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Ask The Sofer

Wondering whether a certain doorway needs a Mezuzah? Unsure of how to hang the Mezuzah on your screen door? Our Sofer will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Email your question to our Sofer, Rabbi Eliyahu Yaniger. We will post his reply to your question on this page.

QUESTIONS ASKED TO DATE:

Categories:

  • Ideas behind the commandment of mezuzah

  • Places which require a mezuzah

  • How to put up a mezuzah

  • The Hebrew script and text

  • Checking mezuzot

  • Issues when moving in or out of a home

  • Non-Jews and mezuzot

  • All other questions



  • Ideas behind the commandment of mezuzah

    1. Why does the Mezuzah face inward?
    1. The metaphysics of the Mezuzah
    1. Why is the Mezuzah on an angle?
    1. The Shin
    1. Why do we place it at the top third?
    1. The case vs. the klaf
    1. The phrase "Kozo bemuksaz Kozo"
    1. A Mezuzah worn around the neck
    1. The need for symbols
    1. Two Mezuzot on one door
    1. Preferences in affixing the Mezuzah
    1. Kissing the Mezuzah
    1. The text of the Mezuzah
    1. Metal Door Frame
    1. Mezuzah on a stable?
    1. Mezuzah on school locker
    1. Prayer for safe home
    1. Mezuzah on sliding doors
    1. Mezuzah on doorpost
    1. Prohibition against two mezuzahs on same door
    1. Debate regarding placement of the mezuzah
    1. What is the difference between a kosher and a non-kosher scroll?
    1. Do I need a mezuzah between the wardrobe and the bed area in my bedroom?
    1. Is it permitted to have an image on the klaf?
    1. Is there any deep meaning in the number 713 (letters in the Mezuze)?
    1. Why aren’t mezuzahs put on windows????
    1. What and how must I acknowledge a stranger's mezuzah on their front door when they answer the doorbell or door knock?


    Places which require a mezuzah

    1. Mezuzah in a dormitory
    1. Car Mezuzah
    1. Mezuzah in a hospital
    1. Nanny's bedroom and storage room
    1. a. Kitchen/dining room; b. Playroom; c. Garage
    1. An entrance with two doors
    1. Hallway; attic; laundry room; utility room
    1. Doorway with no door
    1. Mezuzah on a cubicle at work
    1. Gluing on the Mezuzah
    1. Mezuzah on yard gate
    1. a. Sliding door. b. Door to basement.
    1. Height of Mezuzah for child's room
    1. Wooden fence with gatepost
    1. Mitigating the likelihood of theft
    1. Shared housing situation
    1. Mezuzah for child
    1. Dwelling in a vehicle
    1. All rooms of the house?
    1. Metal Door Frame
    1. Mezuzah on a stable?
    1. Mezuzah on school locker
    1. Prayer for safe home
    1. Mezuzah on sliding doors
    1. Mezuzah on a stable?
    1. Mezuzah on office doorpost
    1. Mezuzah removed accidentally by painter
    1. Do I need a mezuzah on the terrace sliding glass door?
    1. Do we need mezuzahs on the frame of the internal elevator door?
    1. Mezuzah on sliding patio doors
    1. Right frame of door is aluminum but left frame is wood
    1. Does a garage need a mezuzah?
    1. Is it appropriate to put a mezuzah on the office door?
    1. Where should mezuzah go in relation to screen door?
    1. Can the Mezuzah be hung next to a glass door?
    1. Should the mezuzah be put on the entrance to an enclosed garden?
    1. Should I put a mezuzah on the door leading from the laundry room to the house?
    1. Do I need a mezuzah between the wardrobe and the bed area in my bedroom?
    1. Does a building used for business require a mezuzah?
    1. Do closets or archways require a mezuzah?
    1. I split a room in half - does the second doorway need a mezuzah?
    1. Does a building owned by a both Jews and non-Jews require a mezuzah?
    1. Do we need a mezuzah on our garage, laundry room, or garden gate?
    1. Do we need a mezuzah for an opening between two rooms?
    1. Do I need a mezuzah on the doorway to a laundry/pantry; also, I am in a wheelchair and can not reach the upper third of the doorframe.
    1. I have a few questions please.
    1. Am I required to affix a mezuzah to the warehouse entrance and offices?
    1. Do we need to place a mezuzah on her bedroom door as well??
    1. Could we put the mezuzah there outside our bedroom?
    1. The metal frame of the glass door seems to thin for the mezuzah.
    1. The metal frame of the glass door seems to thin for the mezuzah.
    1. Which doorpost is the right one?
    1. Isn’t that too far up?
    1. Do I need to place a Mezuzah on the door of the surgery where my non-Jewish Hygienist works?
    1. Can I hang it inside my room?
    1. Does one have to replace the original mezuzot or is it permissible to buy new?
    1. I have a couple of doorposts that I do not know how to address.
    1. So where do I hang the mezuzah?
    1. Do I need to put up a mezuzah? If I do, how long do I have to put it up?
    1. Is it my responsibility to place a Mezuzah there since I don't own the actual building, I am just renting an apartment.
    1. Is it my responsibility to place a Mezuzah there since I don't own the actual building, I am just renting an apartment.


    How to put up a mezuzah

    1. Which is the correct side?
    1. Determining "inside" and "outside"
    1. Why is the Mezuzah on an angle?
    1. Why do we place it at the top third?
    1. Gluing on the Mezuzah
    1. a. Sliding door. b. Door to basement.
    1. Wooden fence with gatepost
    1. Swinging door to basement
    1. Obstruction caused by hinges
    1. Wide Mezuzah
    1. Mezuzah on an elevator
    1. Mezuzah on a chain link fence
    1. Preferences in affixing the Mezuzah
    1. A Mezuzah on the wrong side
    1. The Shehechayanu Blessing
    1. Entrance to a garden
    1. Shehecheyanu; etc.
    1. Metal Door Frame
    1. Scroll has disappeared
    1. No cover on back of Mezuzah
    1. Doorpost of office
    1. Moving a Mezuzah
    1. Protecting the scroll
    1. Which side of deck/patio door to put mezuzah?
    1. Mezuzah on sliding patio doors
    1. Does a garage need a mezuzah?
    1. Debate regarding placement of the mezuzah
    1. Where should mezuzah go in relation to screen door?
    1. Can the Mezuzah be hung next to a glass door?
    1. Can I put up a Mezuzah if I live with a Christian roommate?
    1. What side of the door into my home is the mezuzah supposed to be on?
    1. Is there a certain time of day to hang a mezuzah?
    1. Where do I place a Mezuzah in relation to our French doors?
    1. Why do the Sephardim put their mezuzahs straight up while the Ashkenazic have their slanted?
    1. Can I put a mezuzah inside my door if I don't want it to be stolen?
    1. Do I need to say a new bracha when I replace a mezuzah in my house?
    1. Do we need a mezuzah for an opening between two rooms?
    1. Do I need a mezuzah on the doorway to a laundry/pantry; also, I am in a wheelchair and can not reach the upper third of the doorframe.
    1. We are not allowed to make holes in our metal doorframe — can we attach the mezuzah to an outer doorframe?
    1. Can we reuse the same mezuzah?
    1. Can I replace ones that are already in place with these new ones?
    1. I would like to move a mezuzah on front door of my home to an inside doorpost, and replace it with a new mezuzah.
    1. Do we need to say a new beracha on the mezuzah when putting it up?
    1. My mezuzah fell off the door - do I need a rabbi to put it back on or can I just put it back on?
    1. Isn’t that too far up?
    1. Can I hang it inside my room?
    1. I have several questions about how to install the mezuzah
    1. I have a couple of doorposts that I do not know how to address.
    1. So where do I hang the mezuzah?
    1. Would you please tell me from where this verse is taken from? Is it from the Torah, or from the Book of Psalms or from the Proverbs?
    1. Do I need to put up a mezuzah?
    1. When I put them back up, do I need to say a bracha?
    1. I was wondering if you could help me regarding the placement of some mezuzot?
    1. Is there a special prayer to say when hanging a Mezuzah on the door frame of a baby’s room?
    1. Would it be ok to wrap the scroll in plastic and affix it with plasticene or something that won't pull off the paint afterwards?
    1. I am wondering whether to make the Beracha when I replace them?
    1. I am wondering whether to make the Beracha when I replace them?


    The Hebrew script and text

    1. Letter sizes
    1. The text of the Mezuzah
    1. What is the difference between a kosher and a non-kosher scroll?
    1. I am looking a written source to state the laws of mezuzah for garage, attic and shed.
    1. Would you please tell me from where this verse is taken from?


    Checking mezuzot

    1. Checking Mezuzot in public buildings
    1. Fallen Mezuzahs
    1. Who is qualified to check
    1. Checking the Mezuzah
    1. If scroll gets wet
    1. Checking the Mezuzah
    1. What to do with old Mezuzah case?
    1. If scroll gets wet
    1. Can a mezuzah be fixed if it was not kosher?
    1. How often should mezuzahs be checked or changed?
    1. Can we uses our Mezuzah after it broke and was glued together?
    1. Can I use the Mezuzah I've had since I was a child?
    1. Is it ok to discard a broken mezuzah?
    1. It was rolled up inside out. What does that mean?
    1. I’ve noticed on the outside of different Mezuzot that in addition to “Shin, yud, hay” , there is upside down writing at the top of the parchment.
    1. The only concern I have is whether mezuzahs have to be checked or not.
    1. I just wanted to know if I can change the cracked outdoor Mezuzah by myself.
    1. Should I check the mezuzot in a house I bought if some look pretty small?
    1. Do i need to take it down now that they live there?
    1. I just had the mezuzot in my house checked. When I put them back up, do I need to say a bracha?


    Issues when moving in or out of a home

    1. Mezuzah for a new home
    1. Taking down a Mezuzah
    1. Mezuzah on a new home
    1. Residence shared with non-Jew
    1. Mitigating the likelihood of theft
    1. Moving out of a building
    1. Moving out of a home
    1. New Mezuzot for a new home
    1. Gentile keeping Mezuzah up
    1. Moving out of rented apartment
    1. Shehecheyanu; etc.
    1. Metal Door Frame
    1. Replacing a Mezuzah
    1. Home is for sale
    1. No cover on back of Mezuzah
    1. Move Mezuzah before house is sold?
    1. Replacing old Mezuzah
    1. New house purchase
    1. Removing Mezuzah on home for sale?
    1. Protecting the scroll
    1. Condo association does not allow anything on doorpost
    1. Moving the mezzuah to new office building
    1. Can I charge the next tenant for the value of the mezuzah?
    1. Should we give the mezuzah we found to the previous owner's family?
    1. How many days does one have to put up mezuzot after moving to a new house?
    1. Is there a prayer for removing the mezuzah?
    1. Is there a proper way for a landlord to remove a tenant's mezuzah after they leave?
    1. Does a building used for business require a mezuzah?
    1. Can we move our mezuzah from our demolished home to our new one?
    1. Should I remove all the meuzot when I move?
    1. Can we use our apartment owner's mezuzot or must we buy new ones?
    1. Do we need a mezuzah on our garage, laundry room, or garden gate?
    1. We are a non-jewish couple moving into an apartment with a mezuzah - are we allowed to remove it?
    1. Can we replace one mezuzah with another?
    1. We are not allowed to make holes in our metal doorframe — can we attach the mezuzah to an outer doorframe?
    1. Could you provide the proper bracha for installing a mezuzah on a new home?
    1. My mother recently passed away. We have removed the mezuzot from her home as the new owners are not Jewish and would be grateful to learn what action we should take.
    1. Can we reuse the same mezuzah?
    1. Are we allowed to take the mezzuzot with us?
    1. My question is this: can I hang it up in our new bedroom doorway?
    1. We are moving to a home that was owned by a Gentile and our rental will be inhabited by Gentiles when we leave
    1. We have mezuzahs on all the doors in our apartment and on the door of the apartment building, however I noticed that there aren't Mezuzahs affixed on the archways inside the building that lead to the apartments.
    1. I have separated from my wife, we sold the house and while nobody is living there yet, the new owners are gentiles.
    1. They don't want us to use nails or tape to affix our own mezzuzot on the rest of the door lintels because they don't want to leave marks on the paint. what do you suggest?
    1. Do I need to take it down now that they live there?


    Non-Jews and mezuzot

    1. Mezuzah in a righteous Gentile's home
    1. Mezuzah case made by non-Jew
    1. Gentile keeping Mezuzah up
    1. A Mezuzah as a gift from a non-Jew
    1. Checking the Mezuzah
    1. Use of Mezuzah by Christians
    1. Checking the Mezuzah
    1. Should we give the mezuzah we found to the previous owner's family?
    1. What to do with Mezuzah found in my yard?
    1. Can I use a mezuzah if I am christian but have jewish ancestors?
    1. Is it appropriate to have a mezuzah if I am Christian?
    1. If my friend wants to put a cross in the house, would it be disrespectful to put up a mezuzah?
    1. We are a non-jewish couple moving into an apartment with a mezuzah - are we allowed to remove it?
    1. She is fine with a mezuzah on the front door and common areas, but do we need to place a mezuzah on her bedroom door as well?
    1. Is it appropriate to keep the blessing in place?
    1. If it arrives blank where or who can inscribe it and what should the inscription say?
    1. If they are removed, how do we dispose of them?
    1. We built a new house and I wanted to know if it is right for me to put a Mezuzah?
    1. I am a reformed Jew who is married to a Lutheran Pastor.
    1. Would it be wrong if I attach a mezuzah inside my apartment?
    1. Will I be cursed or have bad luck if I hang a mezuzah inside my apartment? I don't want to hang it outside because I am not Jewish.
    1. Do I need to place a Mezuzah on the door of the surgery where my non-Jewish Hygienist works?
    1. Are there specific dimensions I need to follow for this item?
    1. I want very much for Marie to wear the Necklace and I know she would if you said it was OK
    1. I was wondering if married to a non-jewish husband is it proper to have mezuzah on all my doors?
    1. Am I allowed to kiss the Mezuzah??
    1. We are moving to a home that was owned by a Gentile and our rental will be inhabited by Gentiles when we leave.
    1. What is the proper and respectful thing to do with the mezuzah?


    All other questions

    1. Various Mezuzah styles
    1. A Mezuzah for a neighbor
    1. Pull-up Bar
    1. Mezuzahs in Jewish Schools
    1. What to do with old Mezuzah case?
    1. Moving the scroll
    1. Why on right side and not left?
    1. Prayer when leaving or entering
    1. If scroll gets wet
    1. Moving the Mezuzah after brachah
    1. What is the rule for spelling G-d when quoting others?
    1. Does wrapping a piece of tape around the plastic make the mezuot non-kosher?
    1. Do I need to say another bracha after replacing bent nails holding the mezuzah with screws?
    1. Can you offer suggestions for a mezuzah to replace my friend's lost mezuzah?
    1. We are Ashkenazi - do we have to replace the Sephardic mezuzot in my son's apartment?
    1. Being both Sephardic (Hispanic on my father's side) and Ashkenazi (Russian on my mother's side), how would I appropriately hang a mezuzah in the doorways of my apartment?
    1. Is there a prayer for taking down a mezuzah?
    1. My daughter received a Mezuzah as a gift. It is inscribed with the word joy on the outside. Is this permissible?
    1. I bought it and would like to wear it. Is there anything special I should do before?
    1. I am looking a written source to state the laws of mezuzah for garage, attic and shed.
    1. If my mezuzah scrolls are bent from the type of case it was in does that make in unkosher?
    1. I am writing a letter to a famous Rav -what initials do I write after his name.
    1. She is extremely observant. Will she accept my mezuzah?
    1. Can a kosher mezuzah scroll be trimmed carefully along the edges, without touching the letters to fit a smaller mezuzah case and still remain kosher?
    1. I just rented an apartment and it has been more than 30 days, about 60 days….i have not yet put up my mezuzah but will do so soon, is this bad luck?



    All of the above questions were answered by Rabbi Eliyahu Yaniger (E-mail: yaniger.stam@gmail.com).

    1. Question:

    Shalom, I would like to put Mezuzahs up within my home (five). I only have one on my front door. What is the difference between regular Askenazi, Yosef and Chabad Mezuzahs? Is there a difference in price?

    Thank you, Jeff, Merrick, NY

    Answer:

    Congratulations on your decision to put up more mezuzahs on your home! Putting up the mezuzahs will give your home a spiritual upgrade. It's a great step to take.

    There are various styles of writing mezuzahs. Ashkenazim (Jews originating from European communities) generally use the style described by the Rabbi Yosef Karo (16th century) in his book "Bet Yosef".

    The Chasidic communites generally follow the tradition of the great Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, known as the "Ari" (also 16th century). This style is essentially a variation on the Bet Yosef script, differing slightly on some letters.

    The Chabad Chasidim have their version of the Ari style, based on the views of Chabad's founder, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, author of the book "Tanya".

    In addition, the Sephardic Jews, mostly from North Africa and West Asia, have their own style, known as Velish.

    But despite the differences in style, the content of the mezuzah is the same for all versions. The font might vary, but the text is the same.

    There is a fairly broad price range among mezuzot. However, price differences are based on the halachic and aesthetic quality of the scrolls. The reputation of the sofer can also affect the price. All other factors being equal, though, a mezuzah should not cost more simply because it is written in the Ashkenazi or Chabad style.



    2. Question:

    What is the reason for the mezuzah to face inwards? I assume that it is to reflect the love and protection of Hashem on our home. Is this correct or is there another explanation?

    Thank you, Bonnie, Toronto, Ontario

    Answer:

    Bonnie,

    Your question is the subject of much discussion among halachic authorities. What makes it particularly interesting to me is that the answer brings up several issues that go to the heart of what a mezuzah is all about.

    The Talmud says that a mezuzah should be within "your gates", as the Biblical phrase goes. In other words, it should be within the transition space between outside and inside. This seems to emphasize that we need G-d to be with us when we go through transitions in our lives. So if you put the mezuzah inside, you won't see it as you come in. It's behind the doorpost. If you put it outside, you won't see it as you go out. This is why it should ideally be in the transition area. It should be "within your gates", putting G-d at the point of transition.

    At the same time, the Talmud also says that within that space, the mezuzah should be close to the outside. In fact some authorities say that even if it's completely on the outside, you've done the mitzvah, though not ideally. (So even though you were right to move your mezuzah inside, you don't have to worry too much about the fact that it was outside before. Some authorities say it's ok.) What's the advantage of placing it near the outside?

    Let me start with a silly story from my experience in the army here in Israel. I was in basic training, guarding the barracks on a freezing, rainy winter night. Rather than stand outside, I moved back, so I'd be under the roof of the barracks and not have to get soaked. The next morning a furious sergeant asked us who the guy was who thought he could get away with not standing outside while guarding. Just as I meekly raised my hand, and waited to be torn into by the sergeant, he got distracted by someone else. The matter never came up again, and I got away with it. But I learned something. A guard who does his job stands outside.

    One reason the Talmud gives for putting a mezuzah near the outside is that the mezuzah is related to G-d protecting us. Since a guard who does his job stands outside, we put it as far as we can outside, while still managing to keep it "within our gates". It shows that G-d is always "doing his job" and protecting us.

    There's an amusing story in the Talmud about the famous convert Onkelos. Time after time, Romans sent soldiers to arrest him, and every time, Onkelos managed to get the soldiers themselves to convert. Finally, the soldiers received orders not to say a word to Onkelos, so that they wouldn't fall into his "trap" and convert to Judaism. But the ever-resourceful Onkelos found a way to communicate with them. He touched the mezuzah as he was being led away. The soldiers were overcome by curiosity, couldn't resist and asked him why he did that. His answer: "When you Romans guard your emperor, you stay outside, and he's all comfy inside. For us Jews it's different. G-d guards us, so he's the one on the outside, protecting us on the inside." What happened? You guessed it, the soldiers converted. They got the message of the mezuzah: "G-d will watch you as you go out and as you come in, forever."



    3. Question:

    I don't have a Mezuzah on the door of my dorm room. Should I? I haven't had a roommate this semester but I am not sure of the university's take on nailing things in to the walls.

    Daniel

    Answer:

    Hi Daniel,

    A dorm student doesn't have to put up a mezuzah. Mezuzahs are the obligation of someone who lives in a place like he owns it. That would also include tenants, who have a kind of temporary ownership. Dormers, on the other hand, have use of their rooms much like they have use of the university library, or classrooms – it's part of the package the university offers. So since your status is something less than a tenant, you don't have to put up a mezuzah.

    If you want to put one up anyway, and the university has no problems with it, more power to you. It's great to be open about your Jewish identity on campus. Just put the mezuzah up without a bracha. If there's any difficulty, though, there's really no need to put one up.



    4. Question:

    Hello, Could you please tell me where and how to affix a car mezuzah? I want to make sure it is done properly.

    Thank you, Sandra Burns

    Answer:

    Hi Sandra,

    You don't need to put a mezuzah on your car. Mezuzot are placed only on structures that serve as a residence. Since a car is for transportation, and not for living in, there's no need for a mezuzah there.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    5. Question:

    My question is not directly related to mezuzot, but about the script itself – I was hoping you could answer my question: why is it that certain letters, both in the Torah and Mezuza, are sometimes written in an "elongated" form? An example of this is the letter "resh" in the Shema of the Mezuza, which in many instances is "stretched out". Is there any particular significance to this? I am doing research on various aspects of the Hebrew script and would greatly appreciate your response,

    Thank you. Eitan

    Answer:

    Hi Eitan,

    Mezuzot should ideally have straight vertical margins on both sides, so that all lines have the same length. (Beginnings and ends of paragraphs will sometimes have space between the text and the margins, based on certain rules which I won't detail here.) Letters are sometimes stretched out in order to reach the margins. There's no other significance for the stretching-out.

    It's important to note that certain letters may be stretched, but others should not. Stretching out a "vav", for example, will invalidate the mezuzah, since a "vav" with a very wide head no longer looks like a "vav". It looks like a resh. An elongated "dalet", on the other other hand, is still ok, since it maintains its identity as a "dalet".

    A good sofer will proportion his letters so that they fit into the margins comfortably, and there is a minimum of stretching and squeezing of letters.

