Why a Mezuzah?

I saw a discussion on Twitter today about mezuzot. The participants were arguing about the purpose of the mezuzah: what’s it for?

They were arguing because they thought there could be only one right answer. In my opinion, there are many possible right answers but we each should know why we have chosen to perform this mitzvah!

Some possible right answers:

  • Because it is commanded in Deuteronomy 4:9
  • Because it marks a building as Jewish space
  • Because it marks my home as sacred space
  • Because it reminds us of the commandments
  • Because it reminds us of the Shema
  • Because my ancestors had one at their door
  • Because it is a Jewish tradition

Why do you fasten a mezuzah to your doorpost? Is it one of the reasons above, or something else?

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at http://coffeeshoprabbi.com/ and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

8 thoughts on “Why a Mezuzah?”

  1. Because it joins me to the identity of all other Jews, in our work: tikkun olam.

  2. It is my personal affirmation of my identity and beliefs.

    Three years ago I wrote a blog post about my mezuzot on my blog. You reminded me about it. When we see something that reminds us of what we know already it makes it “alive” again! (I went to read the post once more even though I am the one who wrote it I could not say what the words were exactly).

    So does entering my home and passing my doorpost each time I do see my mezuzah: it reminds me of important reminders that I know but can be reminded of ten or more times a day: that I am loved and cared for in the universe because I can go freely and breathe and do good deeds and acts of kindness, that miracles abound, and that I have a role to play in this life with my own talents and gifts.

  3. It reminds me that i’m a Jew and when visitors enter my home it tells them this is a Jewish home.

  4. It’s a tradition for a Jewish home and all the reasons you stated in your post.
    I have one on my doorpost outside my home and I bought a beautiful one (which I could post a picture of it here) for our 7th wedding anniversary. It has the 7 symbols in Judaism with fruits, etc. It’s hanging on the doorframe of our bedroom.

  5. “It reminds me that I’m a Jew and when visitors enter my home it tells them this is a Jewish home.”
    I agree with this statement.
    And, it’s a reminder for guests that they are expected to be tactful, without refraining from forwardness… It works as a reminder to me too!

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