roman mezuzah

An Ancient Roman Mezuzah

I have found the following story to be an inspiring and truly uplifting insight into the role of the Mezuzah in our lives and in our relationship with G-D. In fact, I was so moved when I first heard it, that I immediately made a note to share it with my fellow Mezuzah enthusiasts. I hope you enjoy it as well…

This story takes us back to near ancient times, circa 35–120 CE, as we join a fellow named Onkelos, somewhere in the blazing, sun scorched deserts of the  middle east. Onkelos, a member of the Roman royal family and nephew to the then Roman Emperor Hadrian,  is on a journey, traveling from Rome to Jerusalem, on a diplomatic errand from the royal Roman court.

Though he is unaware of this at the time, the journey he is on is about to alter the course of Jewish history and will change his life forever. Read more »

jewish scribe

What Makes a Mezuzah Kosher? Part III: The Scribe.

A mezuzah must be written by a qualified Sofer with special black ink and in quadrilateral (Ashuri) script, the same used to write Torah scrolls.

Many sofrim (scribes) write the mezuzah (as they do the Torah scroll and tefillin) with a reed. The Sages of the Talmud explained that the reed reminds us to be always

“Yielding like a reed and not unbending like a cedar.”

A mezuzah has to be written lishmah, for its own sake (i.e., expressly for the sake of the holiness of the mezuzah). Just before writing, the Sofer makes a declaration that he is doing it for the sake of the holiness of the mezuzah. Similar declarations are made before inscribing each Name of G‑d. G‑d-fearing sofrim, especially in Chassidic communities, have a custom to immerse in the mikvah (ritual bath) before writing a mezuzah, and some before writing each Name of G‑d. This is done to remove spiritual uncleanness and to write the mezuzah in purity and holiness. The sofer’s erudition in the pertinent laws is decisive in producing kosher mezuzoth. Nonetheless, his character, behavior, thoughts, in general and while writing the mezuzah in particular, affect the spiritual quality of the mezuzah and its protective power. Therefore, it is highly advisable to purchase mezuzoth from known sofrim with excellent reputations, or from a rabbi who knows a reputable sofer personally and can vouch for him. Read more »

wedding glass mezuzah by gary rosenthal

The Romantic Mezuzah

Hi all, my name is Rebecca E. and this is the story of the most romantic (yes you heard correctly, romantic!) Mezuzah I have ever seen, owned or even heard of.

It all started around this time last year, when my boyfriend Josh and I went to his parents summer home in the Hamptons for what seemed like just another “escape from the city” weekend at the time. Turns out Joshy had a ring in his pocket (O. M. G. Stunning!) and wedding bells in his heart. He wasted no time, proposing to me on the very first sun-drenched beach we visited.  My reaction was perhaps a little less ladylike than I would have preferred (I would like to apologize to the nice elderly couple that was sitting next us, I am truly sorry if I startled you with my screaming and carrying-on…) but, in my defense, I had been ready and waiting for this moment for a long time and was quiet overcome with joy. It was happening. It was really HAPPENING!!!

Now to the Romantic Mezuzah. Read more »

sammy davis junior and his mezuzah

Sammy Davis Jr. and the Mezuzah that Changed His Life

Yes, it’s true, the spiritual journey of Sammy Davis Jr. that would eventually lead him to Judaism began with a small mezuzah given to him by a friend. In 1953, Davis struck up a friendship with comedian and host Eddie Cantor, who gave him the mezuzah as gift. But instead of putting it by his door, as a traditional blessing, Davis would wear it around his neck as a good luck charm. A function to which the mezuzah pendant would soon prove itself  indispensable. The only time he forgot it, one fateful November night in 1954, he crashed his car on his way to a gig in San Bernadino, California. Davis’ face hit the steering wheel, fracturing the bones in his face and leaving his left eye dangling from his socket. He was forced to get an artificial eye and learn how to find his balance on stage again. After much soul-searching about his life up to that point, he decided to convert to Judaism. Later he would joke about being the only “black, Puerto Rican, one-eyed Jewish entertainer” in the world.

decorate-your-own-mezuzah-case-pack-of-two

Decorate Your Own Mezuzah Case

Decorate your own Mezuzah, paint it the way you’d like using the included paint and paintbrush.

The ready to be painted Mezuzah case is crafted from find solid wood and includes two Mezuzah cases, two paintbrushes along with six paint colors (red, blue, green, yellow, white and black).