    Eliyahu



    6. Question:

    I am currently a student at a modern orthodox school and am therefore continuously pressed to believe in "rational" and "logical" ways of interpreting miracles and stories in the Torah and other holy texts. I was particularly disturbed when my Jewish history rabbi informed the class that the mezuzah doesn't actually have any real spiritual protective qualities. Rather, the mezuzahs purpose is to merely REMIND us of Gods commandments and our responsibilities towards him. Consequently, we are "protected" due to keeping the mitzvoth that the mezuzahs remind us to do. Is this indeed an orthodox approach?

    Answer:

    Dear friend,

    You're raising a very interesting question. In an answer to another question posted on this site, I mentioned a Talmudic story about the convert Onkolos, in which he stated that the mezuzah protects us. Your question relates to an aspect of this protection – namely, how does it work? When a Jew puts up a mezuzah, what is it that protects him/her?

    Your teacher, who promotes a "rational" reason, seems to be basing himself on the following passage from Maimonides (Mezuzah 6:13):

    "A person should pay heed to the precept of the mezuzah; for it is an obligation perpetually binding upon all. Whenever one enters or leaves a home with the mezuzah on the doorpost, he will be confronted with the declaration of God's unity, blessed by His holy name; and will *remember* the love due to God, and will be *aroused* from his slumbers and his foolish absorption in temporal vanities. He will realize that nothing endures to all eternity save knowledge of the Ruler of the universe. This thought will immediately restore him to his right senses and he will walk in the paths of righteousness."

    Maimonides says that the point of the mitzvah is to change the person who performs it. When you do the mitzvah, you're connecting to G-d, by thinking about the text of the mezuzah (or, one might add, just by doing what G-d commanded). Since G-d is the "protector of Israel", as the morning prayer says, when you connect with Him, you get His protection. So in fact, your teacher's view is a traditional Jewish approach.

    There is a Kabbalistic approach, on the other hand, which might be described as more "mechanical". In this view, the very existence of the mezuzah on the door presses some spiritual "buttons", which causes the house to have extra protection. This seems to be the way you understand the mitzvah, in contrast to your teacher. While I can't claim to understand the details of how this works, it is well founded in Kabbalistic texts. Some people have the custom of checking mezuzahs when misfortune strikes in their lives, in the hope that replacing faulty mezuzahs will provide them with protection from further misfortune. This seems to be based on the Kabbalistic outlook.

    As food for thought, here's a story from the Midrash Bereshit Rabbah. Rabbi Judah the Prince was once sent a precious gem as a gift – but with a request attached: "please send me back something just as precious". Rabbi Judah complied, but in an unexpected way. He sent back a mezuzah. Not surprisingly, the recipient complained, "Hey, what's going on here? I sent you this precious stone worth thousands of dollars, and you send me back this skin worth so much less!" Rabbi Judah replied, "You sent me something that I'll have to guard from robbers. But I sent you something that will guard you even while you're sleeping. It says about the Torah, 'When you sleep, it will protect you (Proverbs 6).'"

    Of course, when you're sleeping you're not being reminded of anything. Sounds like the Kabbalistic view. Or is it? Is this really inconsistent with Maimonides's view? I'll leave it to you to discuss with your teachers and friends.



    7. Question:

    Shalom,

    I have a new baby and I want to put the mezuza on his room door. Which side of the door from outside do I hang the mezuza and what prayer should I use when I hang it, thanks.

    With love & Light, Maya

    Answer:

    Dear Maya,

    When you put up the mezuzah, put it up on the doorpost to the right, as you enter the room. It should be placed on the upper third of the post. So if your door post is 9 feet high, measure 6 feet from the floor, and place the bottom of the mezuzah above that line.

    Many blessings to you and your new baby! May your lives enrich each other with love and joy!

    Eliyahu



    8. Question:

    Baruch Hashem,

    My father is having an operation shortly and I was wondering if a mezuzah would be appropriate to place on the doorpost of his room at the hospital.

    Regards, Howard

    Answer:

    Dear Howard,

    There is not a mitzvah for a patients to put mezuzot on their hospital rooms. The patients are meant to be there only for the duration of their treatment, so their rooms are not considered their residence.

    May your father have a successful operation, and continued good health in the future.



    9. Question:

    Rabbi Yaniger,

    I am not Jewish, I am Catholic. I have been reading about the Mazuzah and the meaning of placing a Mazuzah at one's doorway. Would it be inappropriate or even sacrilegious for a Catholic to place a Mazuzah on his doorway?

    Thank you for your time.

    Manuel
    Pueblo, Colorado

    Answer:

    Dear Manuel,

    Thank you for your question. Your faith has much in common with the Jewish values that the mezuzah expresses – the need to bring G-d's presence into the home, the confidence in His protection. The mezuzah, while expressing these values, has also taken on a new dimension over the generations. It has become a particularly Jewish symbol.

    A Jewish family sees putting a mezuzah on the door as an expression of their Jewish identity. In Israel, where I live, mezuzahs are found on just about every Jewish home, regardless of whether the family observes the Torah's commandments to the fullest, or only nominally. I would think that if you put a mezuzah on your door, it would express not only faith in G-d, which you have, but also Jewish identity, which as a Catholic you do not have.

    Since you find the message of the mezuzah meaningful, and you deserve much admiration for that, I would suggest doing the following: write the text of the mezuzah in English on a beautiful piece of paper or parchment, frame it, and keep it near your door. You will be able to strengthen your faith in G-d in way which authentically expresses your religious identity.

    Eliyahu



    10. Question:

    I recently moved into a new home. In the basement we have a bedroom which acts as a nanny's bedroom. The nanny is not Jewish. Should we affix a mezuzah on the doorway to the nanny's room? Also, what about the furnace/storage room – a large room but we only store things in there?

    Thank you.

    Answer:

    Dear Friend,

    Best of luck in your new home!

    If your nanny's room is her private space, and when you go in, it's only as a guest, then there's no need for a mezuzah. If on the other hand, you sometimes use the room for yourself, you should put up a mezuzah.

    Whether a storage room requires a mezuzah has been the subject of debate for hundreds of years. The common practice now is to put up a mezuzah, but without a blessing.

    Eliyahu



    11. Question:

    In my house there are doors leading from one room to another. Which side is "outside", and where should I place the mezuzah?

    Marshall, Colman, London

    Answer:

    Dear Marshall,

    A mezuzah should be placed on the right side of the doorway as you enter from the outside. Since in your house you have doors leading from one room to another, we need to determine which room is "inside", and which room is "outside". Here are the guidelines, in order of priority:
    1. If one of the the two adjoining rooms is closer to the house's entrance, that room is considered "outside". So you would place the mezuzah on the right, as you enter the inner room. If both rooms are just as close, then:
    2. If the entrance to one of the the two adjoining rooms is more commonly used, that room is considered "outside". If the entrances to both rooms are just as commonly used, then:
    3. If one of the the two adjoining rooms is more "lived in", (example: the second one is used for storage) that room is considered "outside". If both rooms are just as "lived in", then:
    4. If the door swings into one the rooms, that room is considered "inside".
    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    12. Question:

    Hi
    1. We have moved into a new home and our kitchen leads into the dining room/living room on one side and then there is another entrance to the living room from a passage on the other side. Which way does the mezuzah face – into the kitchen from the dining room or into the dining room from the kitchen?
    2. Do we attach a mezuzah to an opening (2 metres wide) into a playroom that doesn't have a door frame?
    3. Our garage leads into our house via a door and then passage. Do we need a mezuzah on that door post as well?
    Regards
    Leigh
    (Sydney Australia)

    Answer:

    Dear Leigh,
    1. Take a look at the guidelines I wrote in my answer to Marshall (previous question). Based on those guidelines, and your knowledge of your home's layout and use, you should be able to determine on which side to put the mezuzahs in your dining room.
    2. About the opening to your playroom: If a doorway has a frame, namely two doorposts and a lintel (the bar that goes across the top, and joins the doorposts), it qualifies for a mezuzah. That frame does not have to be a seperate unit, such as one made of wood or metal. Even if no wood or metal frame was attached to the walls, the walls themselves qualify as a doorframe, as long as they have the shape of a doorway. So the two walls which create the opening do qualify for a mezuzah. One proviso, though. There must be a "lintel" – that is, the ceiling must be lower in the doorway space than in the rest of the adjoining rooms. If your opening is just two walls that go to the ceiling, with no lintel, you don't put up a mezuzah.
    3. About your garage: If the passage is a small one, less than 4 square "cubits" (36 square feet), you don't need to put up a mezuzah, according to most views. If it's bigger, you should put one up.
    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    13. Question:

    Why is the Mezuzah placed at an angle on the door post?

    Answer:

    It's actually a compromise between two views about how the mezuzah is supposed to be placed. The Talmud talks about how a mezuzah is placed, but there are two explanations of what the text means. One view has the mezuzah standing vertically, the other has it lying horizontally. So, for inclusiveness, the custom has arisen to put it at a slant, which is vertical enough for one view and horizontal enough for the other.

    It's interesting to note that not all Jewish communities follow this practice. The Sephardic communities, whose origins are in the Middle East, follow the view that the mezuzah should be placed vertically. This is a very common sight in Israel. However, in those communities where the majority of Jews are of European origin, such as in the United States, most houses will have their mezuzot at a slant.

    What's the theory behind putting it up vertically? Torah scrolls are kept vertically in the ark in synagogues, perhaps because the Torah is meant to make us all that we can be, truly alive. Standing is the position of activity and strength. Since the mezuzah is meant to represent a miniature Torah that we see whenever we go through our doorways, it should stand up, just like the living Torah does.

    Curiously, the same miniature-Torah image leads others to the opposite conclusion, namely that the mezuzah should lie flat. After all, Jewish law requires one to stand when a Torah scroll passes by. When the scroll reaches its place on the table, and lies flat, the congregation sits. Following the analogy, if we keep the mezuzah vertical in our houses, it would be like having a standing Torah scroll in our houses – and we'd never be able to sit down! So the mezuzah should lie flat.

    In practice, though, you will find that mezuzot are placed either vertically or at a slant, not horizontally.



    14. Question:

    I am a Presbyterian with a Sunday school class of about 50 children in grades K–7. Last week we introduced mezuzahs and the Shema to the children.

    Looking at mezuzahs available for purchase, I notice that all of them appear to have a 3-pronged flame or perhaps it's a letter (or word) somewhere in the design of the box. Would you please tell me what this is and its significance?

    Why do the mezuzahs for children not always have this?

    Do all the boxes seal shut or is there an opening at the top?

    Also, my understanding has been that the mezuzah was just the box that holds the scroll; reading your information, do I now understand that the mezuzah is the two together (with the scroll referred to as the mezuzot?)

    Sincerely,

    Tracy Lees-Grant

    Answer:

    Dear Tracy,

    I'll start with your last question: what is the mezuzah? The mezuzah is the scroll with the biblical text. While the Talmud refers to enclosing the mezuzah scroll in a tube, in order to fix the scroll to the wall and to protect it from damage, Jewish law does not see this as an essential part of the mezuzah. The definition of the mezuzah is the scroll itself, and nothing more. The box can either seal shut or be open.

    To go back to your first question: The 3-pronged flame that you're referring to is the Hebrew letter "shin". This is the first letter of one of the Hebrew names of G-d: "Sha-dai". Based on a Jewish mystical source, it has become customary for scribes to write this divine name on the back of the parchment. After the parchment is rolled up, the name "Sha-dai" is on the outside, visible to the passer-by. This seems to be in the spirit of what the mezuzah is meant to achieve: an awareness of G-d's presence as we go in and out. Seeing G-d's name on the mezuzah can certainly strengthen that awareness.

    Mezuzahs are the same for both adults and children.

    May your educational efforts be blessed, so that your students develop into righteous people, doing the will of G-d.

    Eliyahu



    15. Question:

    What is the reason for placing the mezuzah in the top third of the doorpost?

    Thank you.
    E.P.

    Answer:

    Dear E.P.,

    There are a number of similarities between the mitzvah of tefillin and the mitzvah of mezuzah. They are both meant to be symbols of the Torah as a whole, one a symbol worn on the body, the other a symbol put at the home's entrance. In fact the two Biblical chapters that comprise the text of the mezuzah are among the texts written in tefillin. One opinion in the Talmud therefore says that the mezuzah should be placed high on the doorpost, just as tefillin are worn high on the body, on the head. How high is "high"? The upper third.

    Symbolically, this may be understood as a statement about our relationship with G-d. The mezuzah is right across from our head , the location of our brain, seat of the spirit – the part of us which is qualitatively different from animals. That difference is the meaning of "the image of G-d" in which Adam and Eve were created. By placing the mezuzah across from our head, symbol of our unique spirituality, we are saying that our spiritual quality as humans is actually a ray of G-d's light shining through us. The mezuzah contains G-d's words, and in a way, we are also G-d's words. The "higher" part of us, the head, faces the higher part of the doorpost, containing words from G-d on high. All this can lead us to a higher consciousness.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    16. Question:

    Does a new home require a new Mezuzah or can current ones be removed from the old home and be reinstalled on the new.

    Thanks,
    Simcha

    Answer:

    Dear Simcha,

    Old mezuzahs may be reinstalled on a new home. It is important to note, however, that if a Jewish person will be moving into the old home, the accepted view is that one should leave the mezuzahs (or replacement mezuzahs) on the old home. In this case, one may ask for payment for the mezuzahs left behind.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    17. Question:

    I wanted to know the reasoning or rational of not removing a mezuzah when moving from one home to another and asking a fellow Jew not to do the same? If a fellow Jew does remove the mezuzah does it necessarily mean that you have bad luck? Is there a significance to this action? If not than what is the rational of leaving the mezuzah and asking the fellow tenant or home owner not to remove theirs until you are present to replace yours?

    I would appreciate a rational and not necessarily a torah or Talmudic answer to this question. Thank you for your time.

    Best regards,
    Mona

    Answer:

    Dear Mona,

    Thanks for your question. I've written much in this column about how a mezuzah can change the person who puts it up. Your question touches on another aspect of the mezuzah – how it changes the home. Before, it was just a building, made of stone, wood, and other materials. However, when the resident puts up the mezuzah, the home is transformed. With the mezuzah, it's now become an instrument of serving G-d. Thus when a person puts a mezuzah on a home, the home is getting a kind of "promotion". This is a positive contribution to the world, a way of taking a trivial physical object, and giving it spiritual meaning.

    Taking the mezuzah down would thus be a kind of "demotion" of the house. Why would we want to do that? If we've turned the home into something great, why let it lapse into its old trivial existence? I understand the practice of leaving a mezuzah as an important moral statement: "I'm not going to undo the good that I've done in the world. When I leave my positive mark on the world, I want that mark to be permanent." This is not a question of luck, but a desire to make a lasting difference for the better.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    18. Question:

    I am moving from an apartment to a house. The house has a screen door. Then a regular wooden door. Should the mezuzah be placed between the two doors? on the outside of the house? or on the inside of the house before the screen door? After the wooden door there is a small alcove with an archway, can the mezuzah be placed there or should there be a second one there? The alcove has a clothes closet from the door to the archway.

    Thanks for your guidance.
    Dave

    Answer:

    Dear Dave,

    (a) Regarding the archway:
    The archway should have a mezuzah, since it leads into a main room of the home.

    (b) Regarding the main entrance:
    It's preferable to place the outer mezuzah between the two doors than to put it on the outside of the home.

    (c) Regarding the closet:
    If the closet is a small one, less than 4 square "cubits" (36 square feet), you don't need to put up a mezuzah. If it's bigger, you should put one up.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    19. Question:

    Dear Rabbi:

    (1) There is a door from our main hallway to the garage (which is of course connected to the house). We don't park a car in the garage – we use it for storage – and we access the garage 99% of the time from this door (as oppossed to the large exterior garage door – thus we generally never enter the house from the outside via the garage). Does the mezuzah between the house and the garage go on the right side entering the garage or the right side entering the house hallway?

    (2) If we use our attic for storage and it's accessible via stairs that come down from the ceiling, does that entrance need a mezuzah?

    (3) Do a laundry rooms need a mezuzah?

    (4) Utility room?

    Thank you and kind regards

    Answer:

    Dear Friend,

    (1) In your home, you go through the hallway to get from the main entrance to the garage. So your mezuzah should go on the right side as you enter the garage from the hallway.

    (2) You only need a mezuzah for an attic with a doorway if the ceiling stays open and the stairs are there all the time. If you set up the stairs only when necessary, or there's no doorway, there's no need for a mezuzah.

    (3) A laundry room does not need a mezuzah.

    (4) A utility room should have a mezuzah.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    20. Question:

    Dear Rav Yaniger,

    Do we paskin at all like the Rambam who maintains that a doorway without a door does not require a mezuzah?

    Thank you again

    Answer:

    Dear Friend,

    The Beit Yosef/Shulchan Aruch follows the view of the Raavad, the Rosh, and others who say that a doorway without a door does require a mezuzah. This is the accepted ruling.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    21. Question:

    What prayers does a jewish man say when he hangs a mezuzah on a new home he has just purchased?

    Thank you

    Answer:

    Dear Friend,

    One should say the usual blessing on hanging a mezuzah, as well as the blessing "shehechayanu" for the joyous occasion of moving in to the new home. Though this is the basic requirement, customs for home dedication have developed over the years.

    The Sefardic scholar "Chida" instituted a custom of studying three sections of the mishnah, "Beitzah", "Yom Tov", and "Tamid", whose initials spell the Hebrew word "Bayit", or "home". Chida's service also includes sections from the Talmud, Zohar, and Maimonides.

    If one is living in Israel, and has a festive meal at this occasion, the Ashkenazic scholar Magen Avraham gives it the status of "seudat mitzvah". However, the basic requirement is only to say the two blessings that I mentioned before.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    22. Question:

    Can I put a mezuzah up at the entrance of my cubicle at work?

    Anne

    Answer:

    Dear Anne,

    Whether you are *required* to put up a mezuzah depends on who owns the office, and what the doorway is like.

    If you do not own the place where you work, you don't need a mezuzah there. If you do own it, and your cubicle has two side posts and a lintel (a horizontal beam across the top connecting the two side posts), you should put up a mezuzah without a blessing.

    I understand from your question that you are interested in putting up a mezuzah even without the requirement, though. If that is the case, and you wish to be inspired or to show your Jewish pride by putting up the mezuzah, more power to you! However, don't say the blessing when you put it up.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    23. Question:

    We recently installed an exterior door which has a metal exterior frame and a wooden interior frame. I have two questions:

    (1) Is it appropriate to glue the mezuzah to the exterior metal frame since we cannot nail it?

    (2) If not, is it acceptable to fasten it to the interior wood frame?

    Many thanks for your reply.
    Betsy

    Answer:

    Dear Betsy,

    Gluing the mezuzah is just as good as nailing it.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    24. Question:

    I have a fence around my property. It is entirely outside. The entrance has an actual doorway (wrought iron) with a real door frame. When you use the gate (door) you are merely going from the street to the yard, you are still 50 feet from the building. Does such an outside door require a mezuzah?

    Answer:

    The gate to the yard requires a mezuzah.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu

     


    25. Question: In the case where a Jew shares a residence with a non-Jew (in joint tenancy), does a mezuzah belong on the doorpost?

    Francine

    Answer:

    Francine:

    There are different opinions about this question, so I would suggest putting up the mezuzah but not saying the blessing.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    26. Question:

    (1) In question 11 you noted that the first order of priority is the proximity to the house's entrance. Does this refer strictly to the front entrance? I have a doorway that leads from a dining room to a dinette that is in the rear of the house. The dinette has a sliding door which leads to an outdoor deck. This is primary exit from the house to the backyard.

    (2) As noted above the door to the outdoor deck in the back of the house is a sliding door. The door consists of two panes of glass, one which slides and the other which is permanent. When facing the house from the outside, the pane that slides is on the left. Normally I would put the mezuzah on the right hand side, however, in this instance the right hand doorpost would be nowhere near the actual entryway. I could try to attach the mezuzah to the side of the fixed pane of glass. Any suggestions?

    (3) Does a door leading to the basement or attic staircase need a mezuzah?

    Thank you for your help.
    Dovid

    Answer:

    Dear Dovid,

    (1) Re: the entrance to the backyard.
    The entrance from the backyard is also considered the house's "entrance" regarding this issue.

    (2) Re: the sliding door.
    Your idea is correct: attach the mezuzah to the side of the fixed door.

    (3) Re: door leading to attic or basement staircase.
    Yes, they do require mezuzot.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    27. Question:

    My 2½ year old daughter really smiles when she sees me kiss a mezuzah before entering the doorway. In fact, she requires me to pick her up so she can kiss it too!

    Because of this, I was wondering if it would be inappropriate to affix the mezuzah of her room much lower on the doorway so she can kiss it herself.

    Thanks!
    Lee

    Answer:

    Dear Lee,

    Your daughter sounds adorable, and spiritually precocious, too! Elsewhere in this column, I've discussed the reason for keeping the mezuzah in the upper portion of the doorway. That discussion would apply here as well, and lowering the mezuzah would not be a good idea. However, you might consider making a small frame, fit for a 2½ girl to walk through, and put it near the room's entrance. On the frame, you could put a small, inexpensive, mezuzah-like toy, and that could be "her" mezuzah, that she and nobody else uses.

    May you have much joy from your daughter,
    Eliyahu



    28. Question:

    Is it permitted for a gentile to make a mezuzah case for Jewish friends?

    I'm taking a jewelry smithing class, and my teacher showed us some beautiful mezuzah cases she made for a gallery. Some Jewish friends of mine are moving to a new home, and a mezuzah case would make a lovely house warming gift. I was inspired and designed a pretty mezuzah case with a shin and a twined leafy vine. I understand the actual mezuzah scroll is a sacred thing that must be made in a proscribed manner, but not the case. Would it be OK to make a mezuzah case and give the empty case to my friends and let them get a proper mezuzah to put in it?

