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Symbols and Traditions 


The Mezuzah

Written by Jaakov, B. Orban:


The original signification of the word mezuzah is: Doorpost (Exodus 12,7)
The word indicates this object, kind of little box containing the parchment on which the words of the Torah are registered and which is placed on the right post of the doors of Jewish homes turned towards the heart of the house. 
In the Torah, we find the instructions concerning its placement: ”Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.!.... And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates." (Deuteronomy 6, 4.9.) 
It is placed on the doorpost of fix living places and not at the entry of bathrooms and toilets… It is generally placed at the first third of the post from the top, to be visible and easily touchable.   
The case can be made of wood, metal, plastic and even of stone. The matter used does not much matter.  
The letters written on it are more important: the letter SHIN the diminutive of the word SHADDAI, or even the inscription of the whole word SHADDAI. This word has different significations: 

-SHADDAI = Almighty, one of the Eternal’s name. It is by this way that we show that our home is under His protection.   

-Shomer Dalet Yisrael = The guardian of Israel’s gate. 

-Referring to Psalm 91 : "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. …" 
Although, the essential thing stands in the inside of the object: a parchment containing two citations over 22 lines : 

-Sh'ma Yizrael..."- Hear Israel...(Dt.6,4-9) 
-V'haya...'-There shall be...(Dt.11,13-21) 
The Sh'ma declares the uniqueness of God that we rememberby the V’haya, His promises and blessings that we receive in case if we remain faithful to His laws. 

We already find the ancestor of the Mezuzah before their coming out of Egypt, when the sons of Israel had to coat their doorposts with the blood of the lamb to escape from the last plague, the one of the Angel of death. According to some ones this ”bloody stamp” was inherited and transmitted on the doors of the further generations protecting the People from the evil. This is the hypothesis that the passage from the Torah written on the little parchment in the inside seems to reinforce. (see above)

The mezuzah, except from being a medicine, is used to maintain our faith in God in our conscience when we return or leave our house, since we touch the text of the Torah each time that we are leaving or regaining our houses.  
The oldest mezuzah which was found, dates from the beginning of our era. They also discovered some during the excavations of Qoumrani, and even Josephus Flavius mentioned it as an old Jewish tradition.  

The placement of the mezuzah on the door marks by the same way the most important action of the inaugural ceremony of the house (Hanuccat Habaït), because the house gets under the protection of God, in condition of course that its inhabitants remain faithful to the commandments that He gave. At this moment in time resounds the following blessing:  
"Baruch ata Adonaj, Elohenou Melech HaOlam, asher kidshanou bemitsvotav vetsinanou likboa mezuzah" 
" Would You be blessed, oh our Eternal God,  King of the World, Who sanctified us by His commands and asked us to place the mezuzah.”

Several years ago, I went to Somron in Samaria in the house of relatives. 
There was a mezuzah on the main entry and also one on the entry of each room of their house. It was natural for me to touch the mezuzah each times that I got in any room. For me, this was the sign that the house is under the protection and the sovereignty of God the Almighty (El Shaddai)
Strangely, this gesture seemed to indicate the same cover and the protection as the one that accompanies me wherever I go or I am in the world, that He is with me… A feeling of peace is inside me because I know that I am under God's protection, I can only be in safety even while sleeping.  

However one day, I was astonished and I started to think… 
I touched the mezuzah with the right hand while entering (not as a fetish, nor an object of sorcery), but when I left to go downtown, I made the same with the left hand that already stands much closer to the heart. 
They told me that I should not do this… 
I was surprised myself by my own answer:  
- Why? The place where I am going  is not also under the sovereignty of El Shaddaï ? 
This way, while leaving the house, I indicated that I wanted to recognize and accept the Almighty’s rule also outside the doors. 
...still today, I want to do this. I would like that all my steps were blessed, no matter I am coming or leaving.   
This is only possible if we live God’s Laws everywhere and anywhere we go, and if we have only one God and Lord.  
Here is what is standing on the parchment contained in the mezuzah:   
The roll (KLAF) reminds us when going on and going in that: ”If you obey my commands…” (Dt.11:13-21), then the Almighty shall be with you… 
The letter Shin Sh. has to be the sign on the door of the hearts of those that are in obedience to Christ and to the Laws of God. 
At the outside just as at the inside…, wherever he is living or being. 

Another signification of the word Mezuzah is rotation (that turns). 
At the time, the frame of the door was a simple beam going inside the ceiling at the top and inside the soil at the bottom, on which the door was fixed in two points and around which it could be opened and closed. It stood for a rotation axis. 

Then a very important question has to be asked:  
Who is the unique axis of rotation around Which all our life has to be centered? 
What does this mezuzah hanged on the door means to us?  

Where can we hang a mezuzah? 

Thanks to the Lord, more and more among us are moving to new apartments and houses.  
The question rises then, can we hang this sign anywhere where somebody is living, the letter SHIN, the initial of the name of God (Shaddai) as the testimony of his faith?   

The first question that should really be asked is… 
If someone is not free from his parents or anybody else, and that among those people from whom he is not free, anyone thinks having the right to intervene in his life, is this person allowed to offer his shelter to God? 
Because if somebody treats me as a slave, then all I possess is also his propriety and under his rule.  

Could someone living as a slave or ”just” under a jesabelian rule decide freely?  
Or should I be first free myself to be able to submit freely whatever between the hands of God?  

Why should we put a mezuzah?  

All the decisions born in the heart of someone and got to an engagement have also to appear and to be demonstrated in the visible world so that others should also be the witnesses of it.  
The word pronounced in spirit has to become acts in the visible world.   
If is was not like this, the wedding, the presentation of the baby, the baptism and many other ceremonies would not make any sense since these decisions have already been taken in front of God in spirit…
But where are the witnesses, the testimonies and the signs that are visible from the outside?  

We were not born in caves such as bats but well such as the testimonies of God that should be shown to all men in the world!

Indeed, even an alliance ring brings a security in front of the adulteries since I signal with it that I already decided and that I am engaged with somebody.  

The mezuzah is also a visible decision and a statement of faith principally realized in our hearths.  
In this precise case, it is a matter of showing my belonging to my People, the Jewish People…


Translated from hungarian by Richard (Zeev Shlomo)

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