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Learn about the Mezuzah, the box of protection on every Jewish family's door, with Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg.
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Shalom, I am Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg of the Israel Ezra-Habonim, Niles Township Jewish Congregation of Skokie. This video is about Mezuzah, the thing that we hang in our door posts. I want to talk about its origin and what it is and how to affix it and why we do it. The torah tells us first that the Mezuzot this is not originally Mezuzot, the Mususut where the door post of your tent. The story of the accident, it says that you supposed to take his up and smear blood on the Mezuzot. Later on in Deuteronomy we were told that we should write them as a sign upon our door and for frontless between our eyes and the Mezuzot. And so the tradition grew up to put something on the door post which today we call it Mezuzah and it can be all kind shapes and designs.
The key is not just the design though off course but what is inside. Now inside, is a scroll a little piece of Torah actually and it has the commandment of the Mezuzah. When you open it up you can see Hebrew writing. This is the scroll that goes on and it has the Ishma and then commandment to put on the door post of your house. Now it gets rolled up very tightly in a little cylinder like this and then the important thing is the word Shadai be on the back of it. Now, Shadai is one of the names of Gods and then it gets back inserted into the Mezuzah so that the word Shadai is up and the Mezuzah as the tongue. Shadai is one of the names of God but also interesting he has the 3 letters which stands for the expression Shalmere Daltow Israel, which means the guardian of the doors of Israel.
Now the blessing, when you put Mezuzah up is [Foreign Language] for putting up the Mezuzah, for fixing the Mezuzah. And then you should say the Shakiyanu. Now, there is debate in the Talmud to where is the Mezuzah goes straight up or down or sideways. One Rabbi thought it should be like this to connect us to God other thought we should be connected to the people world wide. So the solution off course to less the 40 to 45 degree it goes a third of the way down from the top of the door, add an angle. It is also customary you touch it, kiss it when you walk in and or when you leave as a reminder of the holiness of both where you are going in.
Now, it could be that ancient people has used these as emulates to ward off evil spirit or something but clearly the idea here for a Jew is first of all to say this is a Jewish home and second of all to say that this is a Mig Tashmaha, a sanctuary in miniature of holiness. Now people can put them certainly at the front door and all the interior doors in the house if you like and excluding the place where you sleep, in the bathroom you can put it on your bedroom too but certainly on the front door. So, I hope that this helped explain the basis of the Mezuzah and its central importance as reminder of God and as a symbol of holiness that we hope attaches to our bones.