    Answer:

    Dear Karen,

    Yes, it's permitted for a Jew to use a mezuzah case made by non-Jews. It's preferable to avoid putting the divine name on the case, but since you're planning to put on just the letter shin, that's not a problem. May your creative gifts continue to bring joy to others.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    29. Question:

    I have an outdoor wooden fence and gate. The gatepost on the right, where the gate opens, is flush with the gate in the front, and there is no room between the gate and the post to put a mezuzah. Am I allowed to put it on the wooden fence just to the right of the gate? Or do I put it on the left gatepost, even thought that's where the hinges are?

    -- Or-Li

    Answer:

    Dear Or-Li,

    You should put the mezuzah on the wooden fence just to the right of the gate.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    30. Question:

    Dear Rabbi Yaniger,

    I'm wondering why some people have the custom of giving a mezuzah as a gift without a klaf, when I always learned that if you give a mezuzah, you must give a klaf along with it. Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Jessica

    Answer:

    Dear Jessica,

    You are correct that giving a mezuzah case without the scroll inside is not a complete package. In fact many people don't even realize that the case is supposed to have a scroll inside. This is why it is preferable under most circumstances to give the "whole package", both case and mezuzah. However, sometimes the recipients will prefer to choose the scroll themselves. Other times, the giver does not feel qualified to choose a quality mezuzah scroll for the recipient, or the giver may not be able to afford the scroll. These are situations under which it would be preferable to give the case without the scroll. There is no hard and fast rule here. The guidelines to consider are how the recipients may best perform the mitzvah, and what they would want to receive.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    31. Question:

    Can a mezuzah be placed a few feet inside the door?

    I have always had a mezuzah on my door. Now I am trying to put up another mezuzah on the entrance to my townhouse since the last was taken off and destroyed by someone unknown. I wonder if they realized what they stole! Our townhouses are closely attached here and I am wondering if it is a good idea to put it on the inside instead.

    Entering my door the hinges are on the right therefore the inside right door beam is too awkward. Would it be halachic for it to be placed on the next first inside beam which is only four feet from the door and a little to the right? I know the left side is not halachic.

    Thank you for your response on this as I wish to put up the mezuzah right away.

    Shalom and Toda Rabah,
    Cher

    Answer:

    Dear Cher,

    I'm sorry to hear that your mezuzah was taken off. See if you can find a way to affix the mezuzah so that it would be more difficult for them to remove it. It would also be a good idea to use a simple mezuzah which would be less attractive to thieves. (Maybe you've already done that.)

    If this can't be done, try to put it elsewhere on the right door beam, within the entry space. You mention that hinges prevent you from putting it on the right within the entry space, so we have to consider another alternative.

    The next option is to put it on the right door post, but not in the entry space. This would be on the side of the same post within the house, a 90-degree right turn from where you would ordinarily put the mezuzah. However, you should not say the blessing if you put the mezuzah there.

    You referred to an inside beam four feet from the door. If this beam is part of another doorway, it should have a mezuzah as well, in addition to the one on the outside. All doorways in the home require a mezuzah, not just the entrance from outside. Elsewhere on this page, you can see what constitues a doorway that requires a mezuzah. Search for "Leigh", and check out the second paragraph of my answer.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    32. Question:

    I know the Hebrew 'Kozo bemuksaz Kozo' written on the back of the mezuzah scroll is code for 'Adonai Eloheinu Adonai'. Where did the custom of putting this code on the back of the scroll originate?

    Thank you.
    Gary

    Answer:

    Dear Gary,

    The earliest written source I know of which records the custom is the Machzor Vitry, written by a student of Rashi (11th century). It is quoted by several later commentators as a custom of the French, German, or sometimes Austrian communities.

    As you mentioned, the words themselves are a kind of code for divine names. If you take each of the letters in the divine names you mentioned and substitute the following letter in the Hebrew alphabet, you get 'Kozo bemuksaz Kozo'.

    The phrase itself appears in the Zohar, without connection to mezuzah. It also appears in the Perush Haraavad to Sefer Yetzira. He writes that the "kozo" phrase, which is created by jumping one letter to the left, refers to G-d's "left side", namely the divine quality of justice, as opposed to the divine quality of mercy.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    33. Question:

    Shalom, Rabbi, and thanks for putting up that useful info webpage about mezuzot. I have a question which is related to a couple answers you've posted, but my situation is not quite the same as the dormitory arrangement. I hope you can help.

    I am a Jewish student and live in "shared housing," where I rent one room in a house that includes several other residents. We each have our own rooms with numbers and individual locks on the doors, but it's one house with one mailbox. (We share the kitchen and bathrooms.) The landlord is not Jewish and neither are the other tenants. I would like to put a mezuzah on the door of my room, since the room is my official residence, but I am wondering whether I need to say the bracha or not since I don't own the whole building.

    Much thanks for your help,
    Elizabeth

    Answer:

    Dear Elizabeth,

    It seems that the only difference between your housing arrangement and a dorm is that each student has a private room with a key. If this is the only difference, you should not say a bracha when putting up your mezuzah.

    Please note that this answer is for university housing, not for regular rental. A tenant who is not dorming would say the bracha, even if she does not own the whole building. Check out my answer to Daniel's question on this page for more details.

    Best wishes for success in your studies,
    Eliyahu



    34. Question:

    In question 11, you discuss how to determine inside vs. outside with respect to interior rooms. I have a door to my basement from my family room. The family room meets all of the first 3 criteria for being outside and entering into the basement, which would mean affixing the mezuzah to the right side of the door when in the family room. However, the door swings into the family room, so the door is flush with the family room wall, and there is no inner post on which to affix the mezuzah on the right side. Would I then affix the mezuzah to the outer post that is flush with the door and have the mezuzah tilted toward the door? If not, where/how should I affix it?

    Thank you so much!
    Iris

    Answer:

    Dear Iris,

    Your suggestion is correct. Affix the mezuzah to the outer post that is flush with the door and have the mezuzah tilted toward the door.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    35. Question:

    Hello Rabbi,

    I have a 2½ year old son who loves for me to lift him up so that he can kiss the mezuzah on his doorway. He has a Jewish holidays puzzle with a mezuzah piece that he holds up to the door and kisses as well.

    My question is this: My son has a small outdoor play house in the back yard. I would like to help him hang a toy mezuzah on the doorpost. Would it be all right to use a mezuzah cover without the scroll in it? Would it be better to use a "pretend" case (a small piece of wood or some such thing), rather than a real case that is intended to hold a scroll?

    A sheynem dank,
    Jacob

    Answer:

    Dear Jake,

    There's no problem using a real case. It's preferable to use one that doesn't has the full name of G-d written on it. Most cases though have just the letter "shin", or no letters at all, so they are ok.

    May you and your son continue to have joy from mitzvot,
    Eliyahu



    36. Question:

    Hi, I am moving from an apartment in a large high-rise building in Manhattan to a home upstate with my fiance. I have no idea who will end up renting the apartment and will have no way to contact the new tenants once I move out.

    The mezuzah I had hanging up was a gift for my conversion from my soon to be mother-law and is very special to me. I would like to hang it in my new home. Is it ok for me to take the mezuzah with me? Please advise.

    Thanks so Much!,
    Keren

    Answer:

    Dear Keren,

    Unless your building is owned exclusively by Jews, you can and should take all mezuzot with you.

    If it's owned exclusively by Jews, you should leave the mezuzot. However, since the mezuzah that you have up now has special value to you, you can buy another mezuzah as a replacement. Shortly before you leave, take down the special mezuzah, put up the purchased mezuzah instead, and you're set.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    37. Question:

    I know the law for checking mezzuzahs on a home, but what about shuls, community centres? How often should they be checked?

    Answer:

    Though mezuzahs in homes should be checked once every three and a half years, mezuzahs in public buildings should be checked only once every 25 years. Rashi on the Talmud says that if the required checking would be more frequent, nobody would want to take the responsibilty, and everyone would pass the buck to someone else.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    38. Question:

    In question 4, you write: "You don't need to put a mezuzah on your car."

    What if it is a camper? a trailer? What if one has to sleep in the car (because of no home & for quite a while)?

    Answer:

    Car: A car does not need a mezuzah even if you have to sleep in it.

    Trailer: These structures are not designed purely for travel, but are more and more designed as permanent homes.

    So if a trailer is your permanent home, and not used for a temporary getaway, you should put one up.

    If you are making your home in a trailer for a couple of months, it's not clear whether a mezuzah is needed. So put one up without a blessing.

    Camper: A camper like a Winnebago, which is clearly designed for travel, does not require a mezuzah. If you choose to make this your permanent home, put up the mezuzah without a bracha.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    39. Question:

    Recently, I noticed that a neighbour's mezuzah had been hanging in the wrong direction. To my surprise she was unaware of the problem. (Even though, I am not an Orthodox Jew, I try to create a Jewish environment in my home.) She commented that no-one had ever mentioned this to her.

    I would like to give her one of my mezuzahs (I have a few extras). My question is: Can I give her one of my Kosher mezuzahs which I had used only for a few months (they had been purchased at Chabad)? Or do I purchase a new one for her?

    Thank you,
    Just wanting to help a neighbour.

    Answer:

    Dear "Just wanting",

    If you want to give your neighbor a mezuzah as a gift, you can either buy her a new one, or give her yours and put up a replacement. If you give her yours, you should have the replacement ready to put up as soon as you take down the old one.

    But do you really have to get a new one? From your question, it seems that the only problem is that it's hanging in the wrong direction (upside down or sideways). That can be fixed by taking it down, turning it right side up, and putting it back up, without having to buy a new mezuzah. I'd suggest having the old mezuzah checked before you lay out money for a new one.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    40. Question:

    What does it mean when you wear a mezuzah around your neck? Is there any special prayer or instructions when wearing a mezuzah?

    Thank you
    Leslie, Tennessee, United States

    Answer:

    Dear Leslie,

    Some people like to wear a mezuzah around the neck to show their Jewishness or as a charm, but the practice doesn't have any basis in Jewish religious sources. So naturally there aren't any rules about how do it.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    41. Question:

    Rabbi,

    I have a bedroom door with hinges on the right and it opens outward, so my option is to affix the mezuzah to the door frame, making it behind the door and impossible to kiss when opening the door (not to mention it is completely hidden when the door is left open) or to affix it on the left side, which I know is incorrect but that way it is always visible. Which is better?

    Thanks,
    S.K.

    Answer:

    Dear S.K.,

    The first option is better. The mezuzah should be on the outside part the door frame, and not on the left.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    42. Question:

    I have some friends who are moving back to Israel. Every room in their house has a Mezuzah. Each of their 4 children's rooms have one on the door and each is unique. I am saddened that they think they are supposed to leave those mezuzahs on the doors when they move. A Rabbi told them that until "the house officially sells" they should remain.

    I disagree. First of all, it could be months before this happens and there is no guarantee whoever buys the house will care to return the mezuzahs. Second of all, there is very little chance the person who buys the house will be Jewish because statistically speaking this city is maybe 10% Jewish. Thirdly, even if Jews buy the house, there is no guarantee they will leave THOSE mezuzahs up – either they would have their own, if they are observant, or they would not leave them up because they obviously belong to someone else!

    I am very concerned about this. Mezuzahs have meaning to the PEOPLE, and the "house" is a "home" to those people… the next people can add their own touches and memories.

    Sincerely,
    Sara, Dallas, Texas

    Answer:

    Dear Sara,

    When I write "mezuzah" in this answer, I'm referring only to the parchment scroll, not the decorative case that holds it. There is no requirement at all to leave behind a mezuzah *case*, under any circumstances. The only issue is with the scrolls.

    Now, regarding the scrolls:

    Since it is likely that non-Jews will be living in the house, the Jewish owners should take the mezuzot with them. They do not have to wait until the house officially sells.

    If it turns out that they find a Jewish buyer before they leave, they can still take with them the mezuzot (scrolls, remember) with sentimental value, and replace them with other mezuzot.

    If your friends have reason to believe that the Jewish buyer will not treat the mezuzot with respect, they should take the mezuzot with them.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    43. Question:

    After a recent move, my wife picked up the bag into which she had placed our mezuzot, and they fell out a hole in the bottom of the bag onto the floor. Some of the klafs touched the floor themselves, while others remained in their cases. We quickly picked them up and kissed them. But is there any action that needs to be taken (e.g. fasting, giving tzedaka, etc.)?

    Thanks
    H., Bronx, NY

    Answer:

    Dear H.,

    There is no obligation to fast or give tzedakah. Some rabbis recommend giving tzedakah anyway, but there's no obligation.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    44. Question:

    I have a Mezuzah that is too wide to fit on the inner doorpost when the door is closed. Also, I cannot make a cutout in the doorpost to fit the Mezuzah. Would it be proper to put the Mezuzah on the outside of the doorpost thus facing the person as they enter the room?

    Answer:

    Yes, it would it be proper to put the Mezuzah on the outside of the doorpost.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    45. Question:

    The entrance to my house is through an elevator. Do I hang the mezuzah on the right side in the inside of the elevator or on the doorway so one faces it as one leaves the house? Should the mezuzah be hung at an angle?

    Answer:

    There are different views about whether elevators need a mezuzah, and if so, where to put the mezuzah. It seems that the most common practice is not to put up a mezuzah.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    46. Question:

    Greetings Eliyahu, you have a super web site. I enjoyed my visit. However, with respect, I'm wondering why any person who lives in God's presence would need the distraction of a piece of paper with Hebrew writing in a plastic container? To use any symbol as a substitute for the spirit of God does no justice to people seeking truth.

    In Love & Joy,
    Michael

    Answer:

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for your question. I absolutely agree that any person who lives in G-d's presence should not be distracted by symbols. I would add that they should be focused and moved by symbols. This is precisely what the mezuzah (and other religious symbols) are for.

    Have your family or friends ever given you a birthday cake? Why did they do it? After all, they live in your presence, so what's the point of being distracted by baking a cake and setting up candles? The answer is obvious. Your friends want to express their love for you.

    When they made a cake, that flour and sugar wasn't a distraction. It was a way to express their appreciation of your presence and how much it means to them. The cake doesn't make them think about you less, but more. And how did you feel when you got the cake? Was it the same as if you went out to the bakery and bought a cake yourself? It probably meant much more. The reason it means so much to you is because it's the symbol in which your friends' love is focused.

    It's a fact of life – symbols are one of the most moving ways we can express ourselves. If it wasn't true, birthday cakes would have gone out of fashion long ago (not to mention national flags, every form of art, baseball uniforms, and on and on…). When we turn to G-d, symbols are powerful ways to connect to G-d's presence.

    G-d doesn't eat cakes or blow out candles, so He gave us a different way to celebrate His presence in our homes – by telling us to put up a mezuzah. We see it every time we go in and out of a room, and remember that we're loved and protected. It's not a distraction, but a reminder. The mezuzah reminds us to love and be loved – which is, after all, the point of life.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    47. Question:

    I'm wondering if you can help. My husband I just purchased a new home. The previous owners of our new home left their mezuzahs in the home, which I understand is customary. However, the previous owners seemed to actively neglect the home and yard. We don't want their legacy in our home. The way we see it is, we want to love this home and want to make it our own. We want to turn the home into something great. Wouldn't new mezuzahs represent new life for this terribly neglected home?

    Regards,
    New Home Owners who Want to do the Right Thing

    Answer:

    Dear New Owners,

    If you wish to switch the mezuzot in your home, there is no problem at all. The previous owners had an obligation to leave you their mezuzot, but you have no obligation to use them. The only requirement is that kosher mezuzot should be there, but they do not have to be the ones that came with the house. If you switch the mezuzot, though, the old ones should be treated with respect. So don't just throw them away, but they should be buried. Most synagogues have a place to put used holy objects, from which they are transported for burial.

    Much happiness in your new home,
    Eliyahu

    48. Question:

    Shalom. We just moved and our kids are now sharing a room. They used to have their own rooms with their own Mezuzahs on the doors. Is there any religious reason that we cannot put both of their Mezuzahs on the same door?

    Dan in Southern California

    Answer:

    Dear Dan,

    There is a problem with having two mezuzot on one door. The Talmud disapproves of saying the "Shema" prayer twice, since it gives the impression of the existence of two deities. If you put up two mezuzot (which contain the text of the "Shema") on one doorway, you've got the same problem.

    I'm impressed with your kids' enthusiasm for the mitzvah of mezuzah. Hopefully, they will be able to work out a different solution.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    49. Question:

    Shalom,

    We have several outside gates to the yards surrounding our house. These are all chain link gates and the fences are not fancy, chain link put up with metal T posts on one area, two other areas have chain link gates fastened to round wooden posts, there is also a chain link gate across the porch separating the porch from the yard. Do these require mezuah? If so how do you recommend fastening since they would need to be fastened to chainlink, metal T post or round wooden post.

    Thank you so much for your help.

    Answer:

    A mezuzah is needed only if there is also a crossbeam above you as you enter. If your chain-link fences are like others that I've seen, the gate that swings open doesn't have anything above it. In that case, there is no need for a mezuzah.

    If you do have a crossbeam above, a mezuzah should be put up.

    To attach a mezuzah to a metal post, you could try a strong glue or screws. This will work even if the post is round, since the mezuzah doesn't have to lie flush against the surface.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    50. Question:

    Hi,

    I bought a house from a great couple who had a Mezuzah posted on many of the doors. As they moved out, they did not remove these, and I enjoy their presence. I'm a gentile, and they knew this, so I haven't felt bad about leaving them where they are. As time goes on though, I'm always a bit worried that a guest might be offended, without understanding the circumstances.

    As a person of the Jewish faith, and of Jewish identity, would you consider it offensive to see these on my door if you arrived as a guest? Would it be considered strange?

    Thanks,
    Stephen

    Answer:

    Dear Stephen,

    Thanks for your question and concern. You mentioned that keeping the mezuzot on your doorways might seem disconnected, somewhat like a cross on the home of an atheist. I share those feelings, since the commandment of mezuzah is very much bound up with Jewish identity. It would be an act of great generosity to give the mezuzot to a local Jewish charity that would be able to provide them to Jews who may not be able to afford mezuzot. For a non-Jew like yourself, for whom the Jewish Torah is not binding, I think that this would provide your home with an even greater "spiritual upgrade" than keeping the mezuzot.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    51. Question:

    Is a certain time of the day preferable to put up mezuzah (morning, afternoon or night)? Also does it matter who puts up the mezuzah – husband or wife?

    Thank you.
    I.F., Brooklyn, NY

    Answer:

    Either husband of wife can put up the mezuzah. Day or night does not matter, either.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    52. Question:

    I am living in what used to be my father's house (he passed away about 3 years ago). To the best of my knowledge, our Mezuzot have never been checked. Who do I contact to get them checked? I would assume that I would go to the Rabbi, but I want to make sure that I do it correctly.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance with this matter.

    Paul, Savannah, GA

    Answer:

    Dear Paul,

    Being qualified to check mezuzot requires special training and certification. This certification is given only to someone who has a thorough knowledge of the traditional laws, as well as a commitment to abide by those laws. Most rabbis don't have this specialized training, but they may be able to direct you to someone who does.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    53. Question:

    Rabbi Yaniger,

    Several years ago my father placed a Mezuzah on the door post of my bedroom. At the time, he was unaware that a Mezuzah must be placed on the right side of the door, and placed it on the left. Now that I am aware that a Mezuzah must be placed on the right side of the door post am I allowed to remove the Mezuzah from the left side and re-affix it to the right side of the door, and if so, is there a blessing I must make when detaching it?

    Many thanks,
    Bryan

    Answer:

    Dear Bryan,

    Yes, you should remove the mezuzah from the left side and re-affix it to the right side of the door. You don't say the blessing when you remove the mezuzah, but when you re-affix it on the right. You can find the text of the blessing on this page, at paragraph 3.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    54. Question:

    Hi, we are moving out of a rented apt (bottom floor of a two story home) into a house. The apt we are renting is owned by Jews and I believe Jews are moving in. Do we have to leave the Mezuzot even if we are renting?

    Bracha
    Brooklyn NY

    Answer:

    Dear Bracha,

    If the apartment is owned by non-Jews, you don't have to leave the mezuzot, even if Jews are moving in.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    55. Question:

    I am a Christian male dating a Jewish female. Two years ago she moved into a new house with her husband. Before they hung a mezuzah, he passed away. I would like to give her a mezuzah as a symbol of my acceptance of her faith, but don't know if that is acceptable (coming from a Christian), or appropriate (since the house is still perceived as belonging to her deceased husband). If it is okay for me to give the gift to her, are there any gifting customs of which I should be aware? Would it be appropriate for me to hang it or must that be done by a Jew? Is gifting a mezuzah during the upcoming September holidays appropriate?

    Thanks for any thoughts you may have.

    Answer:

    Dear friend,

    My condolences to your friend on the loss of her husband. May she have no further sorrow.

    Your message has a number of aspects, so I'll address them first from a narrow legal perspective, and then in a broader way.

    There is nothing in Jewish law which prohibits a non-Jew from buying a kosher mezuzah and giving it as a gift to a Jewish person.

    There are no special gifting customs when giving a mezuzah, nor is any special time of the year better than any other time.

    The mezuzah should be hung by a Jew.

    From a broader perspective, though, I think that I should add something else. You wish to express acceptance of your friend's faith by giving her a mezuzah. But there is a certain tension here, since in the Jewish tradition a non-Jew dating a Jew is problematic unless the non-Jew intends to convert to Judaism. It is beyond the scope of my column to say more on the subject of Jewish/Christian relationships. However, I imagine that your sensitivity will enable you and your friend to develop your relationship in a way that help you live happily and in holiness.

    Eliyahu



    56. Question:

    What is the proper brocha for putting up a mazuzah and is a sheh-hechianu in order?

    Thank you,
    Scott

    Answer:

    Dear Scott,

    You can find the bracha for mezuzah on this web site here.

    The bracha "shehechayanu" is recited for a mitzvah that occurs periodically. Since mezuzah is not associated with a certain time, it does not entail saying "shehechaynu".

    Nevertheless, it has become customary for people to say "shehechayanu" when putting up mezuzot on a new home. This is because "shehechayanu" is also said as an expression of gratitude on joyous occasions. "Shehecheyanu" is said not so much because of the mitzvah of mezuzah, but because of the exciting event of moving in.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    57. Question:

    Do I put a mezuzah on each doorway of the house?

