have become worn - Though it is possible to cut the two passages from the arm tefillin, it is forbidden to do so.

nor should a mezuzah be written on the empty parchment from a Torah scroll - the empty parchment left as a border above and on the sides of the Torah scroll. The Or Sameach notes thatShabbat 116a questions whether or not these empty portions of parchment have become sanctified with the holiness of a Torah scroll, and does not resolve the issue. Because of the doubt involved, the Rambam rules that in situations where the question of their holiness is raised, one should always take the more stringent perspective. Therefore, in Hilchot Shabbat 23:27, the Rambam rules that they should not be saved from a fire on the Sabbath if the violation of even a Rabbinic transgression is involved (accepting the possibility that they have not become consecrated). In this halachah, this approach requires accepting the possibility that they have been consecrated.

because one should not lower an article from a higher level of holiness - As explained in Chapter 10, Halachot 2-5 (see also Hilchot Tefillah 11:14), the holiness of a Torah scroll surpasses that of all other articles.

to a lesser one. - Our Sages have established the principle, "One may ascend to a higher level of holiness, but may not descend to a lower one."

2

It is a mitzvah to leave a space between the passage Shema and the passage V'hayah im shamo'a, as if it were s'tumah. If space were left as if it were p'tuchah, it is acceptable, since these passages do not follow each other in the Torah.

One must take care regarding the crowns [on the letters] in a mezuzah. The following letters should have crowns.

ב

ומצוה לעשות ריוח שבין פרשת שמע לוהיה אם שמוע פרשה סתומה ואם עשה אותה פתוחה כשירה לפי שאינה סמוכה לה מן התורה וצריך להזהר בתגין שבה ואלו הן התגין שעושין במזוזה:

It is a mitzvah to leave a space between the passage, Shema, and the passage, V'hayah im shamo'a, as if it were s'tumah. - S'tumah means "closed." According to the Rambam, it refers to a passage whose first word is always written in the middle of a line in the Torah. See Chapter 8, Halachah 2. In the Torah, V'hayah im shamo'a is s'tumah.

If space were left as if it were p'tuchah - P'tuchah means "open." According to the Rambam, it refers to a passage whose first word is always written at the beginning of a line in the Torah. See Chapter 8, Halachah 1.

it is acceptable, since these passages do not follow each other in the Torah. - Note the contrast between this ruling and the Rambam's decision in Chapter 2, Halachah 2, regarding tefillin: "If one wrote a passage which should be s'tumah as p'tuchah or a passage which should be p'tuchah as s'tumah, it is unacceptable."

The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 32) explains the difference as follows: In tefillin, there are passages which follow directly after each other in the Torah. Therefore, all the passages must be written as they appear in a Torah scroll. In contrast, the two passages contained in a mezuzah do not follow each other in the Torah. Therefore, there is no absolute requirement for the passages to be written as they appear in the Torah.

One must take care regarding the crowns - See Chapter 2, Halachot 8-9 and Chapter 7, Halachot 8-9.

[on the letters] in a mezuzah. The following letters should have crowns. - The Rambam lists the letters in the following halachah. Significantly, the letters he mentions here are not the same as he mentions in Chapter 2 with regard to tefillin. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 288:7) rules that, in a mezuzah, just as in a Torah, one should place crowns on the letters, שעטנ"ז ג"ץ
1. In Chapter 2, Halachah 6, the Rambam writes that, when writing tefillin, the ayin of the word Shema and the dalet of the word echad should be enlarged as in a Torah scroll. It is customary to write these letters in the same manner in mezuzot.
2. As mentioned in the commentary on Chapter 2, Halachah 9, based on Rabbenu Asher's opinion, it is proper to add crowns if they have been omitted from the appropriate letters in a mezuzah.
3. See Chapter 1, Halachah 12, where this subject is discussed.
4. See Chapter 2, Halachot 6-7.
5. Making additions on the outside of the mezuzah is discussed in the following halachah.
6. Similarly, if a single letter is forgotten, the mezuzah is invalid (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 288:3). .

