This brief lesson is composed and provided by Neal and Elly Nelson of AwesomeLamb.com and the Awesome Store.
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Copyright © 2010-14 Neal Nelson and Ellyn Marshall-Nelson
What, Exactly, is a Mezuzah?
A mezuzah (meh-zoo-zah) is a means of fulfilling the instructions imposed by God upon the Israelites regarding the behavior of believers in the one God, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (renamed Israel by God). As with the Ten Commandments, these statutes are the gift of a blueprint to successful living...and more. These conditional promises given by God are quite literally a treasure house holding the keys to prosperity and security, health and well being.
And for those reading who believe that those who have come to a greater love for God through Y’shua ha’Maschiyach, (Jesus the Messiah), then you believe as well, that you are grafted in to the family of Abraham and heirs along with His chosen.
Acknowledging that the branch is grafted in to the root and not the other way around, it is in the best interest of any believer to not only study the direction given to mankind in Torah, but to embrace the teachings wholeheartedly. Y'shua himself said that He did not come to change one jot nor one tittle of the teachings, but to fulfill (to be the embodiment of) Torah.
The Treasure House with 3 Parts
Mezuzah means "door post"
The plural is mezuzot (me-zoo-zot). Click the image to hear pronunciations.
And you shall write [the words that I command you today] on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. -Deuteronomy 6:9, 11:19
When God brought the descendants of Abraham through Jacob (renamed “Israel” by the LORD), up out of slavery in Egypt, He used Moses to teach His ways to His chosen people - the people designated to bear witness to His Power and Glory, Infinite Mercy and Love. They were instructed to never forget that He, the author of all that is, is God and none other. They and their descendants were and are to keep a remembrance of the truth of this before their eyes and on their doorposts, to have the remembrance bound upon their hands.
Each day--every day that he or she lives, a Jew speaks aloud on rising and on going to bed the words given by God to Moses, never to be forgotten: it is known as "the Shema", from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21
Part 1 of the Mezuzah - A small scroll containing this instruction from the LORD. This is the core part of what is called a mezuzah.
Hear, O Israel! The LORD our God, the LORD is One.
(some Hebrew translations read: Hear, O Israel, The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.)
And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your might.
Impress upon your heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. Teach them to your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you rise up and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead; and you shall write them on the mezuzot of your houses and on your gates.
If then, you obey the mitzvot (commandments given out of love, as a parent would enjoin a child to take care against dangers), that I command you today, to Love your God and to serve Him with all your heart, and with all your soul—then I will provide rain for your land at its season, the early and late rains and you shall gather your grain, your wine, and your oil. I will provide grass in your field for your livestock, and you will eat and be satisfied. Beware lest your heart be seduced, and you turn astray and serve other gods, and bow to them. and the wrath of God will hit you, and He will restrain the heaven and there will be no rain, and the land will cease giving its produce, and you will swiftly be lost from upon the good earth that I give you— to the end that you and your children may endure, in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to assign them, as long as there is a heaven over the earth.
The reverse side of the scroll bears the name of God with the letter “Shin” (sheen) s visible — reminding us of His Name, Shaddai, often translated as Almighty, but meaning more closely, Dispenser of Benefits. It is the Hebrew letter that carries in its meaning “relentless pursuit” and “steadfastness” — as representing God’s steadfastness in providing for us and watching over us.. (For more insights into the hidden meanings in the letters of the Hebrew Alephbet, be sure to visit AwesomeLamb.com and click on "what the Letters Mean", or see the tools at the Awesome Store.
The scroll must be handwritten on special kosher parchment made of a thinly shaved hide and preserved by means known to an elite group through generations upon generations. The script must be exact, written by a certified “sofer” (scribe), with specially prepared ink whose formula is known only to scribes. When a scroll, whether a Torah scroll or a mezuzah scroll, is being written, a scribe first washes his hands. Before dipping the quill into the ink, he prepares himself with prayer and thoughtful consideration of each of the letters. He approaches the process with what would be called in Hebrew, Yir-at Shamayim.
A literal translation would be “fear of Heaven”. The concept is “with deep respect and reverence for God”. The scribe will speak aloud each letter, releasing, as it were, the force of the meaning in the letter. You have the links above which will help to clarify the releasing of the power in Hebrew letters…even as God spoke all things into existence through the letters aleph-tav. So, the force of the blessing of prosperity and security in the Shema is, in effect, in the letters themselves.
There are sources abounding that offer inexpensive mezuzot with scrolls in them prepared on paper with printers’ ink or even computer generated. These scrolls are worthless and insulting, for they have not been prepared with kavana —another Hebrew word meaning: to give weight to and thus have great deliberation and intention.
Proper scrolls are expensive, ranging from $30-$80 depending on the size of the mezuzah case that enclosed them and the elaborateness of the script.
According to traditional authorities, mechanically printed scrolls do not fulfill the mitzvah of the mezuzah, nor does an empty case. Be very careful to obtain a scroll written by a certified sofer.
Hear Yirat Shamayim
Hear mezuzah and mezuzot
Mezuzah cases come in a variety of sizes and materials. Since the mezuzot that will be affixed to the door posts leading into your home will be subject to weather...it is wise to choose your outdoor mezuzot with that in mind, assuring that moisture cannot enter and the material will be weather resistant.