Decorating your own Mezuzah is the perfect activity for all ages and makes for a great Jewish arts and crafts.

mezuzah for alexander imich

America’s Oldest Man Affixes New Mezuzah

At 111 years old, Mr. Alexander Imich has been officially verified as the oldest living man in the United States and the second oldest in the world. Imich lives alone in an apartment in Manhattan’s  Upper West Side where he has lived since 1965.

Imich, a polish born chemist who has survived two world wars, narrowly escaped the Nazi death camps and survived the notorious Russian work camps, recently received a visit from local Chabad emissary, Rabbi  Pinny Marazov of Coney Island, Brooklyn. Among other religious rituals performed during their meeting, Rabbi Marazov affixed a kosher Mezuzah to the doorpost of the apartment entrance.

On behalf of Mezuzah Master, we would like to wish Mr. Imich many more happy, healthy years full of all the joys and wonders of life, all from under the spiritual energy and protective influence of his new Mezuzah.

 

a history of the mezuzah

What Makes a Mezuzah Kosher? Part II: A Brief History.

As we continue our journey towards a deeper and more complete understanding of the Mezuzah, we must first pause for a quick look at the roots of this most mysterious and potent Jewish artifact.

The very origin of the mezuzah stems from the very biblical passage inscribed on the inserted mezuzah scroll. The bible text reads: “to write [these words] on the doorpost of your house and on your gates” (Deut. 6:4-9).

As for the actual mezuzah as we know it today, tradition tells us that the Jewish people have observed this commandment since it was given at Sinai in the Jewish year 2448 (1312 b.c.e.) It is debatable whether mezuzoth were actually in use during the forty-year journey through the desert, since the temporary huts used for dwelling were most likely exempt from the commandment, as all huts, booths, tree-houses and other temporary dwellings are today. It is safe to assume that the mezuzah became a permanent feature of the Jewish home from the time that the Jews settled in the land of Canaan in the period 2488-2502 (1272- 1258 b.c.e). Read more »

eco freindly mezuzahs

Eco-Friendly Mezuzah’s for an Eco-Friendly Cabin

The Pearlstone Center of Reisterstown, MD. is a picturesque retreat and conference center that features farming apprenticeship, environmental awareness training, educational and spiritually vitalizing programs. Earlier this month, the Pearlstone retreat celebrated it’s latest addition; a high-efficieny, four-season cabin built from sustainable and recycled materials. Included in the project where a number of handcrafted, homemade Mezuzahs that will be affixed to the doorposts of each room in the new cabin.

These Mezuzahs, made from recyclable materials, were designed and crafted in the Pearlstone spirit. With their brightly colored cases and eco-friendly nature, they are a perfect, albeit micro-cosmic example of the nature-oriented spiritual oasis that is the Pearlstone retreat center.

 

mezuzah

Mezuzah Counterfeiters Exposed

Police and special agents of the Chief Rabbinate Kashrus Enforcement Unit have uncovered a startling and deeply concerning counterfeit mezuzah scroll making operation. According to agents involved in the investigation, the counterfeiting operation used a new and sophisticated method to create very high quality counterfeit mezuzahs.

The printing plates used to forge these mezuzahs were created using a new and specially designed software that allows for the modifying of letters in the fake mezuzahs. Until now, the identity of the letters had been the primary method used to determine if a mezuzah was printed rather than written by a sofer (scribe) because if they were printed, all the letters would be identical, which would certainly not be the case if the mezuzah was written by hand.

There is a law in the state of Israel that permits the Chief Rabbinate to oversee the mezuzah industry in an effort to help avoid just such counterfeiting scams. Following the uncovering of the sophisticated counterfeit operation, Chief Rabbi David Lau has reached out to Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to map out a strategy towards monitoring the industry amid the realization that today’s counterfeiting techniques allow counterfeiting of an alarming high quality in the STaM (Sifrei Torah (torah scroll), Tefilin and Mezuzahs) industry. Read more »

weird mezuzah

Unusual Mezuzah Case Designs

This post is dedicated to the creativity and at times astonishing ingenuity of the human spirit. I have always believed that one of the most powerful modes of self expression lies in our soul-driven ability to see the innate and permeating beauty that is inherent in all things. This inspiring, creative force has helped turn subway cars and ghetto walls into stunning mosaics, designed and re-designed cars, revolutionized fashion and inspired the trinkets and baubles that so uniquely color the sounds and textures of our era.

The Mezuzah cases pictured below are wonderful examples of this re-creative spirit at work. They are truly a unique and, well… different interpretation of the classic, traditional Mezuzah. Don’t get me wrong, to the inspired re-creators of the world, we applaud your work and we cherish your contributions to society, but every now and then even the best of us are bound to get a little carried away… Read more »