    Thanks,
    Deborah

    Answer:

    Dear Deborah,

    Many people mistakenly believe halachah requires a mezuzah on the front entrance and nowhere else. This is not true. Mezuzahs should be placed on all rooms in the home. Exceptions, though, are laundry rooms and bathrooms, which are used for primarily for "undignified" purposes.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    58. Question:

    On which side of the doorway leading into the garden should a mezuzah be fixed (doors open from inside the house into the garden, not really possible to open them from the garden side, and not really possible to enter the garden other than from the house) – on the garden side or in the house on the right hand side?

    Many thanks
    Polina

    Answer:

    Dear Polina,

    There are two views about which side to put the mezuzah on.

    Here's the logic:
    The rule is that you put a mezuzah on the right, as you enter a room. Is an enclosed yard as a kind of "room"?

    Opinion 1: An enclosed yard is like a room. So the mezuzah would go on the right as you enter the yard.

    Opinion 2: An enclosed yard is not like a room, so it doesn't require a mezuzah. However, the room which leads to the yard does require one. So you would put the mezuzah on the right as you enter that "inside" room. In other words, it would go on the left as you enter the yard.

    Conclusion: You can put it on either side.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    59. Question:

    Hello. What is the correct way to kiss a mezuzah? Touch the mezuzah and kiss my fingertips or kiss my fingertips and touch the mezuzah? I see people do both ways…

    Thank you.
    Keiko

    Answer:

    Dear Keiko,

    There is a custom to touch the mezuzah when leaving and entering one's home. It is based on the story of Onkelos and the Roman soldiers, which I have written about elsewhere in this column. This custom is quoted by major halachic authorities.

    Some people also kiss their fingers either before or after touching the mezuzah, as a sign of love for the Torah. Whether to do this is a personal choice and it doesn't matter how it's done.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    60. Question:

    (a) We moved into our new home a little less than two months ago, and have not yet put up Mezzuzot. Do we say the extra blessing?

    (b) We have a large coat closet that extends under the stairs, in which we keep games, photo albums, a vacuum cleaner, etc. as well as coats – should we put a Mezuzah up on the closet door?

    (c) About the garage: Should the mezuzah go outside the big garage door which a car would go through (although we don't park the car in there), or should it go on the outside of the regular door that a person would go through. OR, should it go on the door from the house to the garage. We go in and out of the garage frequently, mostly through the big garage door. Should it go in all three places?

    (d) Our kitchen has two entrances – what do we do in this case?

    Thanks for your help.

    Carol
    Los Altos, CA

    Answer:

    Dear Carol,

    (a) The Shehechayanu blessing is not said if the mezuzot were put up after 30 days.

    (b) If your closet under the stairs is more than 36 square feet with a height of 31.5 inches, you should put a mezuzah there, but without a blessing.

    (c) Generally, a garage does not require a mezuzah. However, if you use it for storage of household items instead of for your car, put up a mezuzah without a blessing.

    (d) If your kitchen has two entrances, put up a mezuzah on each one.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    61. Question:

    I understand the Sh'ma portion of the Mezuzah. But why does the Mezuzah not contain the text of Deuteronomy 5:6-21. The passage following the Sh'ma would seem to be referring to this list of Commandments.

    Fred

    Answer:

    Dear Fred,

    The passage in Deuteronomy that you mention tells of the revelation of the Ten Commandments to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, and indeed the Shma text follows shortly afterwards. However, Jewish tradition understands that when the Shma refers to "the words that I command you today", it doesn't mean just the Ten Commandments. It means the entire Torah. Of course, we can't put an entire Torah scroll on every doorway. So our mezuzah text contains just the two paragraphs of the Torah which mention the commandment of mezuzah.

    Not including the Ten Commandments in the mezuzah text may also indicate the ambivalence that Jewish tradition has long had about how to relate to the Ten Commandments.

    On the one hand, this seems to be a central text of the Torah. It's the high point of the Jewish people – when G-d Himself speaks to Israel. For this reason, there was a custom in the times of the Jerusalem Temple to make recitation of the Ten Commandments part of the morning service.

    On the other hand, when people started to make the Ten Commandments part of the prayer service outside of the temple, the rabbis put a stop to it. They thought that it seemed to legitimize the view that the Ten Commandments is the whole of G-d's relevation, to the exclusion of the rest of the commandments.

    Even today, one Jewish custom is to stand when the Ten Commandments are read in the synagogue. But there is another custom to deliberately not stand, to avoid giving preference to one portion of the Torah over others. Perhaps this concern is also reflected in the absence of the Ten Commandments from the mezuzah's text.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    62. Question:

    Is one allowed to place anything "permanent" (for example a pull-up bar) above a mezuzah?

    Thank You,
    Eric

    Answer:

    Dear Eric,

    There's no problem with installing a pull-up bar above the mezuzah.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    63. Question:

    We have just moved to a brand new home in Switzerland which we are renting. It is very modern and the door is framed in metal which is laquered. Of course we would not be able to fix a nail into it. It is also less than an inch wide so even if I changed the case of the Mezuzah to a narrower one, it would not fit at an angle. The door sits in a stuccoed concrete entranceway which is about 7 inches wide.

    Your advice would be very much appreciated,
    Ester

    Answer:

    Dear Ester,

    The stuccoed area is also part of the entranceway, so you could put the mezuzah there.

    By the way, you don't need to attach it with a nail. Any adhesive is fine, as long as the mezuzah is firmly in place.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    64. Question:

    What is the source for having mezuzot in Jewish day schools if they are not places of residence?

    Thanks.
    Chaim

    Answer:

    Dear Chaim,

    The Babylonian Talmud says that the majority opinion is that study houses don't require a mezuzah. However, the Jerusalem Talmud says otherwise, apparently considering your school as your spiritual "home". The Shulchan Aruch writes that the halacha considers schools exempt, but still recommends putting them anyway without a blessing, just to take the other view into account.

    There is a curious story that Rabbi Yosef Karo, the author of the Shulchan Aruch, writes in his other work, the "Beit Yosef" about the "Maharam", the illustrious Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg (Germany 13th century). The "Maharam" used to take an afternoon nap regularly, but when he took his nap in the study hall, he was disturbed by a "ruach raa", roughly translated as "bad spiritual vibes". He tried putting up a mezuzah, to see if it would help. It worked, and afterwards he could sleep soundly. Hopefully, the mezuzot in the Jewish day schools won't put the students to sleep.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    65. Question:

    I have purchased a home that already had Mezuzah's on our doors but received a Mezuzah as a wedding present from my rabbi. Is it okay to take down the Mezuzah from the previous home owners and replace with one of our own?

    Thank you,
    Bronda

    Answer:

    Dear Bronda,

    It's ok to replace the old mezuzah with your new one.

    Once you take the old one down, though, it should be treated respectfully. If you wish to dispose of it, it should go in your local "genizah" (a place for the the disposal of holy objects).

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    66. Question:

    I gave my son a mezuzah and now the inside and the glass have disappeared from the doorway. Is it possible to replace them?

    Jackye Bernstein Sullins

    Answer:

    I am sorry to hear that your Mezuzah was lost. You can definitely replace the scroll. I have no way of knowing if you can replace the glass. This is because every Mezuzah cover is different. Your best bet would be to take it to the store where you got it and ask them if they have a replacement glass. The scroll could be purchased from any reliable Scribe or Judaica store. Just make sure that you get the right size to fit the cover.

    Thanks for writing,

    Aaron Shaffier



    67. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    My family and I are practicing Christians who love the word of G-d. Some time ago, my husband's family made a trip to Israel and got back in touch with their Jewish heritage, which had long since been forgotten. The boys did not observe any spiritual or religious customs on growing up, and felt they had arrived "home," spiritually speaking. Back in the States now, my husband wanted to observe the mitzvah of the mezuzah, and we placed one, I believe correctly and we had a great joy in hearing him recite the blessing. This was two years ago. Lately though, we have been having some "bad luck:" illnesses, and are at a crossroads with major decisions, and every time we think we have a solution, we are blocked and feel very confused. So now we are wondering whether we need to check the mezuzah, or what is going on? We very much appreciated the spirit of your answer on question number 6 and prefer not to hold the kabbalistic view. Still, we were thinking that maybe we can replace the scroll, but were wondering, what should we do with the one that is there now? Do you have any advice for us?

    Thanks,

    Answer:

    Dear Judith,

    Your suggestion to respond to your difficulties by checking the mezuzah is well-founded in Jewish practice, and it certainly would be a good idea. Crisis can be an opportunity for reevaluating our relationship with G-d. It causes us to us ask, "What does G-d want from me?" Checking your mezuzah is a step that could be part of a larger process of self-transformation. The Jewish answer to "What does G-d want from me?" is to perform His will, by keeping His commandments, and developing the loving, caring personality that those commandments are meant to shape. Your husband seems to already be part of such a process, since rediscovering his Jewish roots, and your support has no doubt been an important factor.

    You pointed out that with regard to the mezuzah's protection, you feel more of an affinity to the Maimonidean view than the kabbalistic view. Maimonides' view sees the mezuzah's importance in terms of the religious consciousness that it helps raise. Perhaps you can use these tumultuous times to intensify your already positive feelings for G-d's word, and bring about a tumultuous change in yourselves. The Talmud says that G-d performs miracles for those who have "mesirut nefesh", meaning total devotion to His will. One cannot count on miracles, of course. But the principle is that G-d can remove blocks, both physical and psychological - once we take the first steps toward Him.

    My best wishes for you to overcome the difficulties you're now facing.

    Eliyahu



    68. Question:

    Dear Sofer

    Can the Mezuzah be removed from our family home that is for sale because our Parents have passed away?

    We would like to pass it on to a grandchild getting married.

    Thank you for your help

    sincerely,
    Lauren

    Answer:

    Dear Lauren,

    The obligation of mezuzah only exists if someone is living in the home. Since your parents have passed away, the house has not yet been sold, and nobody is living in their home, there is no longer a need for the house to have a mezuzah. So there should not be a problem taking down the mezuzah and passing it on to your grandchild.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    69. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    We are moving to our first home and our friend purchased a mezuzah for the home along with a kosher scroll. The scroll came packaged in plastic wrap. Based on what I have read on the website, we should remove the wrapping and roll the scroll according to website instructions. The back of our mezuzah is open with an indentation for the scroll - in other words, there is no plate or cover for the back of the mezuzah. Do we just affix the mezuzah with the scroll behind it and nail it to the doorpost, or do we have to provide some sort of protective covering for the scroll (i.e., the portion of the scroll touching the doorpost)? If so, what would that covering be? The scroll would not necessarily be exposed to the elements, but part of the scroll would be touching the doorpost.

    Thanking you in advance for your advice,

    Ellen

    Answer:

    Dear Ellen,

    There is no halachic problem if the scroll touches the doorpost, but it's a good idea to wrap it up for protection.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    70. Question:

    Hello

    I was wondering if one one obligated to put mezuzah on a stable, it has two beams and a lintel (cross beam).

    Thanks

    Lydia

    Answer:

    Dear Lydia,

    Since stables nowadays are usually not clean, they should not have a mezuzah on them, just as our bathrooms and laundry rooms should not have a mezuzah.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    71. Question:

    Shalom,

    Our mezuzah fell off the doorpost of our home after being exposed to extreme weather (Hurricane Ike) and was also starting to rust (after almost 20 years.) The scrolls inside were also missing. We purchased a new mezuzah and placed it on our doorpost. What is the appropriate thing to do with the old mezuzah case?

    Lawrence

    Answer:

    Dear Lawrence,

    The old mezuzah case should be deposited in your local "genizah", namely the repository for worn-out sacred objects. Your local synagogue should have one.

    Best wishes (and hoping for better weather!),
    Eliyahu



    72. Question:

    Hello,

    My name is David F. I just have a question regarding my house mezuzah.

    I was cleaning the front door of my house and I covered my mezuzah, but I guess not well enough because I saw that the paper got wet a bit because water got inside the mezuzah.

    I took the mezuzah down and open it (but I did not unrolled it and I won't) and I'm letting it dry as is. Is my mezuzah still kosher ?, or I have to get a new mezuzah ?

    Thanks, Please respond.

    David

    Answer:

    Dear David,

    If a mezuzah gets wet, the letters may have smeared to the point that they are unrecognizable, or they have joined with other letters. It may be fine, or it may not. Even if it is not kosher, it might be possible for a sofer to repair it. You should have it checked.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    73. Question:

    Rabbi,

    I want to put a mezuzah on the doorpost of my office. Where should I affix the mezuzah if the door is flush with the door post. My only options are to affix it right next to the door post on the outside of the building, OR to affix just inside the of the door, on the door frame.

    Which is correct?

    Leslie

    Answer:

    Dear Leslie,

    It is best to put it up on the door frame, even if it is inside the door.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    74. Question:

    Rabbi,

    We moved into a new apartment recently and after putting up our Mezuzah on the front doorway, we received a complaint from a neighbor that they want us to move the Mezuzah higher up on the doorpost to cover marks and holes made from the Mezuzah that was there from the previous tenant. My question is, once we've put up our Mezuzah and made the brachah, are we allowed to move it to another spot on the doorpost.

    Thanks in advance for your response,

    Brian

    Answer:

    Dear Brian,

    There's no problem moving the mezuzah up on the doorpost, as long as it's 9.6 centimeters (3.8 inches) from the top.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    75. Question:

    I go to a local school not too far from our house.
    At my school I have locker and someone broke into it.
    So my parents thought I should get a mezuzah for it.
    My question is should I get one and if how high should I put it?

    Answer:

    Dear Willem,

    Thank you for your question. The minimum space which would require a mezuzah is about 3 and a third square meters. Your school locker is probably not that big, so a mezuzah is not needed or appropriate.

    Hope you have no more troubles at school,
    Eliyahu



    76. Question:

    Hello Rabbi Yaniger,

    Is it ok to take a Mezuzah scroll from one Mezuzah and place it in another? Apparently the scroll that came in my Mezuzah is not authentic.

    Answer:

    Dear Lori,

    There is no problem moving a mezuzah scroll from one case to another.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    77. Question:

    I would be grateful if you would kindly send me a prayer to be kept in my house as my house seems to be filled with ill luck (no finance) and I feel scared to sleep in my house alone.

    Answer:

    Dear Fatima,

    I am sorry to hear of your troubles. Sometimes the words of the Psalms can help. An appropriate payer from the Psalms can be found here.

    Best wishes for a happy and prosperous life,
    Eliyahu



    78. Question:

    My question is related to mezuzot in a house for sale while our family is moving to different location.

    Can we remove mezuzot before the house is sold and we have not moved out all of our stuff ?

    Answer:

    Dear Irene,

    Your mezuzot should remain in the house as long as you are living there. Ownership is not what matters, but whether you are actually living in the house. If you have moved to your new place, even if the old one is not yet sold, you may remove the mezuzot. If you haven't yet moved out, keep the mezuzot on.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    79. Question:

    Why is the mezuzah posted on the right and not the left? And what could happen if it is posted on the left hand side?

    Answer:

    Dear Peggy,

    The question of where to place the mezuzah scroll, like so much of Jewish practice, was long ago determined by unwritten Jewish tradition, to the point of being an ancient, undisputed Jewish tradition already 2000 years ago. The Talmud sees a source, or if not a source, at least a hint, to this practice in a Hebrew word-play: the word for "your home" ("bete-chah"), is similar to the word "bi-at-chah", meaning, "the way you come in". Since most people take their first step into their homes using the right foot, this implies the "right"-ness of the mezuzah, and it gets put on the right.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    80. Question:

    I bought a 30 year old condo last year and it already had an old mezuzah in the frame of the front door, from the previous owner of the condo. The contractor who worked on my renovation removed the mezuzah when he was working, without asking my permission, and gave it to us.

    My parents want me to put that same mezuzah back in the doorway.

    My questions for you are:

    1. Should I be using the same mezuzah that the previous condo owner was using? (My father polished it so it's looking refreshed now.)?

    2. I would prefer to get a new mezuzah whose style/design is more modern and to my mid-century modern taste. Would that be ok?

    Answer:

    Dear Judy,

    Nothing prevents you from replacing an old mezuzah if you want to. This is true for both the parchment scroll inside the case, and the case itself. What is most important, though, is to make sure that the parchment mezuzah scroll inside the case is kosher. If you use the old scroll left by the previous owner, have it checked by a reliable sofer. If the previous owner did not leave a scroll, or if you decide to replace the scroll with a new one, make sure that you get the new scroll from a reliable dealer.

    Don't forget that mezuzot should be placed in most doorways, not just the front entrance. Details here.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    81. Question:

    I am a practicing Christian and I have purchased 3 mezuzah's from a Christian Ministry that is strong in the Jewish traditions. I have a two-fold question. First, I've been told these mezuzahs come from Israel. Are they kosher… will they work? Second, I live with my daughter and her family who were raised Christian but are not practicing Christians (much to my dismay!). I plan to put 1 on my doorpost as you enter my bedroom and one outside my sliding glass door to my patio. Is this ok? I have a deep love and respect for the Jewish faith and support their cause as best I can. Please give me any insight you may have on this.

    Answer:

    Thanks for your question. There is no obligation for non-Jews to put mezuzot on their doorways. For some general remarks about non-Jews and mezuzot, I'd suggest that you take a look this answer which I wrote in response to a similar question.

    Thanks for your love and support,
    Eliyahu



    82. Question:

    Could you please specify further regarding placement of a Mezuzah on a sliding door that leads into the house and let me know if one should be placed in each of the following situations.

    1) the sliding door leading to my basement/home office opens left to right. Does the mezuzah have to be placed on the right side of the doorframe? Should I place it on the right side of the fixed door, even if the door that actually opens is not the door that will have the mezuzah?

    2) there is a small deck/balcony outside my kitchen and a sliding glass door to exit/enter from it. There are stairs that lead down into the yard, but likely they will not be used to enter the house and that area will only be used to sit and enjoy the fresh air. Should I place a mezuzah there?

    I moved into my home several months ago and have been having all sorts of 'bad luck' here. Is it possible that these episodes could be happening because I didn't have a mezuzah in place? The first month we were here, my mother fell down the stairs and has been in hospital since November. She is now in a rehab facility and should be coming home in a week or two. Can you suggest any prayers for her safe return and safety once she is back home?

    Answer:

    Dear Marlene,

    The general rule for placing the mezuzah is : "to the right as you walk in". I'll try to be clear about how I understand the situations you describe, and I'll answer accordingly, applying the general rule. If I'm mistaken in my understanding, please let me know.

    1) Let's assume that you're outside the basement/home office, looking in. There is a fixed door on the right, and a sliding door on the left, which slides open to the right. There is a door frame, which encompasses both doors. In this situation, the mezuzah should be placed on the left side of the fixed door - that is, immediately to the right of the space created when you open the sliding door and walk in.

    2) Let's assume that you're on the deck, looking into the kitchen. There should be a mezuzah at the doorway between the kitchen and the deck. The mezuzah should be placed on the right side of the opening created when you open the sliding door. If there is a fixed door, as described above, the mezuzah should be placed on the left edge of the fixed door, as described above.

    Since the Jewish view is that positive actions have a positive influence on one's life, placing a mezuzah in the right place would certainly have a positive effect. It's hard to ascribe specific 'bad luck' to a specific action, or non-action, but it seems that your approach is the correct one: if we're having difficulties let's see how we can improve ourselves and our actions.

    There is a special prayer for health that is one of the blessings in the daily Hebrew prayer service. The following is translation of the blessing (taken from http://www.chesedoutreach.org/yeshiva/the-amidah.html ): "Heal us, O L-RD, and we will be healed. Save us, and we will be saved, for You are our praise. Cause complete healing to arise for all our ailments. For You are G-d, King, Healer, faithful, and compassionate. Blessed are You O L-RD, Healer of the sick of His people Israel."

    If you wish to recite this blessing the in the original Hebrew, you can find a transliterated version here, paragraph 8.

    Best wishes for your mother's good health and happiness for all the family,
    Eliyahu



    83. Question:

    What is the appropriate prayer to be said upon going out and coming into a home and kissing the mezuzah?

    Answer:

    Dear Barbara,

    The Talmud mentions two verses from Psalms when discussing G-d's protection and the mezuzah.

    One verse is 121:5 "The L-RD is your guardian: the L-RD is your protection at your right hand."

    Another is 121:8 "The L-RD shall guard your going out and your coming now and forever."

    Some European Jews or descendants of European Jews have a practice of reciting the second of those two verses when leaving their homes. This is the recorded by Rema in his notes to the Jewish code "Shulchan Aruch".

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    84. Question:

    The Shema tells us to affix the Mezuzah to the Doorpost of our House. As the doorpost is the one which has the hinges of the door, why when the hinges are on the left post, do we break the commandment and affix the Mezuzah to the right post which is the lintel and not the doorpost.

    Answer:

    Dear Jonathan,

    When the Biblical text instructs us to "write these words on the doorposts of your home", it's not clear which of the two doorposts is being referred to. Right? Left? Or maybe even both? Elsewhere in the Bible, the word "doorposts" ("mezuzot") actually refers to both sides.

    However, the question of where to place the mezuzah scroll, like so much of Jewish practice, was long ago determined by unwritten Jewish tradition, to the point of being an ancient, undisputed Jewish tradition already 2000 years ago. The Talmud sees a source, or if not a source, at least a hint, to this practice in a Hebrew word-play: the word for "your home" ("bete-chah"), is similar to the word "bi-at-chah", meaning, "the way you come in". Since most people take their first step into their homes using the right foot, this implies the "right"-ness of the mezuzah, and it gets put on the right. Since that sounds a bit strained, I tend to think that this bit of interpretation was not the source of the practice, but an after-fact attempt to find a textual connection to the practice. Maimonides has described other Talmudic interpretations this way, and I think that it is appropriate here.

    I would not describe Jewish practice as "breaking the commandment", since meaning the Biblical text is not clear. Rather this an example of what's called the "Oral Law", the interpretation of law as reflected in practice. The law is necessarily as old as the text itself, since practice of the ambiguous Biblical commandment implies its interpretation.

