The Jewish Doorpost

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk



A mezuzah is a container made of metal or of wood which contains a parchment scroll containing words derived from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-24, handwritten by a scribe or sofer.  The verse “…and you shall inscribe these words upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates” refer to “Shema Yisroel Adonay Elohaynu Adonay Echod.”  Hear, Israel, the Lord Our God is One” and “You shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Mezuzahs are found in every Jewish home and business establishment. They are placed on the right side doorpost as one enters the house or room. The  mezuzah is placed shoulder high at a slant with the top pointing to the inside of the house.

On the back of the mezuzah is the name of God using the Hebrew letters Shin, Daled Yood, meaning “Guardian of the doors of Israel.”  The word mezuzah means doorpost.

One of the chapters of the Talmud is called “Mezuzah” because it deals with the manner in which the mezuzah is to be written and used.

Some people believe that the mezuzah is an amulet which protects all inhabitants of a house from all evil. Others view this belief as a superstition among ignorant people.

This dispute was tested in Germany during the Nazi era, when Jewish homes were easily identified by the mezuzah at the door.

The mezuzah is undoubtedly a reminder that one enters a Jewish home and that belief in one God is the very foundation of Judaism.

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including The German Jews in America (2014).

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