The mitzvah of Mezuzah is one of the most universally Jewish known mitzvot. The Mezuzah scroll is a small parchment (klaf) upon which two Hebrew verses consisting of the Shema Israel prayer are handwritten. This prayer begins with the eternal words: “Hear o Israel, the L rd is our G d, the L rd is One”.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE AFFIXING A MEZUZAH
1. The decorative Mezuzah case is a container to protect the mezuzah scroll. The mezuzah case can be made from precious or ordinary materials. To assure the validity of the scroll it is better to choose a robust case, one that can stand outdoor conditions.
2. The text must be written by a qualified scribe. There are specific rules involved in writing a Mezuzah. For eexample, text that has been photocopied is not valid – not kosher.
3. The Mezuzah can be written by the scribe only on a delicate parchment (klaf), using a special ink.
4.The script must be perfect and each letter must be properly formed. The slightest flaw in the script or crack in the parchment can render the whole Mezuzah not kosher.
5. The Mezuzah should be hung on the right side of the door, on the top third of the doorway. The top of the Mezuzah slants towards the room into which the door opens.
6. It is customary to have Mezuzahs checked twice every seven years, or even every year.
7. Mezuzah cases are often decorated with the Hebrew letters: Shin, Dalet and Yod – Shadai, meaning “guardian of the doorways of Israel”.
8. The procedure of fixing a Mezuzah is to hold the Mezuzah against the spot upon which it will be affixed, then recite the blessing: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‘olam, asher qideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu liqboa‘ mezuzah, ‘”Amen”. Then the mezuzah is nailed or glued to the right doorpost. When affixing several Mezuzot, it is sufficient to recite the blessing once, before affixing the first one.
9. The Mezuzah should be fixed to the doorpost of every living space in the house, not just the entrance door. However, bathrooms, closets, laundry rooms and so forth do not require a Mezuzah.
10. The Mezuzah should be put up right away after moving in, and not later than thirty days. When you change place of residence do not remove the Mezuzot from the doorpost if you know that another Jewish family will be moving in subsequently.
Mezuzot are very special objects and must be taken care of according to Jewish laws and traditions. Although the parchment is the important part of the Mezuzah, designing and producing Mezuzah cases has been elevated to an art over the ages. So if you’re looking for a wedding or housewarming gift, a Mezuzah is always a perfect choice.