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A mezuzah is a parchment scroll made from the skin of a “pure” animal, placed in a special case, attached to the door jamb of a Jewish dwelling. On the scroll are two passages from the Torah, included in the prayers, which mention the commandment of the mezuzah. From the outside, three letters are written on the scroll – shin, dalet, yod (the first letters of one of the Names of the Most High).
The case is placed on the right joint when viewed from the outside. In Ashkenazi communities, it is customary to hang the case so that its upper part is slightly inclined inside the room. Every seven years a scroll is checked at least two times. It must satisfy a number of special rules, the same applies to its writing.
Attaching a mezuzah, utter a special blessing, the text of which can be found in any sidur (collection of prayers and blessings). The commandment to hang the mezuzahs was given in the Torah twice: “You will write the words of the Torah — the text of the mezuzah scroll on the door jamb of your house and on your gate”. Mezuzah has nothing to do with the amulet (a special object designed to protect its owner). Belief in the protective properties of amulets is prohibited by Judaism. The Jews fulfill the commandment of the mezuzah because it is prescribed by the Torah.
“The commandment to have a mezuzah reminds each time we come or leave our home about the unity of the Almighty and proper love for Him.”
Outside of Israel, the mezuzah is hung on the door 30 days after entering a rented apartment. It is attached immediately after the introduction. And one more important rule: the mezuzah should hang not only on the entrance doors but on all the interior doors of the house (except for bathrooms and toilets).
There is no Jewish home without a mezuzah. The most ancient extant mezuzas belong to the epoch of the Second Temple. The houses left by the Jews are easily identified by the doorframe where the mezuzah was previously kept.
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