How to Put Up a Mezuzah
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How to roll a mezuzah:
The first step in preparing to put up your mezuzah is to wrap the klaf, scroll, in waxed or other greaseproof paper to provide an inner protective covering. Cut a piece of wax paper about one-half the width of the klaf and two to three centimeters (one inch) taller than the klaf. Place the mezuzah face up on a solid table or counter-top with the wax paper you have prepared halfway underneath the right side of the klaf and protruding equally above and below it. Starting from the left side, roll the klaf to create a narrow tube, being very careful not to flatten or crease the klaf. As you are rolling, when you reach the wax paper roll it up together with the last two or three rolls of klaf. When you're done, the Hebrew letters shin, daled and yud on the reverse of the klaf must be visible on the outside of the rolled klaf which will now be completely encased by the wax paper. Carefully twist and fold over the excess wax paper at the top and bottom of the rolled mezuzah, being sure you do not bend the klaf, and tape the wax paper in place.
Caution! Never put tape or glue directly on the klaf, as this may damage it. Do not wrap the klaf with plastic film, cling film or plastic wrap as any of these may allow moisture to condense inside. Other acceptable wrapping materials include plain plastic bags or paper.
There are many factors to keep in mind when choosing a mezuzah cover for a particular door. For more details see our article 3 Purposes of Your Mezuzah Cover. The mezuzah cover you choose must be both long enough and deep enough for the mezuzah scroll to fit in without it being crushed, creased or rolled too tightly. Place the scroll in the cover with the three Hebrew letters facing outwards near the top as pictured here. Close the mezuzah cover securely so the scroll cannot fall out.
Which doors and rooms need a mezuzah?
Every doorway of every room in a Jewish home needs a mezuzah, with only a few exceptions, even if that doorway is never used. A doorway is defined as an entrance way having two doorposts and a lintel (top piece) either square or arched. This rule also applies to all the doorways of every room in any building or space owned or rented by a Jew, even if the room is not used for living space, but as an office, store, factory, or for storage. Note however, that a bracha is only made when putting up a mezuzah in a home.
Doorways that require a mezuzah that are sometimes overlooked include:
- Large walk-in closets
- Laundry room
- Porches and balconies
- The room into which the doorway leads must measure at least 2 square meters (6 square feet). This is equivalent to 4 square amot (plural). An amah (singular) is a standard biblical measurement that is approximately 50 centimeters (20 inches). Small closets are thus generally exempt.
- Never put a mezuzah on a doorway leading to an unclean room or space such as a bathroom or an area where people are dressed immodestly such as indoor saunas, swimming pools or the like.
How to put up a mezuzah:
The word mezuzah itself means doorpost: the mezuzah must be attached to the actual doorpost. Put the mezuzah on the doorframe on the right side of the doorway as one enters the room. The proper height for the mezuzah is to have the bottom of the mezuzah cover just above the lowest point of the upper third of the doorway. The Ashkenazic custom is to attach the mezuzah with its top slanted toward the room one is entering. The Sefardic custom is to attach the mezuzah straight vertically.
The mezuzah case must be attached firmly to the doorframe so that it doesn't move or swing. We recommend using screws rather than nails for putting up mezuzot. When the mezuzah must be taken down for regular checks in the future, screws can easily be removed without damaging the cover or the scroll inside. If the mezuzah location or material of the doorframe is not suitable for using screws or nails, permanent-bond glue such as contact cement, silicon or epoxy should be used. Most poskim, rabbinical authorities also permit the use of double-sided mounting tape. Standard household cellophane tape is not permitted because it won't hold the mezuzah firmly on the door frame for very long. It eventually dries out and the mezuzah falls off. Other strong types of tape such as duct tape may be used, but only if nothing else more satisfactory is available.
Bracha for a mezuzah:
A bracha is only made when putting up a mezuzah in a home. Just before attaching the mezuzah to a doorway in a home, after preparing everything and with tool in hand, the person putting up the mezuzah says the following bracha:
Sefardic transliteration: “Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha-olam asher kideshanu b’-mitzvotav ve-tzivanu likboah mezuzah.”
Ashkenazi transliteration: “Boruch ato adonoi eloheinu melech ho-olam asher kideshanu b’-mitzvosov ve-tzivonu likboah mezuzah.”
Translation:Blessed are You, G~d, our G~d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His mitzvot, and commanded us to affix the mezuza.
If you are putting up several mezuzot in one house, one bracha is sufficient for all of them. It is preferable to make the bracha on the mezuzah being attached to the main entrance. You should not talk from the time the bracha is made until the last mezuzah is attached, except for matters that concern the mitzvah itself such as asking for a screw or a screwdriver, etc.
Once the mezuzah is up, it must remain on the doorway. Even if you vacate the premises you must leave the mezuzot on the doorways unless you know for certain that the new occupants are non-Jews. According to the Kaballah it is dangerous for the person who removes the mezuzot to leave the house without the spiritual protection they provide.
The laws about mezuzah: which doorways require a mezuzah, where and how to put up a mezuzah, how often and how to check them, and when you are permitted to remove them are very intricate. If you have questions about any of the laws of mezuzah email them to us at mezuzot@HaSOFER.com and we will answer you as quickly as possible.
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