3

In the first passage, there are seven letters which should each have three zeiynin upon it. They are: The shin and the ayin of [the word] Shema, the nun of [the word] nafsh'cha, the two zeiynin of [the word] mezuzot, and the two tettin of the word totafot.

In the second passage, there are six letters each of which should have three zeiynin upon it. They are: The gimmel of [the word] d'ganecha, the two zeiynin of [the word] mezuzot, the two tettin of the word totafot, and the tzadi of [the word] ha'aretz.

If no crowns were made, or one increased or decreased their number, [the mezuzah] is not invalidated. If the mezuzah was not written on ruled [parchment], if [the scribe] was not exact with regard to the use of the full or short form [of the words, or if [the scribe] added even a single letter inside [the mezuzah], it is invalidated.

ג

פרשה ראשונה יש בה שבע אותיות על כל אות מהן שלשה זייני"ן ואלו הן:

שי"ן עיי"ן של שמע ונו"ן דנפשך ותרי זייני"ן של מזוזות ותרי טיתי"ן של טטפת ופרשה שנייה יש בה שש אותיות על כל אות מהן שלשה זייני"ן ואלו הן:

גימ"ל של דגנך ותרי זייני"ן של מזוזות ותרי טיתי"ן של טוטפת וצדי"ק של הארץ ואם לא עשה תגין או שהוסיף בהן או גרע מהן לא פסל ואם כתבה שלא בשירטוט או שלא דקדק במלא וחסר או שהוסיף מבפנים אפילו אות אחת הרי זו פסולה:

4

It is a common custom to write [God's name,] Shaddai, on the outside of a mezuzah opposite the empty space left between the two passages. There is no difficulty in this, since [the addition is made] outside.

Those, however, who write the names of angels, other sacred names, verses, or forms, on the inside [of a mezuzah] are among those who do not have a portion in the world to come. Not only do these fools nullify the mitzvah, but furthermore, they make from a great mitzvah [which reflects] the unity of the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, the love of Him, and the service of Him, a talisman for their own benefit. They, in their foolish conception, think that this will help them regarding the vanities of the world.

ד

מנהג פשוט שכותבים על המזוזה מבחוץ כנגד הריוח שבין פרשה לפרשה שדי ואין בזה הפסד לפי שהוא מבחוץ אבל אלו שכותבין מבפנים שמות המלאכים או שמות קדושים או פסוק או חותמות הרי הן בכלל מי שאין להם חלק לעולם הבא שאלו הטפשים לא די להם שבטלו המצוה אלא שעשו מצוה גדולה שהיא יחוד השם של הקדוש ברוך הוא ואהבתו ועבודתו כאילו הוא קמיע של הניית עצמן כמו שעלה על לבם הסכל שזהו דבר המהנה בהבלי העולם:

It is a common custom to write [G‑d's name,] Shaddai - This name serves as an acronym for the Hebrew words, שומר דלתות ישראל, "Guardian of the gates of Israel" (Mishnat Chassidim).

on the outside of a mezuzah opposite the empty space left between the two passages. - The Kessef Mishneh cites the Zohar (Vol. III, 266a) which states that Shaddai should be written opposite the word, V'hayah.

There is no difficulty in this, since [the addition is made] outside. - See also the Ramah (Yoreh De'ah 288:15) who states that it is also common to write the letters, כוזו במוכסז כוזו, opposite the words, י-ה-ו-ה א-להנו י-ה-ו-ה, on the outer side of a mezuzah. These letters are the letters which follow the letters in those names of God - i.e., the כ follows the י, the ז follows the ו.

Those, however, who write the names of angels, other sacred names, verses, or forms, on the inside [of a mezuzah] are among those who do not have a portion in the world to come. - In Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 11:12, the Rambam states:

A person who whispers an incantation over a wound and then recites a verse from the Torah, who recites a verse over a child so that he will not become scared, or who places a Torah scroll or tefillin over a baby so that it will sleep, is considered to be a soothsayer or one who casts spells. Furthermore, such people are included among those who deny the Torah, because they relate to the words of the Torah as if they are cures for the body, when, in fact, they are cures for the soul, as [Proverbs 3:22] states: "And they shall be life for your soul."

