are the parchment scrolls which Jews attach to the right doorposts of their homes to fulfill what is written in the Torah as understood by our Sages: "and you shall write them on the doorposts (mezuzot) of your house and upon your gates." The two sections of the Torah in which this verse appears (the first two paragraphs of the Shema prayer, Deutoronomy VI/8 and XI/18) are written on parchment, rolled up and attached to the upper third of the doorpost, usually enclosed inside a decorative container (which is itself often called a mezuza, though it should properly be called a beit mezuzah).
The Biblical texts must be written by hand, in order, on scored parchment . There are three basic Hebrew Scripts used today:
Today mezuzot are generally written in the standard sizes: 6 cm (about 2.5"), 7 cm (about 2.75"), 10 cm (4"), 12 cm (about 5"), and 15 cm (6"). As you might imagine, it is quite difficult to write 22 lines of script in 2.5". Thus, even though they are smaller, good little mezuzot often are more expensive than the cheaper larger ones. Unfortunately, even today many invalid, non-kosher mezuzot are sold to the unsuspecting public. This is true of mezuzot of all sizes, but it is especially prevalent with the small mezuzot. In checking, scribes sometimes even find paper inserts with photocopied text. If you are unable to check them yourself, you should be sure always to buy mezuzot only from an authorized, reputable source.
Almost all the mezuzot written today are produced in Israel. Even the scribes working in the Diaspora generally import their merchandise from Israel.
According to the halakha (Jewish law), hundreds of laws govern every detail about the making of mezuzot, including the most minute details of the materials and the writing. Due to the meticulous requirements, it is very easy for something to go wrong during production of the mezuzah, sometimes in ways which cannot be seen at all afterwards. This is one of the reasons it is imperative to purchase mezuzot only from an honest, authorized, reputable scribe.
Jewish law requires that mezuzot be checked every 3 1/2 years to ensure that they are still kosher.
To go back to our home page, click here.