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Reggie White Messianic
Jewish / Messianic
(plural, mezuzote) is a small, usually rectangular, box that is
attached to the outer doorpost of the homes of observant Jews and many
In Biblical times,
mezuzah referred to the doorpost of a house. This was where the blood was
applied during the first Pesach (Passover) (Sh’mot
[Exodus] 12:7, 22, 23). Before and during the time of Yeshua,
D’varim (Deuteronomy) 6:9 was taken very literally.
Now the mezuzah’s
meaning changed to mean the box attached to the doorpost instead of the doorpost
itself. Oftentimes, it even refers to the actual parchment scroll that is found
inside of the box, where two Scripture passages are written. These verses
clarify the mezuzah’s original purpose:
(CJB (Complete Jewish Bible) version):
Sh’ma, Yisra’el! ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI Echad [Hear, Isra’el! ADONAI our G–d, ADONAI
is One]; and you are to love ADONAI your G–d with all your heart, all
your being and all your resources. These words, which I am ordering you today,
are to be on your heart; and you are to teach them carefully to your children.
You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the
road, when you lie down, and when you get up. Tie them on your hand as a sign,
put them at the front of a headband around your forehead, and write them on the
door–frames of your house and on your gates.
(CJB (Complete Jewish Bible) version):
So if you listen carefully to My mitzvot which I am giving you today; to
love ADONAI your G–d and serve Him with all your heart and all your
being; then, [says ADONAI,] “I will give your land its rain at the right
seasons, including the early fall rains and the late spring rains; so that you
can gather in you wheat, new wine, and olive oil; and I will give your fields
grass for your livestock; with the result that you will eat and be satisfied.”
But be careful not to let yourselves be seduced, so that you turn aside, serving
other gods and worshipping them. If you do, the anger of ADONAI will
blaze up against you. He will shut up the sky, so that there will be no rain.
The ground will not yield its produce, and you will quickly pass away from the
good land ADONAI is giving you. Therefore, you are to store up these
words of mine in your heart and in all your being; tie them on your hand as a
sign; put them at the front of a headband around your forehead; teach them
carefully to your children, talking about them when you sit at home, when you
are traveling on the road, when you lie down, and when you get up; and write
them on the door–frames of your house and on your gates – so that you and your
children will live long on the land ADONAI swore to your ancestors that
He would give them for as long as there is sky above the earth.
Here's what it would look like since
it would only be written in Hebrew:
click to enlarge
Orthodox Jews and
Messianic Believers obtain the requirement to fasten
containing the above Scriptures, to their doorposts from D’varim
(Deuteronomy) 6:9 and 11:20.
Orthodox Jews generally
recognize and practice the above laws. However, prior to the Talmud, Jewish
groups had a variety of practices, and some of those variations are still used
today. The mezuzote
found at Qumran had different Scriptures in them from those used today. Some
contained Sh’mot (Exodus) 13:1–4, and others contained Sh’mot
(Exodus) 13:11–16. The Samaritans placed “mezuzah stones”,
upon which the Ten Commandments are carved, at or near their doorways. The
Sephardim–Jews from Mediterranean lands and North Africa traditionally affix
their mezuzote vertically, not at an angle.
Certain laws were
developed concerning the religious duty of the mezuzah as rabbinic
Judaism formed after 70 A.D. This standardization prearranged everything: the
type of parchment upon which to write the verses, how they were to be written,
where the mezuzah was to be placed (the kind of building and the specific
place on the doorposts), and the differences in practice between Israel and the
Diaspora (lands outside of Israel). The rules were first codified as standard
practice in the Talmud. Over the centuries, the laws concerning the mezuzah
were refined, and various traditions arose.
Laws of the Mezuzah
mezuzah text is to contain 22 lines of writing.
Unlike a Torah scroll, which must be copied from another manuscript, a
mezuzah may be written from memory by a scribe.
even one letter of the text is missing, the mezuzah may not be
mezuzah is to be attached to entrances of all residential
buildings and to the doors of all rooms used for living purposes.
(It is not to be attached to the doorposts of bathrooms, schools,
or houses of worship.)
mezuzah is to be attached at an angle (except for Sephardic Jews) to
the top third of the doorpost on the right (as one enters), with the
upper portion slanted inward and about a handbreadth from the outer edge
of the doorpost.
the mezuzah is attached, the following blessing is recited:
"Blessed art Thou, O L–rd our
G–d, King of the universe, Who hast sanctified us by Thy commandments
and hast commanded us to fasten the mezuzah."
one’s house is sold or rented to a Jewish person, the previous occupant
must leave the mezuzah.
mezuzah in a private home must be inspected for legibility of the
writing twice in every seven years.
Shaddai, one of the names of G–d, is inscribed in Hebrew on
the outer side of the top of the parchment. This word must show through
the opening in the case so it can be read.
passing through the door, one must touch and kiss the word Shaddai
and recite the following prayer: “May G–d keep my going out and my
coming in from now on and ever more.”
The Modern Uses
For most Jewish people
mezuzah has remained a reminder
of the centrality of G–d
and His Word.
non–Orthodox Jews attach mezuzote to their doors as a way of
affirming their Jewish identity.
Jews attach it as a Jewish version of a “housewarming” ceremony.
Israel the mezuzah is attached to entrances of all public
buildings and synagogues, though it is only required for residences.
Jewish people wear a mezuzah around the neck as an expression of
making of ceramic or other decorative cases for mezuzote has
become an art form.
The Spiritual Lessons
Scripture passages provide enduring lessons for all. The Sh’ma in Jewish
liturgy found in D’varim (Deuteronomy) 6:4–9 speaks of love for
the one G–d. D’varim (Deuteronomy) 11:13–21 speaks of the
responsibility to obey G–d, the results of obedience, and the consequences of
two passages remind us to love the L–rd and to obey Him. When Yeshua was asked
what the greatest commandment was, He responded with words taken from those
One of the Torah–teachers
came up and heard them engaged in this discussion. Seeing that Yeshua answered
them well, he asked Him, “Which is the most important mitzvah of them
all?” Yeshua answered, “The most important is, ‘Sh’ma Yisra’el, ADONAI
Eloheinu, ADONAI Echad [Hear O Isra’el, the L–rd our G–d, the L–rd
is One], and you are to love ADONAI your G–d with all your heart, with
all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength.” The
second is this: ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other
mitzvah greater than these.” Mark 12: 28–31 (See also
Mattityahu (Matthew) 22:36–40.)
There’s a big message in
that little box called a mezuzah for us as Believers in Yeshua. Let us always
strive to fill our homes and our lives with love for G–d and His Word.
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