The inclusion of these people among "those who do not have a portion in the world to come" is based on Hilchot Teshuvah 3:8, which makes such a statement about "those who deny the Torah."

Not only do these fools nullify the mitzvah - As stated in the previous halachah, any addition made on the inside of the mezuzah invalidates it. (Significantly, the Shulchan Aruch 288:15 states that it is forbidden to add to the inside of the mezuzah, but does not explicitly say that the mezuzah becomes invalidated.)

but furthermore, they make from a great mitzvah [which reflects] the unity of the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, the love of Him, and the service of Him - These are the subjects discussed in the two passages written within the mezuzah.

a talisman for their own benefit. They, in their foolish conception, think that this will help them regarding the vanities of the world. - The Rambam's statements have aroused questions from many commentaries who note that, in several places, the Talmud associates a mezuzah with Divine protection - e.g., Menachot 33b, the Jerusalem Talmud, Pe'ah 1:1.

The Kessef Mishneh resolves this difficulty explaining that, although a mezuzah affords Divine protection, that protection comes, in and of itself, in reward for the fulfillment of the mitzvah. There is no need for any additions on man's part. Indeed, a person who makes additions to the mezuzah in an attempt to increase its influence demonstrates that he is concerned with "his own benefit" and "the vanities of the world" and not with the fulfillment of God's mitzvah. Therefore, he deserves the Rambam's severe words of criticism. See Likkutei Sichot, Vol. 19.
1. Our translation follows the standard text of the Mishneh Torah. The Kessef Mishneh mentions another version which states "at the beginning or the end of the line." That version parallels the apparent source for the halachah, Menachot 31b.
2. This custom is also recorded by Rav Yitzchak Alfasi, and earlier, in the halachot of Rav Yehudai Gaon. It is not clear when this custom was begun.
3. As mentioned in Halachah 2, a space is left at the beginning of the line so that the passage, V'hayah im shamo'a, will be written in the s'tumah form.

5

It is a mitzvah to write al ha'aretz on the final line [of a mezuzah], either at the beginning or in the middle of the line. It has become universally accepted custom for scribes to write [mezuzot] with 22 lines, with al ha'aretz at the beginning of the final line.

These are the letters that appear at the beginning of each line in order: shema, י-ה-ו-ה, hadevarim, l'vanecha, uv'shochbicha, beyn, v'hayah, m'tzaveh, b'chol, yoreh, esev, pen, v'hishtachavitem, hashamayim, va'avad'tem, v'samtem, otam, otam, baderech, uvish'arecha, asher, al ha'aretz13.

ה

ומצוה לכתוב על הארץ בשיטה אחרונה בין בראש בין (באמצע) השיטה ונהגו כל הסופרים לכתוב אותה בשתים ועשרים שיטות ועל הארץ בראש שיטה אחרונה ואלו הן האותיות שבראש כל שיטה ושיטה על הסדר:

שמע ה' הדברים לבניך ובשכבך בין והיה מצוה בכל יורה עשב פן והשתחויתם השמים ואבדתם ושמתם אתם אתם בדרך ובשעריך אשר על הארץ:

6

When [a mezuzah] is folded, it should be rolled from the end of the line to its beginning so that when a reader rolls it open, he will be able to read from the beginning of the line to the end.

After rolling it, one should place it in a tube made of reed, wood, or any other substance and affix it to the doorpost of one's entrance with a nail. Alternatively, one should hollow out the doorpost and place the mezuzah within.

ו

כשכופלין אותה גוללין אותה מסוף השיטה לתחלתה עד שתמצא כשיפתח הקורא לקרות יקרא מראש השיטה לסופה ואחר שגוללה מניחה בשפופרת של קנה או של עץ או של כל דבר ומחבר אותה אל מזוזת הפתח במסמר או חופר במזוזת הפתח ומכניס בה המזוזה:

When [a mezuzah] is folded - As the Rambam states, the intent is that the mezuzah be rolled. Folding a mezuzah is very undesirable, because it will cause the letters to crack.

it should be rolled from the end of the line to its beginning - Menachot 31b states that a mezuzah should be rolled fromechad to Shema. The Rambam uses different terminology because, as stated in the previous halachah, the first line of the mezuzah does not end with echad.

so that when a reader rolls it open, he will be able to read from the beginning of the line to the end - i.e., when one unrolls the mezuzah, the initial word of the line appears first.