    The hinge actually does play a role in determining the placement of the mezuzah sometimes, though. See my answer to question #11.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    85. Question:

    My husband and I are purchasing a home and will become official owners when the contract is signed later today.

    We will not be moving in (i.e., taking our furniture from storage and moving the furniture into the home, or sleeping there overnight) for another month or two. However, we will be hiring people to perform repairs on the house in the coming days.

    Should we put up a mezuzah immediately later today? Or should we wait until we actually "move in"?

    Should we say the blessing immediately or wait until we actually "move in"?

    Answer:

    Dear Elizabeth,

    Owning a house does not require one to put up a mezuzah, but living in the house does. So say the blessing and put up the mezuzah when you move in.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    86. Question:

    My family and I are practicing Christians who love the word of G-d. Some time ago, my husband's family made a trip to Israel and got back in touch with their Jewish heritage, which had long since been forgotten. The boys did not observe any spiritual or religious customs on growing up, and felt they had arrived "home," spiritually speaking. Back in the States now, my husband wanted to observe the mitzvah of the mezuzah, and we placed one, I believe correctly and we had a great joy in hearing him recite the blessing. This was two years ago. Lately though, we have been having some "bad luck:" illnesses, and are at a crossroads with major decisions, and every time we think we have a solution, we are blocked and feel very confused. So now we are wondering whether we need to check the mezuzah, or what is going on? We very much appreciated the spirit of your answer on question number 6 and prefer not to hold the kabbalistic view. Still, we were thinking that maybe we can replace the scroll, but were wondering, what should we do with the one that is there now? Do you have any advice for us?

    Answer:

    Dear Judith,

    Your suggestion to respond to your difficulties by checking the mezuzah is well-founded in Jewish practice, and it certainly would be a good idea. Crisis can be an opportunity for reevaluating our relationship with G-d. It causes us to us ask, "What does G-d want from me?" Checking your mezuzah is a step that could be part of a larger process of self-transformation. The Jewish answer to "What does G-d want from me?" is to perform His will, by keeping His commandments, and developing the loving, caring personality that those commandments are meant to shape. Your husband seems to already be part of such a process, since rediscovering his Jewish roots, and your support has no doubt been an important factor.

    You pointed out that with regard to the mezuzah's protection, you feel more of an affinity to the Maimonidean view than the kabbalistic view. Maimonides' view sees the mezuzah's importance in terms of the religious consciousness that it helps raise. Perhaps you can use these tumultuous times to intensify your already positive feelings for G-d's word, and bring about a tumultuous change in yourselves. The Talmud says that G-d performs miracles for those who have "mesirut nefesh", meaning total devotion to His will. One cannot count on miracles, of course. But the principle is that G-d can remove blocks, both physical and psychological - once we take the first steps toward Him.

    My best wishes for you to overcome the difficulties you're now facing.
    Eliyahu



    87. Question:

    Can the Mezuzah be removed from our family home that is for sale because our Parents have passed away? We would like to pass it on to a grandchild getting married.

    Answer:

    Dear Lauren,

    The obligation of mezuzah only exists if someone is living in the home. Since your parents have passed away, the house has not yet been sold, and nobody is living in their home, there is no longer a need for the house to have a mezuzah. So there should not be a problem taking down the mezuzah and passing it on to your grandchild.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    88. Question:

    We are moving to our first home and our friend purchased a mezuzah for the home along with a kosher scroll. The scroll came packaged in plastic wrap. Based on what I have read on the website, we should remove the wrapping and roll the scroll according to website instructions. The back of our mezuzah is open with an indentation for the scroll - in other words, there is no plate or cover for the back of the mezuzah. Do we just affix the mezuzah with the scroll behind it and nail it to the doorpost, or do we have to provide some sort of protective covering for the scroll (i.e., the portion of the scroll touching the doorpost)? If so, what would that covering be? The scroll would not necessarily be exposed to the elements, but part of the scroll would be touching the doorpost.

    Answer:

    Dear Ellen,

    There is no halachic problem if the scroll touches the doorpost, but it's a good idea to wrap it up for protection.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    89. Question:

    I was wondering if one one obligated to put mezuzah on a stable, it has two beams and a lintel (cross beam).

    Answer:

    Dear Lydia,

    Since stables nowadays are usually not clean, they should not have a mezuzah on them, just as our bathrooms and laundry rooms should not have a mezuzah.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    90. Question:

    Our mezuzah fell off the doorpost of our home after being exposed to extreme weather (Hurricane Ike) and was also starting to rust (after almost 20 years.) The scrolls inside were also missing.

    Answer:

    Dear Lawrence,

    The old mezuzah case should be deposited in your local "genizah", namely the repository for worn-out sacred objects. Your local synagogue should have one.

    Best wishes (and hoping for better weather!),
    Eliyahu



    91. Question:

    I was cleaning the front door of my house and I covered my mezuzah, but I guess not well enough because I saw that the paper got wet a bit because water got inside the mezuzah.

    I took the mezuzah down and open it (but I did not unrolled it and I won't) and I'm letting it dry as is. Is my mezuzah still kosher?, or do I have to get a new mezuzah ?

    Answer:

    Dear David,

    If a mezuzah gets wet, the letters may have smeared to the point that they are unrecognizable, or they have joined with other letters. It may be fine, or it may not. Even if it is not kosher, it might be possible for a sofer to repair it. You should have it checked.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    92. Question:

    I want to put a mezuzah on the doorpost of my office. Where should I affix the mezuzah if the door is flush with the door post. My only options are to affix it right next to the door post on the outside of the building, OR to affix just inside the of the door, on the door frame. Which is correct?

    Answer:

    Dear Leslie,

    It is best to put it up on the door frame, even if it is inside the door.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    93. Question:

    We moved into a new apartment recently and after putting up our Mezuzah on the front doorway, we received a complaint from a neighbor that they want us to move the Mezuzah higher up on the doorpost to cover marks and holes made from the Mezuzah that was there from the previous tenant. My question is, once we've put up our Mezuzah and made the brachah, are we allowed to move it to another spot on the doorpost.

    Answer:

    Dear Brian,

    There's no problem moving the mezuzah up on the doorpost, as long as it's 9.6 centimeters (3.8 inches) from the top.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    94. Question:

    I recently bought a condominium. Today, I was told the condo association does not allow unit owners to hang anything on our outside their outer door to the unit. This includes mezuzzahs, holiday decor, etc. I was surprised to learn this, but as it applies to all items, not just the mezuzah, I don't know that I can do anything about it.

    I do have a beautiful mezuzah (received as a gift). I'd like to hang it somewhere in my new home. While I know I can hang one on every door (minus a bathroom), I'm wondering if I can hang it somewhere on my door — though it would be inside my unit and most likely, the right side (what I see leaving).

    Are there any alternatives, for hanging on the door, when you can't hang it on your outside door?

    Thanks
    Maureen

    Answer:

    Dear Maureen,

    If you can close the door and you still have space in the doorpost on the inside, place the mezuzah there. If you don't have space for it in the doorway, then you can place it on the inside wall next to the door, on the right side as you enter. However, if you put it there, you don't recite the blessing when putting it up.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    95. Question:

    Shalom,

    Very quick question about which side to place my mezuzah.

    We have a deck/patio that is only accessible via a door on the second floor of our home (i.e. you cannot get there from outside, only through that door).

    It is a double door with 1 going in and 1 going out.

    I can see arguments for both sides as one could say to place it on the right going out since that is the entrance to the 'room' but one could also say on the right coming in as it is an entrance from outside to inside the house.

    Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Aaron

    Answer:

    Dear Aaron,

    Place it on the right side as you leave the house toward the deck.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    96. Question:

    I have a mezuzah that was taken off the door in error whilst re-decorating the flat by the painter, i would like to put it back up — do i need to replace it as new or is it okay to just put that particular one back up.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Regards,
    Michelle

    Answer:

    Dear Michelle,

    You can put the old one back up.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    97. Question:

    I live on the third floor of an apt bldg. I have a terrace outside my living room. Do I need a mezuzah on the sliding glass door between the terrace and the living room? There are no steps from the terrace that lead anywhere. Thank You!

    Answer:

    Dear Barbara,

    If the terrace is a small one, less than 4 square "cubits" (36 square feet), you don't need to put up a mezuzah, according to most views. If it's bigger, you should put one up.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    98. Question:

    We have an internal elevator in our house. Do we need mezuzahs on the frame of the elevator door?

    Many thanks and Shana Tova.

    — Neill Desmond Miller

    Answer:

    Dear Neill,

    There is not an obligation to put mezuzahs on the frame of an elevator door. I know of one authority who says that though it is not an obligation, it is a "good" thing to do, and some people follow this. In practice, though, most people don't place mezuzahs on elevator door frames.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    99. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    Happy Sukkot!!!!!!!!!!

    I rent an office in a high rise office building in New York City.

    Recently I put up mezzuzah's in a few of our offices.

    We are now moving.

    If I am moving from an office to a new office can I take down the mezzuzah's I put up and bring them to the new office or should get permiossion from the new landlord and purchase new mezzuzah?

    Please let me know.

    Leslie Agisim

    Answer:

    Dear Leslie,

    You can and should take down the old mezuzot and bring them to the new office.

    Best wishes and happy sukkot to you as well,

    Eliyahu



    100. Question:

    Placement on Patio Doors:

    I have two sliding patio doors.

    Door (A) — the sliding portion is 48" wide and opens from left to right. If I put the mezuzah on the right lintel — it will be almost 8 feet from the person opening the door.

    Door (B) — patio doors that both slide open — like French doors. They both open, but the "right lintel" of the door on the left is actually the right door which itself opens. The right lintel of that door is 48" away.

    Where should I put the mezuzot so that someone entering can see and reach them??

    I currently have no mezuzot there since we are renovating and it is not currently possible to enter through them — but I hope within a month that the there will be a deck outside so that one could approach and use the doors.

    Michael Fromstein

    Answer:

    Dear Michael,

    For Door (A), the non-sliding portion of the door is considered as a wall, and not as an entry space. So the mezuzah should be placed on the left edge of the stationary frame. This is the right of the space through which you walk as you enter the house, a space which does not include the glass "wall". However, if both glass frames slide, as in Door (B), then the mezuzah should be placed on the extreme right post, not on the right sliding door.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    101. Question:

    i am renting an apartment in israel and moving to a new one. can i take the mezuzas with me and tell the next renter (a religious jew) he should put his own up.

    if not may i charge him the full value of the mezuzas?

    thank you in advance for a timely response as i need to know today.

    m. jacobs

    Answer:

    Dear friend,

    You should leave the mezuzot, but you may charge the new tenant the full value of the mezuzot.

    I apologize for not getting back to you sooner, but I was away on vacation, and returned only yesterday.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    102. Question:

    Rabbi,

    My question is not directly about Mezuzah's, but about something I saw on your website. While seeking an answer to a question (which your website was most helpful), I noticed something that brought me concern, and curiosity. I reading the question and answer for question 46, I noticed that you did not block the spelling of G-d in the question portion. I had not noticed it prior, so I don't know if this was done on other questions.

    I know the purpose for spelling Hashem's name with the hyphen is to prevent others from desecrating His name. Was this done by you on purpose, and if so is there some type of rule regarding quoting others? I ask because I have to take statements at work, and when I write "G-d" in statements I often take flack for it not being an "accurate quotation," (I don't care, I refuse to do it any other way.)

    Thank you and take care,
    Oren

    Answer:

    Dear Oren,

    The question you raise about divine names is an interesting one. Jewish tradition prohibits erasing G-d's name, based a Biblical verse. Therefore if G-d's name is written in Hebrew on a piece of paper, that paper should not be erased, or disposed of as common trash, but should be buried in a "Genizah".

    Does this apply to divine names in other languages? The "Shach" (a prominent commentary to the Shulchan Aruch) says that it does not. His view seems to be based on Maimonides, and is supported by the Keset HaSofer, the standard textbook for Torah scribes. It is also the view of Rabbi Akiva Eiger, a leading 19th century scholar.

    On the other hand, the Netivot Hamishpat of Rabbi Yaakov of Lissa, prohibits the erasing of divine names written in other languages.

    So there is a firm basis for writing G-'ds name either with or without the "o". My practice in this column has been to use a dash instead of an "o". However, I did not feel that I should change the way G-d's name appears in someone else's question, since many authorities do not require such a change.

    All this does not deal with whether writing that appears on a computer screen has the same status as writing which appears on paper. This is an interesting question, but it goes beyond the scope of a mezuzah.net column.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    103. Question:

    I recently purchased a home where the previous owner had passed away. The mezuzah is still on the front door frame, and I'd like to know if it would be appropriate for us (non-Jewish) to remove it and give it to the previous owner's daughter (Jewish). I think it would be meaningful for her to have it, but don't want to do anything inappropriate or sacrilegious… I should mention that we are going to be replacing the front door, and are not sure what traditions we should be following to remove the mezuzah at that time —we would certainly put it back up on a new door if it's appropriate that it stay with the home, but because we aren't Jewish, I don't know the appropriate blessings, and (again) don't want to be disrespectful to any traditions. Our first choice would be to give it to the daughter… Please let us know your recommendations.

    Thank you so much—
    Cassie

    Answer:

    Dear Cassie,

    It would be appropriate to remove the mezuzah and give it to the previous owner's daughter, if she is interested in having it. If she isn't interested, the best thing to do would be to find a local rabbi and give it to him. He might be able to find someone who would need it. Thanks for your consideration and much happiness in your new home.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    104. Question:

    I took a mezuzah to be checked. The Rabbi said it was not kosher.

    I then gave all my mezuzah's including that one by mistake to another Rabbi to be checked and they all came back kosher. Can a mezuzah be fixed if it was not kosher?

    Thanks
    FG

    Answer:

    Dear Fiona,

    Some things in a mezuzah can be fixed, and some cannot. A qualified scribe is trained to know when and how a mezuzah can be repaired. It is possible that the second Rabbi had it repaired.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    105. Question:

    How many days does one have to put up mezuzot after moving to a new house?

    Should it be done immediately?

    Answer:

    Dear Linda,

    If you own the house or you are renting in Israel, you should put up the mezuzot right away. If you are renting out side of Israel, you have 30 days.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    106. Question:

    All entrance ways are sliding doors with aluminum on the right frame as the door slides to the right. There is wood on the left upon entering. Where should the mezuzah be placed?

    Thanks in advance, Rana Glick

    Answer:

    Dear Rana,

    Let's assume that you're outside the entrance way, looking in. There is a fixed door on the right, and a sliding door on the left, which slides open to the right. There is a door frame, which encompasses both doors. In this situation, the mezuzah should be placed on the left side of the fixed door — that is, immediately to the right of the space created when you open the sliding door and walk in.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    107. Question:

    Hello Rabbi,

    I have a two-car garage. I understand a mezuzah needs to be attached to the doorpost leading into the house. However, do i need to put one on both of the garage-car entries? Thank you for your help.

    Sincerely,
    Christy

    Answer:

    Dear Christy,

    A garage does not require a mezuzah. However, if there is an entrance from the garage into the house, that entrance would require a mezuzah.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    108. Question:

    Rabbi Yaniger,

    I am about to open an office with a front entrance and several rooms and hallways inside. Since this is not a residence, is it appropriate to put a mezuzah on the entrance door to identify it as a Jewish business? Also, should I affix mezuzot to the inner doorways and hall doors too, or is that not necessary?

    Thank you.
    Raphael

    Answer:

    Dear Raphael,

    One should put mezuzot on the entrance doors, inner doorways, and hallways.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    109. Question:

    Dear Rabbi Yaniger:

    Shalom U'Vracha. I hope all is well.

    Recently, you wrote on your website (www.mezuzah.net), that there appears to be a prohibition of placing 2 mezuzahs on the same door based on the well-known halacha that Shema Yisrael should not be said twice for it gives the impression that there are Chas V'Shalom 2 dieties. The answer at first seems plausible.

    However, this is a question that I have been pondering for some time.

    As is known, the Mechaber in Orach Chaim, Siman Lamed-Dalet discusses the order of the Parshiyot in Tefillin, concluding that Rov HaOlam are noheg like the Shita of Rashi, but a Yerei Shamayim should also put on Tefillin according to the Shita of Rabbenu Tam. The Mechaber and the Nosei Kelim discuss the interesting aspect about wearing R"T tefillin after removing Rashi Tefillin and also the ability of wearing both pairs simultaneously (as many Mekubalim do), since the Gemara in Eruvin (around daf 95, I think) seems to allude to having space (on one's forehead) to wear 2 tefillin.

    Based on this, how do we reconcile the above, given that we do find individuals (nowadays) wearing 2 pairs of tefillin simultaneously.

    Any suggestions would be most welcome.

    B'Bracha

    R. Arieh Kadosh

    Answer:

    Dear Rabbi Kadosh,

    Thank you for your learned and interesting question.

    I think that the answer is based on what the Magen Avraham writes (34:3), namely that simultaneously wearing two pairs of tefillin (one Rashi and one Tabbenu Tam) is OK since they can't both be kasher. Putting on two pairs of kasher tefillin would be prohibited because of "bal tosif". It could be that there is a similar consideration with two mezuzot. If there are two kasher mezuzot, there would be a problem of "bal tosif".

    For the same reason, "shtei reshiyut" would be a problem with mezuzah, but not with tefillin. "Shtei reshuyot" would be an issue when you do the same thing repeatedly, such as saying "modim" twice, or "shma" twice. The two pairs of tefillin however, are different, so there would not be a problem of "shtei reshuyot".

    In my column, I mentioned only "shtei reshuyot" as a reason for not having two mezuzot. I did not mention "bal tosif" as a additional reason, and perhaps I should have. I still believe that putting up two mezuzot on the same door should not be done, though.

    Thank you for your comments,
    Eliyahu



    110. Question:

    Shalom

    is there a prayer when removing the mezuzah from a house when being sold to a non-jewish buyer? I am not sure what the procedure is. thanks

    Miriam

    Answer:

    Dear Miriam,

    I know of no special prayer to say when removing the mezuzah.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    111. Question:

    I am not Jewish, but I seem to have found what is a brass Mezuzah half buried in my yard. I was not sure what it was at first, but after researching, have concluded that is is a Mezuzah.

    It seems to have been in the elements for a while and I almost threw it away, until I saw the Star of David.

    I am not sure what to with it. If you could please advise me how to respectfully deal with it, I would greatly appreciate it. I would not want to do anything that is not in accordance or in offense to Judaism.

    I have attatched some pictures of it; it appears to be a vintage item.

    Best,
    Jennifer

    Answer:

    Dear Jennifer,

    I admire your consideration, and your desire to treat the mezuzah with the proper respect. I would suggest contacting a local rabbi, and giving it to him. He may know of a Jewish family who could use it. If there are none, he can bring it to special place known as a "genizah", which is used for the disposal of unused holy objects.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    112. Question:

    Hello… I was reading a post for your website addressing a gentile on placing a mezazuh on their door… and suggested they write it in english and place and frame it near their door… I am a christian and I do have jewish ancestors… I dont understand why we can't use the mezazuh at our door… why is that… I do it out of respect to G-D.

    Answer:

    Dear friend,

    I agree that it would be an excellent idea for you to have a mezuza on your door, if your Jewish ancestry defines you as Jewish. Jewish identity is determined by the mother, so if your mother, her mother, her mother, and so on were all Jewish, you are Jewish as well, and mezuzah is your mitzvah. If this is the case, I would encourage to to put up mezuzot. On the other hand, if your Jewish lineage does not follow this pattern, you are not bound by the Torah laws, even if some of your ancestors were Jewish. If so, your desire to act out of respect for G-D is admirable, but I would not recommend putting up a mezuzah. Mezuzah has come to be an expression of more than just respect for G-D. It is also an expression of Jewish identity. To put it another way, every sports team has members, and only they wear the team's uniform. Members of other teams don't. Even fans of the first team don't, though they may wear t-shirts or jackets with the team's emblem. But the uniform is reserved for actual members of the team. The mezuzah is like a Jewish uniform, and really should be worn by members only. Thanks for your interest.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    113. Question:

    I am glad I found your web site at http://www.mezuzah.net/sofer.html. The answers to people's questions there are very clear and easy to understand. I enjoyed reading them.

    I have a similar question to that asked by Manuel in #9, who is Catholic. I believe your answer can be summed up to say that although his respect for the mezuzah is admirable, in it's modern use, a mezuzah is as much a symbol of Jewish Identify as a reminder of faith.

    I may be over thinking this, but I would appreciate your advice. A friend of mine recently bought a small apartment building and since she knew I was looking, she asked me if I would like to have one of apartments. It has both a back and a front door leading directly to the outside from my apartment alone so I would not share the entrance with any of the other apartments.

    My new landlady and I are both Christians, however, her mother is Jewish by birth. My mother's great-grandfather was Jewish, but he married a gentile, so my mother is not. I have great respect for the mezuzah and admire not only it's beauty, but the reminder it gives us to give reverence to G-d and to the scriptures. I have heard stories of Jews who have been encouraged just by seeing a mezuzah and it often has the same effect on me. I would like to place a mezuzah at my door to honor my ancestor as well as to remind me of the presence of G-d.

    In your view, would this be inappropriate? The last thing I want to do is offend my friends by appropriate something that may not be seen as appropriately mine. Thank you in advance.

    Anne

    Answer:

    Dear Anne,

    Thanks you for your sensitive and inspiring question. I think that what I wrote to Manuel would apply to your situation as well. The words of the mezuzah scroll are indeed powerful, and seeing them frequently can make an important difference in our lives. If you follow the suggestion that I gave him, the words of the mezuzah could have the desired effect on you, while at the same time you would be avoiding a misleading message about your religious identity. Many blessings to you for happiness and success.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    114. Question:

    I was told about the debate regarding the placement of the mezuzah. Someone told me that the debate was between Rashi and either his son or grandson. I believe Rabbi Rashi thought it should be up and down (but why? ) and his son or grandson thought it should be horizontal to fit into the cracks in a wall. Is this true ? Can you provide the correct details and possible citation?

    Thank you.

