May 1, 2009

Mezuzah - Doorway Parchment
Nahariya, Israel and the Palestinian Territories

Believed by many to provide protection against illness and danger, a mezuzah is affixed to the doorframe of Jewish homes to fulfill the Biblical commandment to inscribe the words of the Shema "on the doorposts of your house."

Jewish law requires a mezuzah on every doorway in the home apart from bathrooms, and closets too small to qualify as rooms; but many families only place one in the front doorway.

The parchment is prepared by a qualified scribe who has undergone many years of meticulous training, and the verses are written in black indelible ink with a special quill pen. The parchment is then rolled up and placed inside the case. Some mezuzahs have plain plastic covers and others have highly decorative cases.

The commandment to affix a mezuzah is widely followed in the Jewish world, even by Jews who are not religiously observant. I've personally seen many Jews touching habitually (compulsively) touching the mezuzah as they come and go from rooms or enter places of business.

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