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Mezuzot - FAQ
"Inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates"
 
Deuteronomy 6:9
 What importance does Jewish tradition ascribe to the Mezuzah?

In Jewish tradition, the Mezuzah protects the house and the people who live in it. This is also the reason for the letters shin-dalet-yud (an acrostic for the words Shomer Daltot Yisrael - the Guardian of the doors of Israel) that are written on the outer side of the sheet of parchment on which the Mezuzah is inscribed. At times the word shin-dalet-yud is also inscribed on the Mezuzah case.


 What blessing is recited when affixing the Mezuzah?

"Blessed are You ... who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to affix a Mezuzah." It is the custom of some to also recite the Shehekheyanu blessing: "Blessed are You ... who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this time." If a person affixes several Mezuzot at the same time, he recites a single blessing for all of them.


 How is the Mezuzah affixed?

The Mezuzah case containing the Mezuzah parchment is placed at the bottom of the top one third of the right doorpost of the door. The "right side" is the side to one`s right when entering the room. Ashkenzi Jews affix the Mezuzah with its upper part slightly titled towards the interior of the room at the entrance to which the Mezuzah is affixed. Eastern Jews affix the Mezuzah vertically to the doorpost, pointing straight up.


 How is the Mezuzah parchment put in the Mezuzah case?

In order to protect the Mezuzah from moisture and mold, the parchment is rolled up, from the end to the beginning, and covered with nylon. It is then placed in the Mezuzah case with the initial letters shin-dalet-yud written on the outer side of the parchment, facing the letter shin on the Mezuzah case. (These letters compose one of the names of G-d, and also are an acrostic for the words Shomer Daltot Yisrael - the Guardian of the doors of Israel.)


 How big must a Mezuzah be?

The sheet of parchment on which a scribe writes the Mezuzah is always square. The standard sizes for Mezuzot at Oter Israel are 6 x 6 cm., 10 x 10 cm., 12 x 12 cm., and 20 x 20 cm.; orders for Mezuzot in other sizes are also accepted. The most popular sizes for Mezuzot are 10 by 10 cm. and 12 by 12 cm. Those who are especially exacting purchase larger Mezuzot for the entrance to the home.


 How is the Mezuzah written?

Two passages from the Torah: (1) Shema Yisrael ("Hear, O Israel ..." - Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and (2) "If, then, you obey ..." (Deuteronomy 11:13-21) are written on a single sheet of parchment.


 What is the source of the commandment of Mezuzah?

The commandment of Mezuzah has its source in the Torah, in the book of Deuteronomy (6:9): "Inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." The details of the law are set forth in the Shulchan Arukh, Yoreh Deah 285.


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