    Answer:

    Dear Anita,

    You are correct that this is a debate between Rashi and his grandson Rabbenu Tam on Mencahot 33a in the Talmud. Rashi maintains it should be vertical and Rabbenu Tam thinks it should be horizontal. Rashi doesn't explain why it should be vertical, but you can find an explanation in my column at http://www.mezuzah.net/sofer.html#q13 . I would add that Rabbenu Tam prefers it horizontal, since he sees that position as more dignified, just as the Ten Commandments were lying horizontal in the Holy of Holies in the Temple.

    The Talmud in Bava Metzia 102a mentions that there is a need for a mezuzah container, when the mezuzah is in a recessed part of the wall. If the mezuzah is to be vertical, following Rashi, the point of the container would be to keep the mezuzah from falling over. If the mezuzah is to be laid down horizontally, as Rabbenu Tam would have it, why a container? Tosafot there explains that the container is to keep moisture from the wall off the mezuzah.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    115. Question:

    I am sorry if you have already answered this question, I just haven't seen it. My front door has the door and then a screen door should I place the mezuzah completly outside or should it go in the "space" between the front door and the screen door?

    Thank you,
    Devorah

    Answer:

    Dear Devorah,

    It's best for the mezuzah to be close to the outer edge of the doorway. Whether it's between the doors or outside of both doors doesn't matter, as long as it's within a "tefach" (8 centimeters or 3.1 inches) of the outer edge of the doorway.

    Best wishes,
    Eliyahu



    116. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I recently switched offices and while considering where to hang the Mezuzah on the main entrance we ran into a question of Jewish law. The door is glass and has it's hinges in the glass column (I have attached a picture for reference). Can the Mezuzah be hung on the wall right next to the end of the glass panel or must it be placed on the glass by the hinge?

    Thank you very much, Ryan

    Answer:

    Dear Ryan,

    Since the glass column is stationary, the mezuzah should be placed there, by the hinge.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    117. Question:

    Thank you for your reply! Helped me very much.

    Just a little more question, by "respect" — what exactly do you mean?

    Since my friend would probably like to put a cross around the house, would it be considered as disrespectful?

    Thank you and Shabat Shalom!

    Answer:

    Dear friend,

    If your friend puts up a cross in the house, I would encourage you even more to put up the mezuzah.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    118. Question:

    Shalom,

    I'm a Jewish girl and I'm supposed to live with a Christian roommate. However, I still like to do things I used to always do, such as separate dishes and put Mezuzah.

    I talked to the roommate and she doesn't have a problem to put Mezuzot in the house.

    So my question is, can I still put it even if a christian is living in the house?

    Hope to get your answer soon, thanks.

    Answer:

    Dear friend,

    Authorities differ about whether a apartment rented by a Jew and non-Jew together requires a mezuzah. If you wish to put one up, and your Christian friend will treat the mezuzah with respect, you can put one up, but without saying a bracha.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    119. Question:

    Dear R'Yaniger,

    Firstly, yashar koach on this excellent resource!

    Secondly, I have a question on the answer below: Even according to opinion 1, if the inside room is used more than the garden (in my case the dining room opens to the garden), should the mezuzah then be placed on the right entering the house??

    Thank you very much, Daniel

    Answer:

    Dear Daniel,

    Opinion 1 is the view of the Taz (YD 289:4) (when the garden is enclosed, and with no exit other than to the house). He doesn't seem to think that it makes a difference if the inside room is used more than the garden.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    120. Question:

    Greetings Rabbi:

    I have read that no mezuzah should be on a laundry room, but what about the doorway from the laundry room leading back into the main house?

    Thank you.

    Answer:

    Dear Janet,

    A doorway between a laundry room and a house does not require a mezuzah. Are you referring to another doorway, such as a hall between the laundry room and the house?

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    121. Question:

    Hi Rabbi,

    I am an assistant property manager for a rental building in NYC. Many times, a tenant will vacate a unit without removing the mezuzah from the front of the door. While I understand it is appropriate to leave the mezuzah if the new tenant is Jewish, we are not always aware of a tenants religious affiliation before they move in. If a tenant does leave a mezuzah behind, is there a proper way for us as the Landlord to remove it? Should a rabbi be the one to do this? Do we need to say a special prayer?

    You guidance on this matter is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you Erica

    Answer:

    Dear Erica,

    There is no special ceremony for the removal of a mezuzah, and it doesn't have to be done in the presence of a rabbi. Once, it's removed, though, it should not be discarded like trash. If it is kosher, it could be used by someone else. If it isn't kosher, it should be placed with other unusable sacred objects in a special place called a "genizah". The contents of a genizah are usually buried at some point. I would suggest to you give the mezuzahs tenants leave behind to a local rabbi, who will know how to get them checked, and what to do with them a result.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    122. Question:

    What is the difference between a kosher scroll and a non kosher scroll? Does it matter which one you use?

    Answer:

    Dear Wendy,

    There are many requirements in the writing a mezuzah scroll. Among them are:

    - the letters be properly shaped - the letters are distinct and not touching each other - the letters are written in order, from beginning to end - the parchment is from a kosher animal - the margins are straight, so that the text forms a rectangle, and not a pyramid

    There are other requirements as well. So it's important the mezuzah you use come from a reputable and knowledgeable scribe. Otherwise, you may not be performing the mitzvah.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    123. Question:

    Hi,

    I have 2 questions;

    1) I was wondering if I need a mezuzah between the wardrobe and bed area within my bedroom — where the step is, in picture below. I obviously have a mezuzah on doorframe entering bedroom.

    Answer:

    Dear Amanda,

    I consulted with Rabbi Shammai Gross, a leading authority in Jerusalem in the laws of mezuzah. Since the ceiling does not

    drop down at the entrance to the room and the protrusion on the right wall also seems to Rav Shammai insignificant, the right wall is a considered a single wall with the hall. In short, there is no doorway and the entrance to that room does not require a mezuzah.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    124. Question:

    Hi Rabbi Yaniger,

    My sister owns a tile business that includes a showroom. She does not own it, only rents. There is already a mezuza affixed outside the office door.

    My question is: Should she put up a mezuah at the entrance to the showroom? If so, should she say the beracha?

    My other question is that I will be moving to a new apartment. I am pretty sure that the person moving into my present apartment is not Jewish. Can I take down my mezuzot?

    daisy

    Answer:

    Dear Daisy,

    There are conflicting opinions about whether a building used for business and not for lodging requires a mezuzah. So it would be best for your sister to put up a mezuzah without a bracha.

    Since it is likely that the new resident of your current apartment will not be Jewish, it's permissible, and recommended, to take down the mezuzot.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    125. Question:

    What side of the door into my home is the mezuzah suppose to be on, right or left? Thank you, Kent

    Answer:

    Dear Kent,

    The mezuzah should be on the right side of the doorway, as you enter.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    126. Question:

    A friend in Israel told me that people are told (not sure by whom) that they should change their mezuzah every 3-4 years. Are they really referring to the inside parchment or the outside case or BOTH? Also, she told me when something bad happened to her family, everyone told her to immediately change all the mezuzahs in the home. Make sense or a bit extreme?

    thanks for your reply. Ellen

    Answer:

    Dear Ellen,

    Mezuzah scrolls should be checked every 3.5 years, but if they are found to be kosher, there is no need to change them. If the scroll is not kosher, only the scroll should be replaced. There is no need to change the outside case.

    Traditionally, mezuzot are said to have protective qualities, so it is a common practice to check mezuzah scrolls when something bad happens in a home. But again, there is no need to change the mezuzah scrolls if they are found to be kosher.

    How does a mezuzah provide protection? See my answer here .

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    127. Question:

    Shalom! ^_^

    We just have a mezuzah and my Husband accidentally broke the Mezuzah when he was putting it on the wall so he fixed it by using a glue. Can we continue to use it? And we put it inside the house I really don't know if he put it in a right way so I'm gonna attached a picture of it. thanks. -J-anne

    Answer:

    Dear J-anne,

    There's no problem using a mezuzah case which was glued together. Just make sure that the scroll was not damaged when the case broke.

    The mezuzah should be hung on upper third of the door post on the right as you enter. It should be within the space enclosed by the door frame.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    128. Question:

    Is there a certain time of day to hang up mezuzah, evening, morning etc..

    Thank-you

    randy

    Answer:

    Dear Randy,

    There is no special time of day for hanging a mezuzah.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    129. Question:

    Dear Rabbi, We are moving out of a 2nd home which is a double wide trailer and it will be demolished.We will be building a new home on the same property. Can I remove the mezuzah and eventually hang it again on our new home? Thanks, Deborah

    Answer:

    Dear Deborah,

    Yes, you can use the same mezuzah on your new home.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    130. Question:

    Dear Rabbi Eliyahu Yaniger,

    I was not born Jewish but converted to Judaism as an adult. The house that I grew up in as a child had belonged to a Jewish family before us and there was a Mezuzah on the front door. When my parents moved they removed the Mezuzah from the front door as they were concerned that the new owners may throw it away or dispose of it disrespectfully.

    Recently my mother gave me this Mezuzah from our family home that she has been keeping for many years.

    My husband and I have a Mezuzah on our front door but I would like to know if I can put this Mezuzah on my study door?

    It feels very special that this Mezuzah was with me as a child and I would very much like for it to be able to be up in a loving Jewish household again.

    Kind Regards, Kerryn

    Answer:

    Dear Kerryn,

    I would suggest that you have the mezuzah checked to see if it's still kosher. Sometimes over the years, the ink can crack off, or moisture can penetrate the case, which would invalidate the mezuzah. If it turns out that the old mezuzah is still usable, there is no problem to remove to the newer mezuzah and replace it with the old one. Don't forget that once mezuzahs are up, they should be checked every 3 and a half years.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    131. Question:

    Dear Rabbi:

    Along one wall of my living room are two sets of French doors that lead into our daughter's playroom. The doors themselves pull open into the living room and the hinges are flush with the doorposts. It is impossible to attach mezuzot to the doorframe because the thickness of the doors occupies the entire doorframe. There is molding around the doorway on the living room side. On the playroom side, the walls create an eight inch "passageway," the first three inches of which are natural wood; the rest is wall.

    I am inclined to put the mezuzot on the wooden part of the "passageway" into the room; but I am not sure what is best. Can you give me guidance on the best place to put the mezuzot?

    Todah.

    Micah

    Answer:

    Dear Micah,

    I'm sorry for not responding sooner. Your message fell through the cracks, and it wasn't until recently that I noticed I hadn't answered. Could you send a picture or pictures, since I am not sure I understand the reality clearly.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    132. Question:

    Greetings, Rabbi:

    If one has a large closet in a bathroom, does it require a mezuzah.

    Also, if there are two archways into a room, do they both require a mezuzah. We use the room mainly for Bible study.

    Thank you much. Janet.

    Answer:

    Dear Janet,

    The closet in the bathroom should not have a mezuzah.

    The archways each require a mezuzah. If the archways are vertically straight for 80 centimeters before beginning to curve, one should say a blessing when putting them up. If they begin to curve at a point less than 80 centimeters from the ground, no blessing should be said.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    133. Question:

    Rabbi,

    as for the mezuoit in the case, the mezuot are already in plastic, and I wrap a piece of tape around the plastic after they are rolled does this make them non kosher.

    I also roll left to right and leave the shin on the outside facing inward the door is this correct ?

    Izzy

    Answer:

    Dear Izzy,

    According to most opinions, the mezuzah scroll can be enclosed in plastic, with tape around them. They remain kosher.

    The "shin" on external side of the rolled-up scroll should face the outside, so that it would be visible if there is a hole in the case.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    134. Question:

    Dear Rabbi Yaniger,

    My questions concern the outer case for the klaf. The case would be for a child's room.

    Is it permitted for the case to be a "graven image" of a person, animal, vehicle, cartoon character? (Like Winnie the Pooh or a train engine, for example.) And would it make a difference if the image is flat or sculpted?

    And, would a kosher klaf be permissible to insert, or should it be a nonkosher "training" mezuzah with a child-made scroll?

    If the latter, parents could put a kosher mezuzah in the usual place, and the training mezuzah low for the child to reach?

    Thank you, Joanna

    Answer:

    Dear Joanna,

    Technically, there is no problem with using a 3-D form on the mezuzah case, as long as it is not the form of a full human body. My feeling, though, is that it seems a little too whimsical to use a form of Winnie the Pooh, etc., for a holy object such as a mezuzah.

    You should use a kosher klaf, since the room is required to have a mezuzah, like other rooms in your home.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    135. Question:

    I have recently split my master bedroom with a wall and now the second half of the bedroom is a separate children's room with a regular doorway. Am I obligated to put another mezuzah on the second doorway? since the only way to reach the second bedroom is through the door of the master bedroom which already has a mezuzah do I still need to put another mezuzah on the second doorway ? The size of the second room is app. 5.6 feet by 12 feet so I'm not really sure if the room is big enough to require a mezuzah in the first place. Additionally I heard that it is advisable to place a mezuzah of a bedroom where intimate affairs take place outside of the room if possible, which i have done with the mezuzah of the master bedroom but if i was required to place an additional mezuzah on the second door then it would end up being inside the master bedroom so I'm not sure that would be allowed. I really want to put a mezuzah it should be a protection for my kids but I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing. I hope my question is clear.

    Thanks Samuel

    Answer:

    Dear Samuel,

    A room which is 5.6 feet by 12 feet does require a mezuzah, but without a bracha, since there is a dispute about this. Though there is an opinion which says that the bedroom of a married couple should not have a mezuzah, the Beit Yosef rules against this view. So the kids' room should have a mezuzah, even if entering the room is possible only by passing through the parents' bedroom. It would be preferable to use an opaque case for the mezuzah, rather than a transparent one. There is more discussion of this issue in the Aruch Hashulchan YD 286:12-15.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    136. Question:

    Being a Sephardic Jew, I recall growing up, that our mezuzah's on the doorpost were straight up, while my Ashkenazic friends had theirs slanted on their doorposts. I recently had a discussion with a friend who is 1/2 Sephardic and 1/2 Ashkenazic and she said she never heard of this, and thought that I was wrong. I know it is done, but can you tell me the reason why the Sephardim do this?

    Thank you. Marlene

    Answer:

    Dear Marlene,

    Take a look at my answer to a similar question at: www.mezuzah.net/sofer.html#q13

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    137. Question:

    Shalom,

    I recently moved into a new house. While affixing some of my mezuzahs, the nails bent and I want to replace the nails with screws. If I am not moving the mezuzah from its place where I originally put it, should I say the brucha again during this process?

    -Mordechai Yosaif

    Answer:

    Dear Mordechai Yosaif,

    There is no need to say another bracha under these circumstances.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    138. Question:

    Hello,

    I am currently renting a condo unit owned by a Jew (not that it makes a difference — not religious). I have 7 mezuzot up and am planning to move G_d willing, to a new home requiring at least that many. The area I currently live are not many Jewish folks moving in & there is a high percentage chance a non-jew will move in and even if, chances are that it will remain vacant for a while in any case (longer than the 30 days one should hang mezuzot).

    Question: Am I allowed to take any or all of my mezuzot — if not, would it be sufficient instead to leave a promissory note with the landlord (Jew) that if a Jewish person moves in — I will assist in helping them obtain — technically I understand that a new Jewish resident would be obligated to reimburse me anyway — & the Landlord for sure will not and even more so will not care. When I moved in there were 3 very very old — small — not kosher mezuzot in the home, which was owned by the Landlords mother whom I believe has since passed on.

    I appreciate your insight

    Evelyne

    Answer:

    Dear Evelyne,

    You can and should take all of the mezuzot.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    139. Question:

    I am moving into an apartment currently with no mazuzahs. The owner is Jewish and told us he had taken them down after the last group had left and now that we are coming in can we now use those mazuzahs to put back up and how do we go about doing so (putting them back up)? Also, if we know of mazuzahs which are not being used can we take those and put them up for ourselves or must we buy new ones.

    Answer:

    Dear Matthew,

    If the owners' mezuzot are kosher, you can use them. Before you put them up, though, you have them checked to make sure that they are kosher. The same goes for other mezuzot which are not being used. You can use them, but first have them checked to make sure that they are kosher.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    140. Question:

    BS"Dear Rabbi n"y

    Any deeper meaning in the number 713 (letters in the Mezuze)?

    Sources?

    Many thanks

    Kahn

    Answer:

    Dear friend,

    I don't have any sources that talk about this, but "teshuva" has the gematria of 713.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    141. Question:

    I work for a Jewish cemetery. The entrance to the administration building does not have a mezuzah. The company was founded by Jews, but the management now is non-Jewish. There are 2 Jews on the Board of Directors, but the others are gentiles.

    I put a mezuzah on my office door, but should the building generally have mezuzahs? There is no mezuzah on the front door or anywhere else on the building. Also, the company is a corporation.

    Answer:

    Dear friend,

    A building owned by a partnership of Jews and non-Jews does not require mezuzot. If your company has majority ownership and majority control (the board) by non-Jews, the office building does not require mezuzot.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    142. Question:

    Rabbi,

    We are purchasing a house and plan to affix all our mezuzot at the same time; we are planning on saying the blessing once, for all of them. My main questions are about the garage, the laundry room and the yard.

    1) The garage has three openings, one for the car, one regular door to the backyard, and one regular door into the home. We are planning on storing some items in the garage, as well as the car. Which doorways, if any, need a mezuzah and would I say a blessing on them if we weren't doing the whole house at once?

    2) The laundry room is large and I am planning on using it as a workroom as well as laundry. Does it need a mezuzah then, and again would it have a bracha?

    3) The backyard is entirely fenced, with a gate. We are debating fencing the front yard as well, also with a gate. Do the gate posts need mezuzot in these cases?

    As for hanging the mezuzot, should we do this immediately upon taking ownership, or when we move in (if there is some time between the two)?

    Thank you so much for your help, -Nava

    Answer:

    Dear Nava,

    1) All three openings of your garage require a mezuzah with a blessing, since one of the openings leads into the house.

    2) If you are planning to use the laundry room as a workroom as well, you should put up the mezuzah with a bracha, assuming that the room is big enough to require a mezuzah (see www.mezuzah.net/sofer.html#q12 ).

    3) If the gates only have posts on the sides, but are open above, they do not require mezuzot.

    You do not need to put up the mezuzot upon taking ownership, but only when you move in.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    143. Question:

    Shalom,

    I want to put a mezuzah at my outdoor. But I'm living in a muslim country. I don't want the mezuzah to be stolen by people can I put it inside my doorstep?

    Moshe

    Answer:

    Dear Moshe,

    You can put the mezuzah inside the door, as long as it is on the door post. However, since this is not agreed upon by all authorities, don't say a blessing when putting it up.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    144. Question:

    shalom!

    i would like to replace a mezuzah in my house. do i need to say a new bracha? if yes, does it matter which mezuzah it is (i.e which door)?

    thanks, -YS

    Answer:

    Dear Yitzchak,

    You should say a new bracha when putting up a different mezuzah, If you are putting up more than one, it does not matter, which one you say the bracha on.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    145. Question:

    We are in the process of making an opening between two rooms in our home. The opening is flush against a shared wall so there is no discernible doorpost on one side, only a flat wall that stretches between the two rooms (there is no door). Is a Mezuza required for this opening? If one is required, can it be placed on the flat wall (which is what would be on the right as one enters from the street) or must it be put on the left where there is a doorpost?

    Thank you!

    Answer:

    Dear friend,

    Since there is no doorpost on one side, the opening does not require a mezuzah.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    146. Question:

    Rabbi,

    Two Questions:

    1) The doorway from the garage into the house has a door which opens outward, hinge on left. However; The room it enters into is a laundry/pantry under 6' across. The far wall has a doorway (does the header in the wall count as a lintel) directly across which enters into the kitchen.

    2) I am in a wheelchair and can not reach the upper third of the doorframe. This really bugs me.

    Thank You, Turgeman

    Answer:

    Dear Turgeman,

    1) You should put a mezuzah on the doorway of the far wall, on the right as you enter the kitchen. The header in the wall does count as a lintel.

    2) I understand your frustration at not being able to reach the place of the mezuzah. However, you can perform the mitzvah of placing a mezuzah by reciting the blessing yourself and having another Jewish person act as your agent to put it up. True, you will not be able to reach the mezuzah as you pass through the doorway, but this is not an essential part of the mitzvah. Additionally, the Talmud says that whoever tries to perform a mitzvah, but is unable to, is considered by G-d as if he had performed the mitzvah.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    147. Question:

    My dear friend's Mezuzah was knocked off her door and is missing.

    It was given to her by her late mother wen she moved into her first home.

    She is very sadden by the loss of this special Mezuzah that held memories of her mother.

    I would like to give her a new one- I would like it to be special.

    There are many types and materials-

    Do you have any suggestions for a Mezuzah that could be given to her?

    Thank you

    Answer:

    Dear Victoria,

    It's a two-step process. First you can buy at a Judaica shop a decorative cover that you think your friend would find aesthetically pleasing. Then, once you have the cover, check with your local orthodox rabbi to find out where to buy kosher mezuzah scrolls. and have one inserted properly into the cover you've bought.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    148. Question:

    Hello,

    Can you please give me some advice — we are a non jewish couple in the process of moving into an apartment with a mezuzah on the doorway. Are we allowed to remove the mezuzah? If so, what should we then do with it?

    Your speedy response would be much appreciated

    Thank you

    Kind Regards, Kelly

    Answer:

    Dear Kelly,

    It is advisable for you to remove the mezuzah. I would suggest giving it to a local orthodox rabbi. He could have it checked, and if it's found to be usable, provide it for a Jewish family who may need a mezuzah.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    149. Question:

    Hi. Shalom Aleichem.

    My son lives in a rental apartment and certain health issues raised the thought to check the mezuzot. They were found to be Sephardic mezuzot and we are Ashkenazi. Do we have to buy Ashkenazic mezuzot and replace them with the owner's mezuzot when my son moves out? Is it a problem — being Ashkenazic with Sephardic mezuzot?

    Thanks.