After rolling it, one should place it in a tube made of reed, wood, or any other substance and affix it to the doorpost of one's entrance with a nail. - The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 289:4) states that one should affix it "with nails." The intent is that the mezuzah should be firmly affixed so that it is not dangling from one side.

Alternatively, one should hollow out the doorpost and place the mezuzah within. - As mentioned in Halachah 8, one should not place it deeper than a handbreadth within the doorpost.

7

Before affixing it on the doorpost of the entrance, one should recite the blessing: "Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to affix a mezuzah."

One should not recite a blessing when writing [the mezuzah], because affixing it fulfills the mitzvah.

ז

וקודם שיקבענה במזוזת הפתח מברך תחלה ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו לקבוע מזוזה ואינו מברך בשעת כתיבתה שקביעתה זו היא המצוה:

Before affixing it on the doorpost of the entrance, one should recite the blessing: - as is done before the fulfillment of a positive commandment. This blessing should also be recited again when affixing a mezuzah which falls from the doorpost. There is a question whether a mezuzah should be recited when affixing it after removing it to have it checked (Pitchei Teshuvah 289:1).

"Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to affix a mezuzah." - Significantly, in Hilchot Berachot 11:12-13, the Rambam states that when one affixes a mezuzah for a colleague, the blessing should conclude, "concerning the affixing of a mezuzah."

Although the verses which relate the command to affix a mezuzah state, "And you shall write...."

One should not recite a blessing when writing [the mezuzah], because affixing it fulfills the mitzvah. -13 In the listing of the mitzvot at the beginning of these halachot and in Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 15), the Rambam also states that the mitzvah is to "affix a mezuzah."

With regard to the blessings, see Hilchot Berachot 11:8, which states:

For every mitzvah whose performance fulfills one's obligation, one recites the blessing when one performs it. Whenever a mitzvah has a further commandment involved after its performance, one should not recite a blessing until one performs the latter commandment. For example, when one makes a sukkah, a lulav,... tefillin, or a mezuzah, one does not recite a blessing when one makes them.... When does one recite the blessing? When one dwells in the sukkah, shakes the lulav,... wears the tefillin, or affixes the mezuzah.

Note also the comments of the Siftei Cohen 289:1, who writes that the blessing, Shehecheyanu, is not recited before affixing a mezuzah.

8

If one suspends [a mezuzah] within a pole, it is unacceptable, because it has not been affixed. If one positions it behind the door, it is as if one has done nothing.

Should one hollow out the doorpost and place a mezuzah within it horizontally, as the rods were put through the rings [in the Sanctuary], it is unacceptable. Should one place it deeper than a handbreadth [within the doorpost], it is unacceptable.

Should one cut a reed in half and insert a mezuzah within, and afterwards connect this reed with other reeds, making a doorpost for the house from them, it is unacceptable, because the affixing of the mezuzah preceded the making of the doorpost of the entrance.

ח

תלאה במקל פסולה שאין זו קבועה הניחה אחרי הדלת לא עשה כלום חפר במזוזת הפתח והכניס המזוזה כמו נגר והיא כבריח הקרשים בטבעות פסולה העמיק לה טפח פסולה חתך קנה והכניס בו מזוזה ואח"כ חיבר הקנה אל קנים אחרים והעמיד מן הכל מזוזת הפתח פסולה מפני שקדמה קביעת המזוזה לעשיית מזוזת הפתח:

If one suspends [a mezuzah] within a pole - i.e., rather than placing the mezuzah in a tube affixed to the doorpost, one places the mezuzah within a pole which stands next to - but is not permanently affixed to - the doorpost

it is unacceptable, because it has not been affixed. - Deuteronomy 6:9 states that a mezuzah must be placed "on your gates." Unless the mezuzah is affixed to the gateway, it does not meet this criteria (Menachot 32b).

If one positions it behind the door, it is as if one has done nothing. - Deuteronomy, ibid., states that a mezuzah must be placed "16on13 the doorposts of your houses" and not "16within13 the doorposts" (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 11:9).

