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 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 »

mezuzah pendant

A Mezuzah Pendant for Valentines

Ok, I know what your thinking, “Mezuzah and Valentine in the same sentence? that cant be right?”, but  bear with me here for a second as I attempt to make the case for Mezuzah pendants as this years top-of-the-list Valentines Day gift.

Let’s begin by examining two of the most popular Valentines Day gift choices, the ubiquitous dozen red roses, and the inimitable heart shaped box of heart shaped chocolates, both timeless, classic expressions of valentinia (not a word you say? is now!). However, both possess a fatal flaw that may compromise their long term affection-expressing potential, namely, they are both perishable. Chocolates, while tasty and euphoria inducing when eaten, are gone quickly (I would venture to guess that most boxes don’t last the day) and in some cases the mindless devouring may even be regretted soon after, and Roses, no matter how breathtakingly stunning, simply don’t last more than a week or two.

So this year why not think outside the chocolate box a little, and consider something beautiful, unique, thoughtful and (best of all) non-perishable. Can’t think of anything? We invite you to take a look at our collection of hand crafted Mezuzah Pendants, each a unique work of art and the perfect gift to express your feelings for your significant other as the Mezuzah traditionally symbolizes peace, security and domestic harmony.

Just a thought…

what makes a mezuzah kosher?

What Makes a Mezuzah Kosher? Part I: Introduction.

In this new blog-series covering the laws, customs and rigorous traditional standards that are involved in the writing, crafting and proper placement of a Kosher Mezuzah, we will attempt to break down the basics of this extensive topic and we hope to be able to give you the reader, a slightly better understanding of the spiritual components of the Mezuzah and to perhaps shed some light on the mystical makeup of this small, ancient and infinitely powerful artifact.

The bulk of the Mezuzah’s protective spiritual energy resides in the small piece of rolled up parchment that is placed within the outer Mezuzah case. The scrolls are the heart and soul of the Mezuzah, much like the engine of car, or the roots of a tree, unseen yet integral. So much so in fact that in 1988 the state of New York passed a law prohibiting the sale of Mezuzah scrolls which, to the seller’s knowledge, do not satisfy orthodox Hebrew ritual requirements as kosher.

True mastery of all the laws and customs involved in the writing of a Kosher Mezuzah Scroll would require years of study and untold hours of training as a religious scribe. From the handmade parchment to the 713 handwritten letters, to the numerous pre-sale inspections, a Mezuzah is closer kin to a delicate work of art than it is to the average transcription.

So stay tuned for the next installment as our journey begins with some historical perspective.

See you next time!

reddit mezuza

Respectful Reddit User Turns to Online Users for Mezuzah Advice

Reddit User ‘booradius’ Finds Mezuzah And Respectfully Asks Advice of Online Jewish Community

It’s not everyday that you hear the word Mezuzah associated with the popular social and entertainment website ‘reddit’, however, thanks to the admirable efforts of reddit user ‘booradius’, in his attempt to find the most respectful way of removing a mezuzah he found on a house, left  behind by a previous tenant, the following discussion took place. Read more »

ray kelly mezuzah

NYPD Comissioner Ray Kelly Presented with Silver Mezuzah

Famous among the local New York Jewish communities for his part in the foiled Riverdale synagogue bombing attempt, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly has been a tireless advocate for community safety throughout his 12 years in office.

During Kelly’s reign as commissioner, the city’s police force has forged strong ties both within the Jewish community at home and the Israeli community abroad. Last November, the Anti Defamation League honored Thomas Galati, the top-ranking officer for the NYPD’s intelligence division. An ADL press release at the time noted that Galati had “traveled to Israel with other senior police officials from the Northeast to attend a counter-terrorism training seminar sponsored by ADL.” Furthermore, the first Associated Press report on the city’s counter-terrorism measures noted that NYPD’s program was “modeled in part on how Israeli authorities operate in the West Bank.”

So Kelly reached out to his Jewish allies and even sought to enhance the NYPD, and the Jewish community’s safety, by educating himself on policies that have worked in Israel.

At a recent dinner held by Jewish city officials in honor of Kelly, the commissioner was presented with a plaque containing a large silver Mezuzah, the Jewish symbol for heavenly protection.

“You have kept us and our families safe for the last 12 years,” said Simcha Felder, a former city councilman who worked closely with Kelly. “We thank you for your service, and present this Mezuzah — a symbol of protection and safety — to you as a token of our appreciation.” Read more »

Qumran Mezuzah Made in Israel

Made In Israel: The Etched Glass Mezuzah by Michael Kupietzky

A Mezuzah, like any other religious artifact or work of art, is representative of so much more than it’s mere physical form. In our case, the Mezuzahs, as well as the scribe-written parchment of ancient biblical text it contains, are of a truly sublime, even transcendental nature in any form and when these Mezuzot are hand crafted in the holy land of Israel well, that added element lends a whole new, powerful dimension of spiritual potency indeed.

Here at Mezuzah Master we stock a full range of Made In Israel Mezuzahs, and in these Made In Israel blog-posts I will endeavor to highlight and share a few thoughts regarding a particular, individual Mezuzah in our Made In Israel Collection.

Drawing it’s primary influence from the cylindrical shape of the Qumram scrolls (Dead Sea scrolls), The Shema Etched in Glass Mezuzah by Michael Kupietzky (pictured here) is the perfect example of the Mezuzah’s embodiment of our religious ideals, commitment and the rich, diverse history of our collective people.

The silverplate tops and bottoms are representative of the tops of the jars that held the original scrolls. The glass cylinder is etched with the words from the parchment contained inside the jar.

Each is signed by the artist. Michael Kupietzky was born in the United States, but now resides in Israel with his family. Each of his creations follows the Bauhaus philosophy that “form follows function”.

This Mezuzah case carries the entire Shema prayer, which is intricately engraved to form black letters on matte-finished glass.


sports mezuzah

Gift Ideas: NFL Themed Mezuzah

Dave Barry said it best when he said: “The problem with winter sports is that — follow me closely here — they generally take place in winter.”, but one potential advantage of the fact that the football season is usually kicking into higher gear right around this time each year, is that it makes these sports themed mezuzahs the perfect seasonal gift for any occasion, be it a bar mitzvah, birthday party, housewarming party or any of the other gift-warranting opportunities.

The iconic blending of worlds inherent in these designs makes it an ideal gift appropriate for a wide variation of occasions.