    Yours, Avi

    Answer:

    Dear Avi,

    Since the mezuzot are already there, you do not have spend money on replacing them, assuming they are kosher Sephardic mezuzot. If you are buying mezuzot for a place without them, an Ashkenazi should prefer Ashnezai mezuzot. But since this is "bediavad", that is, the mezuzot are already there, there is no need to change them.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    150. Question:

    I recently had my home painted (interior) and took the mezuzahs down before painting. When I was putting them back up, one of them — a glass one — broke when I was hammering the nails. Is there a prayer to say, and is it OK to just discard the broken mezuzah?

    Thank you, Laurie

    Answer:

    Dear Laurie,

    There is no prayer to say if the mezuzah case breaks. You should not just discard the scroll inside, though. Have it checked by a qualified scribe to make sure that it's still usable. If it is, you can put it back up in a new case. If not, you should deposit it in a "genizah", that is, a place where unusable sacred objects are buried. A scribe or rabbi should be able to help you out with this. The broken case should also preferably not be discarded, but put in a genizah.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    151. Question:

    Hello,

    My husband and I recently purchased a new home. We have a mezuzah that my parents gave us, and would like to put it up. My grandparents, however, have bought us one too, but we have not yet received it from them. If we put one up, can we replace it with another?

    Many thanks, Elaine

    Answer:

    Dear Elaine,

    There is no problem replacing one mezuzah with another, as long as the one you put up is kosher. Be aware, though, that mezuzot go not only on the main entrance to the house, but also in all rooms in the house, as described at www.mezuzah.net/sofer.html#q57 , so you probably can use both mezuzot at the same time.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    152. Question:

    We have just moved and our new landlord does not want us to make holes in the metal doorframe. They suggested we screw the mezuzah into the bricks that the doorframe is mounted in — which is like an outer-doorframe.

    Answer:

    Dear Peter,

    If the bricks are within the doorway, you can screw the mezuzah into the bricks. An alternative which would not make holes in the metal doorframe would be to glue the mezuzah case to the doorframe.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    153. Question:

    Hi Rabbi,

    i understand for a new (never been lived in) home there is a different bracha. could you please email the proper bracha for installing a mezuzah on a new home.

    thanks, corinne v

    Answer:

    Dear Corinne,

    You can find the bracha at www.mezuzah.net/laws6.html, at the bottom of the page.

    It is customary to say this bracha both when entering a new home, or when affixing a mezuzah in a home which was previously lived in. The Magen Avraham considers the possibility of a different bracha if the home was previously lived in, but the custom is to say the same bracha on both new and "used" homes.

    Best wishes, Eliyahu



    154. Question:

    Hi Sofer,

    I have a few questions please: We live in a house where outside, in the backyard, there are several posts with lintels that are part of a kind of covering from the sun. We put up mezuzot on all those posts but is that really necessary? They do have lintels but are they all considered entranceways?

    Also I read on your site that if a mezuzah is taken down it should be put back on the same door? Why is that? My husband often changes the doors and puts them up on different door ways. So what is the halachic or kabbalistic reason, if any, to put them back on the same doorways? If there is a hallway which has two walls (but not door posts, just two walls) plus a lintel, do you need to put up a mezuzah?

    We live in a place with a lot of sunshine and hot weather and one mezuzah was outside on a doorway leading out to a side porch but my husband said he wanted to put it inside the doorway so as to avoid sunshine directly on it so he moved it inside the room . is that okay? he attached it on the right side (leading into the room) but inside the door post rather than outside the room. Can a mezuzah start in the upper third of a door post but extend lower than that if it is a big mezuzah?

    Thank you.

    Answer:

    Dear Gila,

    If an outdoor enclosure like a pavilion has only 3 walls, and the fourth side is completely open, the Talmud states that it is exempt from a mezuzah. It sounds like what you have in your backyard does not have four walls, so the posts would not require mezuzot.

    If a mezuzah is taken down, it does not have to go back on the same door. I didn't see on my site where I wrote that it does. If I did write this, please let me know where.

    A hallway with two walls and no doorposts does not require a mezuzah. (See Chovat Hadar 7:14) The mezuzah should ideally be as close to the outer part of the entrance space as possible, about which I've written at length here. However, if you are concerned that the weather may damage the mezuzah, it's a good idea to move it further inside the entrance space.

    Ideally the mezuzah should be completely within the upper third of the door post, as long as it does not go within 8 cm of the lintel. If there is no way to avoid getting too close to the lintel without extending below the upper third, I would suggest using a smaller mezuzah. However, if this is a problem, the Yerushalmi allows a mezuzah to be lower than the upper third if it is shoulder-height. I would venture to say that in this case, it the mezuzah is shoulder height, and part of it is below the upper third, it would be ok.



    155. Question:

    Hi Sofer,

    My mother recently passed away. We have removed the mezuzot from her home as the new owners are not Jewish and would be grateful to learn what action we should take.

    Thank you.

    Lydia



    Answer:

    Dear Lydia,

    You can have them checked and re-use them, if you or someone you know needs mezuzot. If not, you could give them to a local scribe or rabbi who may know someone that could use them.



    156. Question:

    Hello Sofer,

    We had to take our mezuzah down on our front door for a storm door installation. I have two questions - first, can we reuse the same mezuzah? Second, and more importantly, we do not have any space to now place the mezuzah on that door. On the right side of the door are those little square window panels. Can we place it in that frame even though it is 6-8 inches away? Please let me know.

    Thank you,

    Hope W.

    Lydia



    Answer:

    Dear Hope,

    If I understand correctly, the new storm door does not replace the existing door, but is an additional door.

    Also if I understand correctly, the lintel above the panel on the right with the square windows, is a continuation of the lintel above the door. This would mean that the door and the panel with the windows are enclosed in a single big frame.

    If I'm making a mistake, please correct me. If I'm not making a mistake, please read on. If it's possible to hang a mezuzah between the doors, that would be the place to hang it, rather than on the right side of the right frame with the square window panels. If there's no space between the doors, hang it on the right side of the right frame.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    157. Question:

    Dear Sofer,

    When I took down my mezuzah to be checked I found out that the klaf /scroll was rolled up with the writing on the outside instead of the inside. It was rolled up inside out. What does that mean? I did put on a new mezuzah on my door.

    Please respond as soon as you can,

    Thank you,

    Bella Sara

    Answer:

    Dear Bella Sara,

    I don't think that I'm qualified to tell you what metaphysical meaning is behind having had the mezuzah inside out. However, you should roll it properly, as I'm sure you did with your new mezuzah.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    158. Question:

    Hi,

    I recently received some Mezuzot that are of a nicer writing. Can I replace ones that are already in place with these new ones?

    Thanks,

    Eilan

    Answer:

    Dear Eilan,

    Yes, you can replace the old ones with new ones.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    159. Question:

    Hi Rabbi Yaniger,

    I’ve noticed on the outside of different Mezuzot that in addition to “Shin, yud, hay” , there is upside down writing at the top of the parchment.
    1. What does this mean?
    2. Are all Mezuzot required to have this?
    3. Also should Shin, yud, hay have the crown as the other letters written on the parchment itself?

    I appreciate your response.

    Thank you.

    B’ shalom,

    Pamela

    Answer:

    Dear Pamela,

    I've discussed the meaning of the upside down writing at http://www.mezuzah.net/sofer.html#q32. A mezuzah is still valid even if this is missing, but it's preferable to have it.

    If the "shin" in the divine name written on the back of the parchment does not have crowns, the mezuzah is still valid.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    160. Question:

    I rent a warehouse that has the main warehouse and several side rooms that we use as an office and for storage. Am I required to affix a mezuzah to the warehouse entrance and offices? Another questions, there are rooms that have more than one entrance to them do those require mezuzot by each entrance?

    Last questions, the front door of the warehouse opens to a small hallway (about 4 ft by 8 ft) and then opens to the warehouse. Does this hallway require a mezuzah?

    Thank you,

    Moshe

    Answer:

    Dear Moshe,

    You should put a mezuzah on the entrances to the warehouse and side rooms. However, it's best not to say a blessing, since a) there is a dispute among the later authorities about whether work places which are not homes require a mezuzah, and b) there is a further dispute in the gemara about whether storage rooms require a mezuzah.

    Rooms with more than one entrance should have a mezuzah at each entrance.

    A hallway of 4x8 ft. is not large enough to require a mezuzah, since the minimum is 4 square "cubits" ("amot" in Hebrew), which is 36 sq. ft.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    161. Question:

    Hello,

    We are moving into a two bedroom apartment with a friend who is not Jewish. She will have her own bedroom. She is fine with a mezuzah on the front door and common areas, but do we need to place a mezuzah on her bedroom door as well?

    
 Thank you,

    Amanda

    Answer:

    Dear Amanda,

    There is no need for a mezuzah on her room.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    162. Question:

    Hello dear Rabbi,

    The door to our bedroom has no doorpost. It does have two walls on either side of the door, but there is no lintel. The ceiling on top of the door is the same height as the rest of the house. On the right side of the door, there is a smaller panel of wood, but it´s not perpendicular to the door, it is on the same level as the door. Could we put the mezuzah there? I really would like to put a mezuzah outside our bedroom. Can I?

    Thank you very much!

    Karen

    Answer:

    Dear Karen,

    Although the room does not require a mezuzah, you can put one up if you wish. Just don't say the blessing when you put it up.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    163. Question:

    I am a non-Jew and I just moved into a new apartment. I found a stone Mezuzah on my door. I'm considering it a blessing on my new home. Is it appropriate to keep the blessing in place? I would love to keep it unless doing so would be considered disrespectful or inappropriate.

    Thanks.

    Kat in Colorado

    Answer:

    Dear Kat,

    I appreciate your concern and sensitivity regarding this issue. Take a look at what I've written at http://mezuzah.net/sofer.html#q9 for remarks about non-Jews putting up a mezuzah. Your question is a bit different, since it's not about putting up a mezuzah, but leaving a mezuzah which was already up when you got there. I think that it would be preferable for you to take it down and bring it to a local Orthodox rabbi, but if this is difficult, there is a basis for you to leave it up.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    164. Question:

    I am a Christian who supports and stands with Isreal. I made a contribution to CUFI and will be receiving a MEZUZAH to mount and a scroll to put within. I realize the Mezuzah is the scroll but, if it arrives blank where or who can inscribe it and what should the inscription say?

    Thank you.

    LS

    Answer:

    Dear friend,

    Thanks very much for your support and friendship. As a non-Jew, you do not have an obligation to put up a mezuzah, so if you receive a blank scroll, you can choose to have written on it whatever you find meaningful.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    165. Question:

    Hello Rabbi,

    Being both Sephardic (Hispanic on my father's side) and Ashkenazi (Russian on my mother's side), how would I appropriately hang a mezuzah in the doorways of my apartment? I thank you in advance for your response and help with my question.

    Barbara Lugo

    Answer:

    Dear Barbara,

    When there is a conflict between paternal and maternal custom, the accepted practice is to follow the paternal custom. So I would suggest that you follow the Sephardic custom.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    166. Question:

    Hello Sir,

    We are considering renting a house in which Jews have lived in the past. There are several mezuzah on the doors that have been painted over. We are not Jewish but understand that this is disrespectful to your tradition. What is the proper course now? They may have been painted over many times in the past so removal would require some damage. Also, if they are removed, how do we dispose of them?

    Respectfully,

    Monica Dignam

    Answer:

    Dear Monica,

    Please excuse my delay in answering your question.

    Thank you for your concern and sensitivity regarding handling the mezuzot.

    If you can remove the mezuzot without causing major damage to the doorposts, that would be the preferable course to take. You could then dispose of them by bringing them to a local Orthodox rabbi. He would see if they are still "recyclable" for Jewish families, and if not, he would know how to dispose of them in a way which conforms to Jewish law. If this is not an option, you can wrap them in bubble wrap and a sturdy envelope or box, and I can provide you with an address where you can send them.

    If removing the mezuzot would cause damage, there is a basis in Jewish law for you to leave them as they are.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    167. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    Is there a prayer for taking down a mezuzah?

    Rabbi Morrison

    Answer:

    Dear Rabbi Morrison,

    There is no requirement for saying a prayer when taking down a mezuzah. Nor am I aware of any "optional" prayers that exist for taking down a mezuzah.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    168. Question:

    My daughter received a Mezuzah as a gift. It is inscribed with the word joy on the outside. Is this permissible?

    Thank you,

    Debbe Epstein

    Answer:

    Dear Debbi,

    The Rema quotes a custom based on the Zohar that there should be a hole in the mezuzah case to expose the divine name "Shad- dai" written on the back of the parchment. The idea in the Zohar is that when those who wish to hurt the resident see the divine name, they'll be deterred, knowing that G-d is protecting the resident. From there the custom developed to put the letter "shin" on the case, since "shin" is the first Hebrew letter of "Shad-dai". Mezuzot are all kosher even if the case does not have a hole or a "shin". So if you can manage to fulfill the custom and expose the letter "shin" on the mezuzah, that is preferable. But if this is difficult, a mezuzah with a case that has the word "joy" on the outside is still kosher.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    169. Question:

    Shalom Friend

    I just have a question to ask. I bought 3 mezuzahs about 8 years ago, and I did set up one of them right now. I bought them brand new and never been used at all till now. The only concern I have is whether mezuzahs have to be checked or not.

    Thank you so much

    Regards

    Answer:

    Dear friend,

    The Talmud requires checking mezuzahs twice every seven years, since (according to Maimonides) they may deteriorate, as they are on walls and thus exposed to the elements. Your mezuzahs were not on walls. So it would depend on where they were stored. If they were in a protected place, where moisture or heat did not damage them, and they were checked before you bought them, you need not take them to an expert, but can visually check them to make sure that each letter looks intact.

    For those who would like sources for this, see Mishneh Torah Mezuzah 5:9, Pitchei Teshuvah 291:3.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    170. Question:

    Dear Rabbi

    Recently I went to a yard sale and found a small mezzuzah (like a charm). It is old and looks in very good condition. I bought it and would like to wear it Is there anything special I should do before?

    Alana Sherman

    Answer:

    Dear Alana,

    There is no religious significance to wearing a mezuzah scroll like a charm. The Biblical commandment is to put mezuzot on our doorposts, not to wear them. If you choose to wear it, though, the scroll should be treated with proper respect, so you should not bring it into bathrooms.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    171. Question:

    Dear Rabbi Yaniger

    The main door to the apartment is a glass door that is followed, to its right, by a panel of glass windows, and only after such a panel (about a meter and a half away and out of reach of one walking through the door) is the wall and frame. As I see it, I could either attach the mezuzah outside, on the concrete frame to the left of the door as one walks in, or on that same frame on the inside of the door, which would be to the right as one walks out. What do you think? The metal frame of the glass door seems to thin for the mezuzah.

    Thanks a lot,

    Daniel

    Answer:

    Dear Daniel,

    If I understand correctly, you have a outer glass-enclosed room, after which is the doorway to the house. A room requires a mezuzah if it is 2 x 2 meters (which is 4 "amot" x 4 "amot" in Biblcal measurements). If the glass-enclosed entry area is not that big, it would not require a mezuzah. The door to the apartment, which you get to after passing through the outer room, does require a mezuzah.

    When a doorway requires a mezuzah, you should put it up on the right side as you enter. If you can't put it up within the doorway space, you can put it up on the outside, on the right as you enter, as I've written about in Question 44 on http://www.mezuzah.net/sofer.html .

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    172. Question:

    Good morning,

    I just wanted to know if I can change the cracked outdoor Mezuzah by myself.

    Thanks,

    Alex Barsky

    Answer:

    Dear Alex,

    There is no halachic problem if you change the cracked Mezuzah case by yourself. Just make sure when you fix it that the scroll does not look damaged, and when you put it in the new case, that scroll is not upside down.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    173. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I moved into my new house and my question is, on what side of the door do I place the mezuzah, lets say if I enter the dining room from the living room or the living room from the dining room, which doorpost is the right one?

    Please let me know,

    Thank you

    José

    Answer:

    Dear José,

    Take a look here, where I set out the rules for determining which room is "inside" and which is "outside".

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    174. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I am looking a written source to state the laws of mezuzah for garage, attic and shed. Please send me a writing reference source.

    Lilian Glantz

    Answer:

    Dear Lilian,

    Here are some written sources.

    For garage:
    See :
    Be'er Moshe 2:82
    Minchat Yitzchak v. 10 96:2
    Mishne Halachot 6:189

    For attic:
    Menachot 34a and Rashi there
    Shulchan Aruch 286:19

    For shed:
    Yoma 11a
    Rosh Hilchot Mezuzah 15
    Rambam Hichot Mezuzah 6:7
    Shulchan Aruch 286:1
    Aruch Hashulchan 286:9
    Chovat Hadar 2:4 and note 12 there.

    Please keep in mind that written sources are not the only element in making a halachic decision. On this site, I wrote some of my answers after not only examining the written sources, but also after consulting with scholars who expressed their opinions orally.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    175. Question:

    Should I check the mezuzot in a house I bought if some look pretty small? Is there any specific custom to check mezuzot during Elul? I recall it is a minhag mentioned in various sources.

    Shalom,

    Elisha

    Answer:

    Dear Elisha,

    Mezuzot should be checked one every 3.5 years. If you can, it would be best to find out from the previous owner when the mezuzot in your new home were last checked.

    Small mezuzot tend to have more problems than larger mezuzot, since they are more difficult to write properly. But the halacha of checking every 3.5 years makes no distinction between small mezuzot and large ones.

    There is a "custom of the pious" to check mezuzot every year during Elul, mentioned in the Mateh Ephraim and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, but this is not a universal practice.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    176. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I have been studying Judaism, have not converted yet. I was not raised in any set religion. My mother raise southern Baptist but struggled with their word, my father was raised Pentecostal, but believed a bit of many religions. They left my religion up to me and I too have looked into many. No matter what I learn the Jewish faith seems to ring best in my heart.

    My question is we built a new house and I wanted to know if it is right for me to put a Mezuzah?

    Cheri

    Answer:

    Dear Cheri,

    If you are planning to convert, there is no problem with your putting up a mezuzah. If you are not planning to convert, see my comments here .

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    177. Question:

    Hi Rabbi,

    I would like to move a mezuzah on front door of my home to an inside doorpost, and replace it with a new mezuzah. Is that okay to do?

    Amy

    Answer:

    Dear Amy,

    Yes, that's okay to do.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    178. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    If my mezuzah scrolls are bent from the type of case it was in does that make in unkosher?

    Paula

    Answer:

    Dear Paula,

    If the mezuzah scrolls are bent, it might or might not have caused some of the letters to crack. If the scroll was bent where the letters are, you should have it checked.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    179. Question:

    Hello Rabbi,

    We have a new room in our house which was created and did not exist before. Do we need to say a new beracha on the mezuzah when putting it up?

    Michael

    Answer:

    Dear Michael,

    You should say a bracha when putting it up.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    180. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    My mezuzah fell off the door - do I need a rabbi to put it back on or can I just put it back on?

    Lucile

    Answer:

    Dear Lucile,

    You can just put it back on.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    181. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I am a reformed Jew who is married to a Lutheran Pastor. My husband is to be ordained in a few weeks and I’d like to get him a gift that represents the values we share, not just the religions we represent. I thought about getting him a mezuzah for his office, but after reading some of your other responses, I am hesitant because the mezuzah has come to represent Jewish identity and he is not Jewish himself. The reason I am writing at all, though, is because I think he would have a deep respect for the mezuzah and see it as a symbol of my identity, which would be with him at both his place of work and worship. We have a ketubah in our home that he absolutely loves and I feel like this would be of the same vein.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks,

    Sara

    Answer:

    Dear Sara,

    Thank you for your question. I think that due to your shared values, it would be appropriate to have the mezuzah for your home, which you share. Since your husband's office is his alone, it seems to me that having a mezuzah there would imply more than just a reminder of your identity, but also a statement of his identity, so I would be hesitant to recommend that he put it up there the same way that Jews do. He may find that framing it and hanging it near the door would serve the purpose you had in mind.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    182. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    Hello,
    I am a Roman Catholic. I have always believed that the Jews are the Chosen People. I also have been fascinated with the mezuzah since I was a child and do believe in the power of it. Would it be wrong if I attach a mezuzah inside my apartment?

    Manuel

    Answer:

    Dear Manuel,

    Thank you for your question. I would refer you to answer I gave to a similar question. The Q/A is at http://mezuzah.net/sofer.html#q9 , coincidentally to another person named Manuel. I think that you will find there the information you need.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    183. Question:

    Rabbi Yaniger,

    thank you for taking the time to answer my question. May I trouble you with a few more questions? If it is ok, allow me to explain a little bit about me. During high school I was seeing a Rabbi once a week for a few months as part of my conversion process. I discontinued my attempt at conversion due to opposition from my family. As I mentioned before, I have been fascinated by the mezuzah ever since I was 8 or 9 when I first saw the movie Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston. During the conversion process, I was being taught how to read, write, and speak Hebrew. I also was learning about Theodore Herzl, Maimonides, and the religious objects such as the mezuzah, shofar, and yarmulke. And out of all the religious objects in Judaism, I was again most fascinated with the mezuzah. Perhaps because like most if not all other religions, there is the belief that by touching or kissing certain religious objects, one will have good luck or receive some kind of blessing. That is what I always believed about the mezuzah. About 10 years ago I went to a Judaica store in NYC to buy a co-worker a gift. After seeing all the beautiful mezuzahs I was thinking about starting a collection. I was in Israel in March of 2012 for two weeks. After seeing all the mezuzahs I seriously started to reconsider collecting mezuzahs. I was in Israel again in November 2012 because I wanted to bring my mom for a pilgrimage. That is when I bought my first mezuzah and Shema at the Cardo. Sorry to bore you, Rabbi. Here are my questions though.

    1. Will I be cursed or have bad luck if I hang a mezuzah inside my apartment? I don't want to hang it outside because I am not Jewish. If it is ok to hang inside my apartment where do I hang it. I only have a studio so I have no bedroom to hang it in. May I hang it inside my door on the left side?

    2. I also want to buy an Ashkenazi and Sephardic Shema. If I buy both is it ok if I frame and hang them?

    Sorry again for all these questions. If you can help me in this matter I will be very grateful.

    Thank you.

