What is a Mezuzah?
A Mezuzah is a small scroll of parchment that is inscribed with the first two paragraphs of the Shema prayer. It is placed inside an often decorative case and attached to the right-hand doorways in Jewish homes.
Where must one fix a Mezuzah?
It is often mistakenly believed that the only place that requires a Mezuzah is the front door of the house. However, this is not the case. Obviously, in the case of one who only has a solitary Mezuzah then the front door should be the place for it but ideally most doorways in a Jewish home or workplace or public building should have a Mezuzah.
- Firstly, the room should be more than four cubits long and four cubits wide (approximately 6.5 feet by 6.5 feet) in order to require a Mezuzah. A blessing is not recited over the Mezuzah when affixing it if the room is smaller than this.
- The doorpost of the room must also be a full doorpost- meaning two doorposts and a lintel connecting them. If these conditions are not met it is recommended asking a competent Rabbi who can determine whether or not the entryway requires a Mezuzah.
- Mezuzahs are never fixed to bathroom doorways, shower room doorways and the like.
- As far as garage doors, boiler rooms, attics, outdoor sheds and crawl spaces are concerned, they must also be fixed with a Mezuzah if they are as large as described above. In the case of a space like a crawl space, the doorposts must be at least 10 handbreadths (approximately 32 inches) high. Attics require Mezuzahs too unless one enters via a trapdoor.
- Regarding a porch or sun porch there is a difference of opinion as to where the Mezuzah needs to be placed- to the right side of one entering the house or to the right side of one exiting on to the porch. Ask your local Rabbi.
- Mezuzahs should be fixed in businesses and stores without a blessing and if one works for a non-Jewish person and rents the place from him one should affix the Mezuzah without a blessing. If you are not renting the space and there is a chance that the office space could be relocated, then you are exempt from affixing a Mezuzah.
- Regarding a door that is never used, such as a sealed door there is no need to affix a Mezuzah. One that is blocked by furniture or is usually kept locked does require a Mezuzah.
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