A home is not just a place of shelter; it is a reflection of who we are. It is often our largest investment, and the place where we are most comfortable and at peace (laundry, dishes and bills notwithstanding). A sports fan will fill every available space with memorabilia, and an artist will utilize every spare inch for his prize works. Closer to home, (our homes, that is) we proudly display pictures of our families and of gedolim. Many homes that I visit have a well stocked library of all sorts of seforim. Even those who are far removed from a Jewish education and knowledge will still have that small Mezuzah affixed to their front door. It may not be kosher, but it identifies them as Jews, and they display it with pride.
Our last article dealt with purchasing a Mezuzah. There are also many issues involved with properly installing our Mezuzos, such as which doors require one and where should they be placed. In general, every doorway should have a Mezuzah unless it is an entrance to a room used for unclean purposes (e.g. bathroom, locker room). However, many questions arise in almost every house. As with all halachic issues, a posek should be consulted for all individual situations, please use this as a general guide and not as the final word.
The Mezuzah is placed on the right doorpost, but what if the door is between two rooms? The general consensus of poskim is that one considers the more important room as the one being entered. For example, a doorway between a kitchen and dining room would have the Mezuza on the right side upon entering the dining room. A Mezuzah must be placed on a doorpost, so if there is no doorpost on the right side, there may be no need for a Mezuza on that doorway. To be considered a doorway, there also must be a lintel above the door. The size of a room is a consideration as well. Generally, a room must be four by four amos (cubits) to require a Mezuza. Opinions differ as to how big that is, ranging from 36 to 64 square feet. Further, questions arise as to how this is to be measured. Must it be 4 amos in each direction, or is 16 total square amos sufficient? Some authorities require Mezuzos on certain doors to smaller rooms as well. Other common questions involve offices, detached garages and sheds, and doors shared by Jews and non-Jews, to name just a few.
The proper placement of the Mezuzah is at the beginning of the top one-third of the doorpost, close to the outside of the frame. Ashkenazic custom is to affix it at a slight angle, top leaning towards the inner room; while Minhag HaGra and Sefardic custom is to hang it straight up and down.
A brocha (Baruch... asher kid'shanu b'mitzvosav v'tzivanu likboa mezuza) is recited immediately before attaching a Mezuza. However, not all doors require a brocha. The room should be at least eight by eight feet and have a door on hinges, not an open archway. Offices also have many factors involved in whether one makes a brocha or not. Again, these are the general guidelines, but be sure to ask whenever in doubt.
As we proudly display our Mezuzos, let us be sure that they are placed properly as well. As we show our love to HaShem, may He fill our homes with happiness and peace.
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