    Manuel Veloso

    Answer:

    Dear Manuel,

    Your story is very interesting; thank you for sharing it with me. I would not see a problem for you to hang the mezuzah inside your home on the left side, or for you to buy Ashnezaic and Sepharadic mezuzot, and frame them.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    184. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    The entrance to my living room is 105” tall; which means it must be placed 70” from the bottom if its to be in upper 1/3. This is over everyone’s head {including my husband-69”-I’m 60”}. Isn’t that too far up?

    Loretta C

    Answer:

    Dear Loretta,

    There is an old controversy about this, which continues to this day. Rav Ovadia Yosef, the leading contemporary authority for Jews of Sephardic (Spanish and North African) descent say to put it in the upper third of even high entrances. Most Jews of Ashkenazi (North European) descent follow the view of the Jerusalem Talmud which says that for a high entrance, you put the mezuzah at shoulder height.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    185. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I own a Dental Practice. Do I need to place a Mezuzah on the door of the surgery where my non-Jewish Hygienist works?

    Stuart Levy

    Answer:

    Dear Stuart,

    Yes, you should put a mezuzah on the door of the surgery where my non-Jewish Hygienist works.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu

    P.S. Please excuse my tardiness in replying. My library was flooded some time ago, and without proper access to my books, I've been behind in answering questioners.



    186. Question:

    Dear Rabbi Eliyahu Yaniger,

    My name is Gretta Leon. I wanted to know what to do if the case for the mezuzah is too big to hang outside my bedroom doorpost. Can I hang it inside my room? If you would be so kind to let me know. I would also like to know if you know where I can buy a mezuzah scroll online.

    Thank you,

    Gretta

    Answer:

    Dear Gretta,

    The mezuzah should be on the doorpost, so if you can get a smaller case for the scroll, it would be preferable to use a smaller case and a smaller scroll if needed, and hang it on the door post.

    If you can't do that, you can put the mezuzah inside the door, as long as it is on the door post. However, since this is not agreed upon by all authorities, don't say a blessing when putting it up. if you must place the mezuza inside the door, use a case which is not transparent.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu

    P.S. Please excuse my tardiness in replying. My library was flooded some time ago, and without proper access to my books, I've been behind in answering questioners.



    187. Question:

    We had to remove the mezuzot from an area that was being renovated. The area was previously a house it is now offices. Does one have to replace the original mezuzot or is it permissible to buy new?

    Harris Burman

    Answer:

    Dear Harris,

    It is permissible to buy new.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu

    P.S. Please excuse my tardiness in replying. My library was flooded some time ago, and without proper access to my books, I've been behind in answering questioners.



    188. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I have several questions about how to install the mezuzah:

    1. In the main entrance the door frame is very narrow on the front, and there is no space on the side where the door rest.(picture attached

    of the actual mezuza that should be re installed - N 1070547)

    2. We have french doors that face our patio, should we install the mezuzot on the inside or outside of our home while we enter from the patio? if they are inside they will actually be covered by curtains which I do not want to, and will make it difficult to be kissed while we enter. If there is to be installed outside there is no space in the frame, unless it goes vertical but the space is very narrow. (kindly check pictures inside and outside french doors)

    3. The 2/3 of the door frame are counted from the outside level of the door frame or the inside?

    4. Parchment should be rolled covering the all the script so there are no letters viewed from the outside?

    We are of sephardic heritage. Thanks in advance for your answers.

    Diego Benbassat

    Answer:

    Dear Diego,

    1. It's ok to put the mezuzah where you have it in the photo.

    2. I'm assuming that the patio you mention is enclosed, and one does not enter from the street into the house via this patio. There is a difference of opinion about whether an enclosed patio requires a mezuzah at all and it if does, on which side to put it.

    Since you are of Sephardic heritage, I would suggest following the position of Rav Ovadia Yosef, the leading Sephardic authority today. His view is that an enclosed patio does not require a mezuzah at all - but if you wish to put one up anyway, put it up without a blessing, and on the right side as you enter the patio from the house. It would be preferable to put it inside, as we generally put the mezuzah as close as possible to the "outside" of the room you're entering (in this case, the patio). I've discussed why at length here .

    Since this answer may go on a website, I would add that what I do in my home is to follow the view of the (Ashkenazi) Chazon Ish, that the mezuzah should be placed on the right side as you enter the house from patio. This is disputed, but was the view of my personal teacher as well.

    3. The 2/3 should be measured from the level of the floor below where the mezuzah is placed.

    4. The rolled parchment should ideally cover all the script.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    189. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I live in a 2 family house. it has one outside door leading to our apartments. On my apartment door I’m sure i must have one. i put one on the outside door because the owner didn't live in his apartment. He has now moved back in. Do i need to take it down now that they live there?

    Answer:

    Dear friend,

    There are two views about whether there is a need for a mezuzah on the outside door if both Jews and non-Jews live within. Since in your case the mezuzah is already up, there is no need to take it down, unless you fear that it will be treated with disrespect.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    190. Question:

    Rabbi,

    I have a couple of doorposts that I do not know how to address.

    1. I have a large walk in closet off my bedroom. The door opens into the bedroom. The hinges are on the Left but when the door is closed its flush with the door/post/wall on the right side. If I enter the closet I would be able to hang the Mezuzah on the right side as there is plenty of doorpost.

    2. I have a door from the garden into a screen in porch. This metal door is flush with the screened in porch walls.

    3. I have a door from the kitchen into a laundry room. The door opens into the laundry room. If I close the door and I am standing in the laundry room. The right side of the post has the hinges. While I was told you should put it on the side of the door that is for the more important room. It does not seem to work unless I put it in on the right going into the laundry room.

    Thanks in advance.

    Getzy

    Answer:

    Dear Getzy,

    1. Hang the mezuzah on the doorpost on the right, even if it is within the space of the door when closed.

    2. If you have no doorpost in the screened-in porch on which you can place the mezuzah, place it outside the door to the right as you enter.

    3. The prevalent custom is to not put up a mezuzah at the entrance to a laundry room.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    191. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I have just moved into a flat that has a screen door. The actual doorpost is between the screen door and the proper door. The screen doorframe sits flush with the outside wall.

    So where do I hang the mezuzah?

    Thank you for your kind assistance.

    Warm regards,

    Dara

    Answer:

    Dear Dara,

    The mezuzah should be on the doorpost, between the screen door and the proper door.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    192. Question:

    Shalom,

    I was told of a verse that is said while placing right hand on Mezuzah when leaving the house. This is a Sephardic practice.

    I have tried to transliterate the verse in English. It is "El Shaddai IshMayRayNee MeeAaySeyR HaRah, OOMeeKol Sarah Ve'Sukkah Amen."

    Would you please tell me from where this verse is taken from? Is it from the Torah, or from the Book of Psalms or from the Proverbs?

    Thanks in advance for taking my Question.

    Sincerely,

    Eli Gadkar.

    Answer:

    Dear Eli,

    It's not from any verse that I am aware of. It seems to be based on Psalms 121:8, but it's not the same text.

    There is an Ashkenazi practice quoted in the Rema to say Psalms 121:8, but changing the second person to the first person:
    "The LORD shall guard *my* going out and *my* coming in, from this time forth and for ever."

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    193. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    Hello Rav, I have a dear close friend who is a Orthodox Jew (I am a devout conservative Christian) and I want to give him Mezuzah as a gift for him and his wife and children. I'm currently stationed in Afghanistan and have a local jeweler I'm working with to fabricate a beautiful piece for the family using locally sourced gem stones, silver, and brass was thinking polished brass with a inlay of lapis lazuli and silver/precious stone accents. My question is this, are there specific dimensions I need to follow for this item? I want it to be correct in every way so that he may use it in his home thank you sir.

    -Respectfully

    Brian K Ballard FOB Airborne Afghanistan

    Answer:

    Dear Brian,

    There are no specific required dimensions, but I would suggest leaving space for a scroll of 12 cm height and about 3 centimeters width minimum. The scroll is usually no bigger than that.

    Much success in your mission and may you return home safely.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    194. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I am writing a letter to a famous Rav -what initials do I write after his name

    Many thanks

    Answer:

    Dear Anita,

    A commonly used title is "shlita", or in Hebrew שליט"א (which you can read only if your computer has a Hebrew font). It's an acronym for "may you have a long and good life".

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    195. Question:

    Dear Sofer,

    My friend just bought a new apartment in Jerusalem. I was thinking of buying her a mezuzah here in the US and bringing it over.

    She is extremely observant. Will she accept my mezuzah?

    Best,

    Robin

    Answer:

    Dear Robin,

    It's hard to say, not knowing your friend. If you want to be on the safer side, buy just the decorative container, without the scroll, and let her purchase the scroll from whoever she regards as reliable. I'd suggest getting a container which can hold a scroll of 12 or at least 10 centimeters high. Scrolls smaller than that can also be kosher, but the larger ones are easier for scribes to write, and are less likely to have problems.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    196. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I am an art student, and I was given my own studio space. Its a room with a very open doorway and the walls do not go up to the ceiling. I had to pay a yearly studio fee. Do I need to put up a mezuzah? If I do, how long do I have to put it up? Is it 30 days from when I actually "moved in" or from when the space was officially available for me?

    Also, I have mezuzahs that were checked a couple of years ago, but have been sitting on a shelf. Do they need to be rechecked?

    Thank you and ksiva vachasima Tova.

    Leah

    Answer:

    Dear Leah,

    You don't have to put up a mezuzah in the studio space. It's something between a dorm room and a classroom, neither of which require you to put up a mezuzah. I've written about dorm rooms here.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    197. Question:

    Dear Friend,

    I just had the mezuzot in my house checked. When I put them back up, do I need to say a bracha? And if so, do I need a bracha for each one or one bracha will suffice.

    Thanks!

    Answer:

    Dear Mitchell,

    If they are taken down for checking, and reposted the same day, the practice is not to say a bracha.If they are replaced at any subsequent time, say a bracha.

    If any of the mezuzot was disqualified, then even on the same day say a bracha on the door from which it came. If care was not taken when removing the mezuzot to distinguish from which door each was taken, then even if one is disqualified, don't make the bracha on the same day when rehanging them. If there are multiple doors requiring a bracha, say the bracha on one door with intention for all of them and then hang all the mezuzot without interruptions.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    198. Question:

    Hi Rabbi,

    I am a Jew but I have a non- Jewish friend that I have been in love with for over 52 Years. She has said she loves me also. I want to give her a Mezuzah Pendant Necklace, as symbol of our Love for each other and our Love for “G-d “would this be OK, she is hesitant about wearing it, since she is not Jewish, But I told her that it is OK, but she wants something in writing from a person of authority to say it’s OK. My wife died in April of 2010 and Marie is the person that helped me get thru that, and gave me a reason for living again. I want very much for Marie to wear the Necklace and I know she would if you said it was OK.

    John

    Answer:

    Dear John,

    It's important to note that the commandment of mezuzah is for homes only, and not for necklaces.

    That said, Marie is correct that a necklace with a sacred scroll in it is not the same as any other gift. A sacred scroll must be treated with special respect: it cannot be worn when entering the bathroom, it should not be in a room where there is sexual activity unless the scroll is double-wrapped, it cannot be thrown away. For this reason, I would discourage giving a pendant with a mezuzah scroll as a gift to Marie. Additionally, I think that my remarks here about the mezuzah as a symbol of Jewish identity are relevant. I would not encourage a non-Jew to wear a symbol which implies that s/he is Jewish. Marie seems to have intuited this by her hesitation to wear this Jewish symbol, when she's not Jewish. I am sure that in her sensitivity and caring, Marie would appreciate your showing your feelings with a special gift that avoids the halachic complications of giving a mezuzah scroll, and that does not make a statement of Jewish identity.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    199. Question:

    Hello Rabbi,

    I was wondering if married to a non-jewish husband is it proper to have mezuzah on all my doors? I do have them regardless since we do have a kosher and jewish house I was wondering what the thinking is on this subject? Our children were raised jewish as well.

    2nd. I have read that I do not have to have a mezuzah on my garages doors but, I currently do, should I remove them? I was planning to replace them since I noticed two were wet and one was torn.

    3rd. I have lived in my home for seven and half years and have not had them checked. Does the indoors need to be checked since they are better protected from the elements i.e. heat, cold, and rain as often as the outdoors.

    Thanks,

    Karen

    Answer:

    Dear Karen,

    1. Yes, it is proper for you to have mezuzot on your doors, since you and your children are Jewish.

    2. Yes, it would be better to remove them from the garage.

    3. One should check mezuzot once every three and a half years. You are correct that the outdoor mezuzot are more likely to be damaged by the elements. For this reason the halachic authority Aruch Hashulchan wrote that if there is a likelihood that moisture got on the scroll, such as in humid climates, it should be checked more frequently.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    200. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    Hi, I was born & raised Catholic, yet I am not 100% practicing nor devote, meaning I dont attend church every Sunday, I say my prayers 2-3 x's per week before bed, I do have a crucifix above my headboard.
    
My question is; am I allowed to kiss the Mezuzah??
    
I recently (jst this week) started a new job :-) & my bosses (husband & wife) are devote & practicing Jews. I noticed the touch kiss of the Mezuzah & decided to find out more about it.
I looked it up, found out what it is called, realize it is NOT for good luck, but for blessings of all within, its there to remind us of our commandments, religion.
    
With all this being said, is it ok for me to touch then kiss my fingers upon entering??
    
I have been tempted to do this yet I dont want to offend my bosses or any religion, I figure if I do its for this reason only; blessings of the business, my job, all within, & respect to God.
    
Thank you for your time & reaponse.

    Mati

    Answer:

    Dear Mati,

    I don't see any offence in your "touch-kiss"-ing the mezuzah, since you are doing it out of respect for the practice, and I do not know of any sources in the traditional texts, which would see any problem with it. Still, since non-Jews don't commonly do this, I would suggest that you consult your bosses first to make sure that they are not taken aback or offended.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    201. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    Can a kosher mezuzah scroll be trimmed carefully along the edges, without touching the letters to fit a smaller mezuzah case and still remain kosher?

    Thank you,

    Ben, South Miami Florida

    Answer:

    Dear Ben,

    The space you need for the margins of a mezuzah are as follows:

    - For the top and bottom: the size of half of a fingernail. This is from the Talmud, and the idea is that you should be able to hold the mezuzah from the top and bottom without touching the script.

    - For the right side: enough space to wrap around the rolled-up scroll, after you roll it from left to right.

    - For the left side: no need to leave any space, as long as the letters aren't touching the edge.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    202. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    We are moving to a new home and renting out the flat (apartment) that we currently live in and own to non-Jewish tenants. Are we allowed to take the mezzuzot with us?

    Thanks,

    Dawn (London)

    Answer:

    Dear Dawn,

    Yes, according to the Halachah, you are allowed and encouraged to take the mezuzot with you.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    203. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    The mezuzah in our bedroom is from our wedding day. We will be moving to a new home and I plan to replace it when I take it off.

    My question is this: can I hang it up in our new bedroom doorway?

    Thank you.

    Eva

    Answer:

    Dear Eva,

    No problem to replace the mezuzah and hang in the new bedroom doorway.

    Best wishes on your move,

    Eliyahu



    204. Question:

    Dear Rav-

    We are moving to a home that was owned by a Gentile and our rental will be inhabited by Gentiles when we leave; may we remove our mezuzot to affix to our home's doorways (there are several)

    Thank you for speedy reply- G-d willing we will move July 31st-

    The Ben-David Family

    Answer:

    Dear Ben-David Family,

    Yes, it is permitted and recommended for you to move the mezuzot to your new home.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    205. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    Why aren’t mezuzahs put on windows????

    Thank you for your time and consideration!!

    Laurie

    Answer:

    The technical answer would be this: the Torah's commandment is to write the words of Torah on your doorposts ("mezuzot" in Hebrew). Since the Hebrew words "mezuzot" means the doorway, this excludes windows.

    The principle behind this, though, is to achieve awareness of G-d's protection "when you go out and when you come in" (Psalms 121:8). Since we usually don't go in and out through windows, putting mezuzot on doorways would be more appropriate.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    206. Question:

    Hello Eliyahu,

    I am wondering, since I have a mezuzah on my own door frame, I have always kissed my hand and placed it on my mezuzah along with a quick prayer from time to time; yesterday when I knocked on someone's door, I noticed they also had a mezuzah. Upon seeing it, I didn't know whether I should do as what I sometimes do to my own. What and how must I acknowledge a stranger's mezuzah on their front door when they answer the doorbell or door knock?

    -Adrian

    Answer:

    Dear Adrian,

    Your custom has ancient roots in the story of Talmudic story of Onkelos, as I've written about here. It is not obligatory, but if you do touch the mezuzah, it seems reasonable to do the same for someone else's mezuzah as well.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    207. Question:

    Hi Rabbi,

    I just moved into a new building and I am renting an apartment with other single girls. We have mezuzahs on all the doors in our apartment and on the door of the apartment building, however I noticed that there aren't Mezuzahs affixed on the archways inside the building that lead to the apartments. Is it my responsibility to place a Mezuzah there since I don't own the actual building, I am just renting an apartment. I think the landlord is Jewish although I'm not sure how to contact him, but there are also non Jewish tenants in the builidng.

    Thank you for your time,

    Leah

    Answer:

    Dear Leah,

    You might try to clarify if the landlord is Jewish. If s/he is, the you should put up mezuzah(s) in the places you asked about.

    If s/he is not Jewish, note that there is a disagreement among the authorities about whether property jointly owned by Jews and non-Jews requires a mezuzah. Generally the practice is to put up the mezuzah(s), unless it could lead to serious quarrels ("eivah" in Hebrew).

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    208. Question:

    Hello Rabbi,

    I came across your website from Google and was wondering if you could help me regarding the placement of some mezuzot?

    If you have both a sliding patio door and a normal door, do you need to put mezuzot on both doors? The sliding door opens onto an outdoor space.

    Kind regards,

    Emma

    Answer:

    Dear Emma,

    Check here to see what I wrote about sliding doors. If there is another door that opens to the same room, that door requires a mezuzah as well.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    209. Question:

    My daughter’s friend bought a house and inside the doorframe is a mezuzah. They are not Jewish but kept it there for its meaning.in the near future they are going to be replacing the door and the doorframe, what is the proper and respectful thing to do with the mezuzah? Thank you in advance for your help.

    Thank You,

    Dee

    Answer:

    Dear Dee,

    If the mezuzah is still kosher, someone else can use it. If not, someone should take it to the local "genizah", a storage place for unusable sacred objects, which are later buried. Try to bring the mezuzah to a local observant Jew or Rabbi, who can either have the mezuzah checked, or can bring it to a "genizah".

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    210. Question:

    Dear Rabbi

    I have separated from my wife, we sold the house and while nobody is living there yet, the new owners are gentiles. I am living with a new woman now. My wife did not want the mezuzah and told me to take it if I want to. I am wondering if I can use it in the new apartment that I am currently renting. I am not religious but the mezuzah and other traditions have always been important to me.

    Thanks,

    Danny

    Answer:

    Dear Danny,

    Yes, you can use the mezuzah in your new apartment.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    211. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    Is there a special prayer to say when hanging a Mezuzah on the door frame of a baby’s room?

    Thanks,

    Deanna

    Answer:

    Dear Deanna,

    There is no special prayer that I know of. So if you want to be creative, go for it!

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    212. Question:

    Hello Rabbi,

    I just rented an apartment and it has been more than 30 days, about 60 days….i have not yet put up my mezuzah but will do so soon, is this bad luck? What can I do if I am putting it up later than 30 days to secure my place is still “safe.”

    Jennifer

    Answer:

    Dear Jennifer,

    If you're renting an apartment, you should make sure the mezuzot are up before 30 days have passed. (In Israel, you don't have the 30-day grace period, but you should do it immediately.) But if the period has passed, and you didn't get around to putting them up yet, you should still put them up. Even if you put the mezuzot up late, the "guarding" that the mezuzot provide will still be there from then on.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    213. Question:

    Hello Rabbi,

    We are in the process of securing a contract for a rental appt (in israel) for next year and the people who own the appt (future landlords) have just one mezzuzah on the front door. They don't want us to use nails or tape to affix our own mezzuzot on the rest of the door lintels because they don't want to leave marks on the paint. what do you suggest? Would it be ok to wrap the scroll in plastic and affix it with plasticene or something that won't pull off the paint afterwards? This is the last (but not least!) issue remaining in our contract negotiation so i hope it won't become a deal breaker!

    Thank you in advance.

    Debra

    Answer:

    Dear Debra,

    It's ok to use any material that will keep the mezuzah from coming off easily. Whatever you use, make sure the mezuzah is fastened on both top and bottom, so that it doesn't swing back and forth.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    214. Question:

    Dear R. Yaniger

    Firstly - thank you for your comprehensive advice in your replies to date.

    My questions - some of our Mezuzoth have been taken down to redecorate and I am wondering whether to make the Beracha when I replace them?

    Also - when fixing numerous Mezuzoth in the same house -presumably one only says the Beracha once?

    Regards,

    Geofreey

    Answer:

    Dear Geofreey,

    If you have the mezuzot down for more than a day, you should say a Beracha when replacing the mezuzot. (This is the view of the halachic work "Aruch Hashulchan".)

    You are correct that when putting up numerous mezuzot in the same house you say only one Beracha, if you are putting them all up one right after the other. If you're putting up some now, and some a while later, the ones you put up later require a separate Beracha.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    215. Question:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I live in a 2 family house. It has one outside door leading to our apartments. On my apartment door I’m sure I must have one. I put one on the outside door cause the owner didn't live in his apartment. He has now moved back in. Do I need to take it down now that they live there?

    Thanks

    Answer:

    Dear friend,

    There are two views about whether there is a need for a mezuzah on the outside door if both Jews and non-Jews live within. Since in your case the mezuzah is already up, there is no need to take it down, unless you fear that it will be treated with disrepect.

    Best wishes,

    Eliyahu



    About the Sofer

    Rabbi Eliyahu Yaniger is an expert Torah scribe. He has taught in the Maimonides School in Boston, as well as in various yeshivot and post high-school programs in Israel. He lives with his family in Efrat, Israel. There he works as a sofer stam.
     
    © Baal Shem Tov Foundation 2003