The size of a mezuzah, is generally listed as 2.5”, 4”, 5” or 6”. This is usually not the size of the case, but of the scroll that will reside inside. The scroll is rolled tightly with the s side facing out. Every case has provision for the mezuzah to be affixed with nails or double-sided adhesive.
The case and scroll are then nailed or affixed at an angle to the right side doorpost as you enter the building or room, with a small ceremony called Chanukkat Ha’Beit (dedication of the house). And yes, this word has the same origin as Chanukah, the holiday celebrating the re-dedication of the Temple. A brief blessing is recited.
“Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to affix a mezuzah.”
Hebrew transliteration: Ba-ruch At-ta A-do-nai, E-lo-hey-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam, A-sher Kid-shai-nu Be-mitz-vo-tav, Ve-tiz-va-nu Lik-bo-ah Me-zu-zah
Part 3 of the Mezuzah — Your interaction with the mezuzah
Part 2 of the Mezuzah - the mezuzah case
Even as God has given us life, we must live it. How we live it either honors God or dishonors Him. So it is with the blessing He has given that is then prepared with love, respect and awe for the Giver of All Blessings and affixed to our doorposts as a sign that we honor and revere Him. Our God is a God of action. He says He will do a thing if we do a thing. If the things we do honor Him, then He will lavishly pour out His abundance upon our lives. He has said so.
Our relationship with God is clearly a glorious partnership, but not an equal one. He asks so little of us. Our part is reiterated quite simply in the book of the prophet Micah, chapter 6 and verse 8 in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and standard English translations.
The Hebrew translated reads:
8) He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you:
Only to do justice (more literally, to comprehend and love what is right according to the 10 mitzvot – the Ten Commandments - and engage in doing what is right),
And to love goodness (more literally, since the Hebrew word is chesed, to love mercy and love being merciful, even as He is merciful toward us),
And to walk modestly with your God. (the Hebrew intimates deferring to His wisdom)
9)Then will your name achieve wisdom. (then you will be seen by God as having achieved wisdom and your name will be synonymous with having wisdom).
Author's note: This simple passage speaks so much more about who we are to be and how we are to live – yet it is rarely emphasized in my recollections of a life-time of church-going. I hope you can see how learning the Hebrew-at least enough to expand upon the limited translations in our Bibles-can fire the passion of our souls for God. I encourage you to explore the possibilities at the Awesome Store (that's why it's called “Awesome”!
Every time you pass through a door with a mezuzah on it, you touch the mezuzah and then kiss the fingers that touched it, expressing love and respect for God and his mitzvot and reminding yourself of the mitzvot contained within them.
It is proper, even imperative, that you remove a mezuzah when you move from one home or apartment to another. If you were to leave it in place, the subsequent owner may, out of ignorance, treat it with disrespect, dishonoring God – and you would be party to it. Such disrespect is unconscionable.
At least every seven years, you should check the scroll to make certain that the parchment has not cracked nor any of the ink of the letters is broken.
NEVER throw away a damaged scroll. Take the scroll to a Rabbi at a nearby synagogue or congregation. Such scrolls are collected and retired with a ceremony not dissimilar to a funeral. Every Hebrew letter is believed to have a body, mind and soul, to be revered as highly as a living being.
Are You Wondering Why the Mezuzah is Affixed at an Angle?
It is said that Rabbis could not agree on whether it should be affixed vertically or horizontally, so they compromised. It is good that men can compromise on small issues — it is better that HaShem does not compromise, but assures His blessing on those who follow His mitzvot, yes?
You can find these mezuzot cases and more at the Awesome Store Holyland Connection as well kosher scrolls prepared by certified soferim (scribes).
You can find items like these as well:
Don't miss the fabulous menorahs | the 100% raw silk tallits, hand-woven by the Gabrieli family in Old Joppa, for both men and women | silk wall hangings by Israeli artist Yair Emanuel that will bless your home | and anointing oils and perfumes.
You'll find them all at our Holyland Connections
And Follow the Link below to discover the awesome tools we've found that will give you the wisdom to understand the hidden mysteries in the Hebrew Letters and explode your understanding of the Bible. They will surely ignite a new passion for the Word of God.
“Let your heart be in touch with Israel”
Mezuzah 101: is available in a pdf format along with an MP3 audio. Just scroll to the bottom for the link.
Hear Chanukkat Ha'Beit
Let this be your mindset if you, as a Christian who loves Torah, choose to affix a mezuzah or mezuzot to your home or apartment. The affixing of a mezuzah is not in any way to be construed as putting up some good luck charm.
Bear in mind that Adonai knows a fraud -- whether it is a fraudulent, and therefore powerless scroll that does no honor to Him, or a person speaking devotion and living in a way that dishonors Him. Remember the words of Joshua, take them to the depths of your heart and mind with understanding. This is the formula that invites the blessings of Adonai.
...But I and my household will serve the LORD.
Mezuzah 101: The Treasure House of Incalculable Blessing is now available in a pdf format at no cost. Just click the button to join the Friends of Awesome Lamb and get the pdf along with an MP3 audio of the entire page...and more!
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