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, ibid., states that if one fears that the mezuzah will be stolen or defaced, it may be placed within the door. It should, however, be placed on the back of the doorpost, but not on the wall next to the doorpost. (See also Chapter 6, Halachah 12.)

Should one hollow out the doorpost and place a mezuzah within it horizontally, as the rods were put through the rings [in the Sanctuary] - See Exodus 26:26-29.

it is unacceptable. - Rather, the mezuzah should stand directly upright. This opinion is quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 289:6). The Ramah, however, notes the opinion of Rabbenu Tam, who favors the horizontal position, explaining that if it is placed vertically, it is unacceptable.

Accordingly, the Ramah suggests affixing the mezuzah at a slant, thereby adhering to both views. This is the common custom at present.

Should one place it deeper than a handbreadth [within the doorpost], it is unacceptable. - This also is not "16on13 the doorposts of your houses."

Should one cut a reed in half and insert a mezuzah within, and afterwards connect this reed with other reeds, making a doorpost for the house from them - Although if the reed with the mezuzah had been affixed to an existing doorpost, it would have been acceptable. In this instance,

it is unacceptable, because the affixing of the mezuzah preceded the making of the doorpost of the entrance. - As the Rambam explains in Hilchot Tzitzit 1:16, Deuteronomy 22:12 states that one should "make fringes" on one's garments. Menachot 40b states that this teaches us that we must make the tzitzit and not use those which are already made.

Menachot 33b states that the same principle applies here. Since the mezuzah was placed inside the pole before it became part of the doorpost, it is not acceptable.

9

A mezuzah [placed] on private [property] should be checked twice in seven years, and a mezuzah [placed] on public [property] should be checked twice in fifty years, lest a letter have become torn or faded. Since it is affixed within a wall, there is the possibility that it will decay.

ט

מזוזת היחיד נבדקת פעמים בשבוע ומזוזת רבים פעמים ביובל שמא נקרעה ממנה אות אחת או נמחקה מפני שהיא קבועה בכתלים מרקבת:

A mezuzah [placed] on private [property] should be checked -at least

twice in seven years, and a mezuzah [placed] on public [property] - e.g., at the entrance to a courtyard or to a city. (See Chapter 6, Halachah 8.)

should be checked twice in fifty years - Rashi, Yoma 11a, explains that if more stringent requirements were instituted, it is likely that they would be ignored. Every individual would rationalize that it is somebody else's responsibility.

lest a letter have become torn or faded. - A small crack can render the mezuzah unacceptable.

Since it is affixed within a wall - as opposed to tefillin, whose checking is governed by different requirements. (See Chapter 2, Halachah 11.)

there is the possibility that it will decay. - At present, it is customary to check mezuzot more frequently. The ink and parchment we use are different, and there is a greater tendency for letters to fade or crack. Also, there are many scribes whose calligraphy is not professional, and errors which render the mezuzah unacceptable are frequently discovered.

[For the above reasons, it is also customary to wrap mezuzot in plastic to prevent the possibility of decay.]

10

Everyone is obligated [to fulfill the mitzvah of] mezuzah, even women and slaves. Minors should be educated to affix a mezuzah to [the doors of] their homes.

A person who rents a dwelling in the diaspora, and a person who rents a room in a hotel in Eretz Yisrael, are exempt from the obligation [to affix a] mezuzah for thirty days. One who rents a house in Eretz Yisrael, however, is obligated [to affix a] mezuzah immediately.

י

הכל חייבין במזוזה אפילו נשים ועבדים ומחנכים את הקטנים לעשות מזוזה לבתיהם השוכר בית בחוצה לארץ והדר בפונדק בארץ ישראל פטור מן המזוזה ל' יום אבל השוכר בית בארץ ישראל חייב במזוזה מיד:

Everyone is obligated [to fulfill the mitzvah of] mezuzah, even women and slaves. - Since mezuzah is a positive commandment whose fulfillment is not limited to a specific time, its fulfillment is incumbent on all Jews.

