Mezuzah

If one observes a religiously-observant Jewish family with children as they enter and exit their house, one may notice that family members touch the right-hand doorpost of the entrance to their house whenever they enter and exit the house and immediately after raise their fingertips to their lips. Little children will often request to be lifted up to the doorpost to kiss the skinny, oblong box that rests on it. For those unfamiliar with Judaism this site is certainly a strange one.
Jewish people are commanded to affix a religious object called a “Mezuzah” to their doorposts. The commandment to do so is not explicitly stated in the Bible but is hinted at in more than one place and this paragraph is actually recited three times a day by religiously-observant Jews in the famous Shema prayer that includes themes such as G-d’s Unity, Reward and Punishment and the commandments of attaching fringes to one’s clothes, Mezuzahs to doorposts and Phylacteries.

When Jewish people move into a new house one of the first things that they will do is affix a Mezuzah to the right-hand doorposts- not only of the front entrance but of all the doors in the house apart from the bathroom where it would be disrespectful to do so due to the parchment that contains the name of G-d inside the Mezuzah.

The word Mezuzah is commonly used to refer to the oblong box but in actuality it refers to the parchment contained in the box. The parchment is written by a specially-trained scribe and contains select passages from the Bible that allude to the commandment to affix Mezuzahs to doorposts. It is believed that the Mezuzah guards over the members of the household no matter where they may be. The custom of touching the Mezuzah with one’s fingertips and then kissing the fingertips is in order to show the great love for G-d and belief in his unwavering protection.

A Mezuzah is a wonderful gift for Jewish people who have moved in to a new house or apartment. One should check when buying a Mezuzah whether the case contains the parchment- without the parchment the case is worthless. The case protects the fragile parchment inside. One should check that the parchment was written by a trust-worthy scribe because a mistake in even a single letter makes the entire Mezuzah non-Kosher and therefore not fit for use. Jewish people like to beautify their commandments- to keep the commandments beyond what they are commanded, to beautify them. Therefore Jewish people like to buy beautiful Mezuzah cases as a way of beautifying the commandment.

 

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