Minors - who are exempt from the obligation to perform any mitzvot mid'oraita ("according to Torah law"),

should be educated to affix a mezuzah to [the doors of] their homes. - as part of the Rabbinic command to educate them to perform mitzvot.

A person who rents - It would appear that if one purchases a dwelling - even in the diaspora - one is obligated to affix a mezuzah immediately.

a dwelling in the diaspora, and a person who rents a room in a hotel in Eretz Yisrael, are exempt from the obligation [to affix a] mezuzah for thirty days. - As explained in Chapter 6, Halachah 1, a person is obligated to place a mezuzah only on a permanent dwelling. Hence, until this time period has passed, these dwellings are not considered to be permanent.

One who rents a house in Eretz Yisrael, however, is obligated [to affix a] mezuzah immediately. - Because of the importance of dwelling in Eretz Yisrael, even a temporary dwelling is of significance (Menachot 44a, Tur, Yoreh De'ah 286).

11

When a person rents a dwelling to a colleague, the tenant is obligated to obtain a mezuzah and affix it. [This applies] even if he would pay to have it affixed. [The rationale is] that a mezuzah is an obligation incumbent on the person dwelling [in the house], and is not incumbent on the house.

When [the tenant] leaves [the dwelling, however], he should not take it with him unless the dwelling belongs to a gentile. In that instance, he should remove it when he leaves.

יא

המשכיר בית לחבירו על השוכר להביא מזוזה ולקבוע אותה אפילו היה נותן שכר על קביעתה מפני שהמזוזה חובת הדר היא ואינה חובת הבית וכשהוא יוצא לא יטלנה בידו ויצא ואם היה הבית של כותי הרי זה נוטלה כשיצא:

When a person rents a dwelling to a colleague, the tenant is obligated to obtain a mezuzah and affix it. - Even though the Torah states that a mezuzah must be placed on the entrance to "16your13 house," Bava Metzia 101b states that this refers to the person living within, and not the owner.

[This applies] even if he - the tenant

would pay to have it affixed. - Even if the tenant offers to pay the owner to find a mezuzah and affix it, the owner is not required to accept the offer. The Ramah (Yoreh De'ah 291:2) adds that even if a person rents a house on the condition that it has mezuzot, and he discovers that they are lacking, he may not withdraw from the rental agreement on the grounds that the agreement was based on a misconception.

[The rationale is] that a mezuzah is an obligation incumbent on the person dwelling [in the house], and is not incumbent on the house. - Compare to Hilchot Tzitzit 3:10, which states that tzitzit "are not an obligation on the garment, but on the person who possesses the garment."

These statements, however, must be understood in the context ofHilchot Berachot 11:2, which states:

There are positive commandments which a person is required to pursue and make every effort to fulfill - e.g., tefillin, sukkah, lulav, and shofar. These are called obligations, since a person is obliged to fulfill them....
There are other mitzvot which are not obligations, but rather are left to the person's volition - for example, a mezuzah and a guardrail. A person is not obligated to live in a house which requires a mezuzah so that he could fulfill the mitzvah of mezuzah. Should he desire, he may dwell in a tent or a ship for his entire life.

To summarize, according to the Rambam the mitzvah of mezuzah is incumbent on the person (gavra) and not on the house (cheftza). Nevertheless, it is incumbent upon him only when he lives in a house that requires a mezuzah.

When [the tenant] leaves [the dwelling, however], he should not take it with him - for leaving the house without a mezuzah leaves it open to undesirable influences (Tosafot, Bava Metzia, ibid.). Alternatively, removing a mezuzah may bring harm to the person who removes it (Sefer Chasidim).

unless the dwelling belongs to a gentile - or will be rented to a gentile. Note the Hagahot Maimoniot, which state that a dwelling which a Jew rents from a gentile does not require a mezuzah. This opinion is not, however, accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 286:23)

In that instance, he should remove it when he leaves - lest the gentile desecrate it. Note the comments of the Ramah (Yoreh De'ah 291:2), who states that it is forbidden to give a mezuzah to a gentile to affix on his door. Nevertheless, if the Jew is frightened that refusing the gentile will generate severe negative feelings, he may leave him the mezuzah.