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Stay Safe!

By Rabbi Dovie Shochet

This week’s Parasha tells the command of affixing a Mezuza to the doorposts of your house, – “you shall inscribe [this passage] upon the doorposts of your house and your gates.”[1]

The Mitzvah of Mezuza is special in that it grants protection to one’s household.[2] It also contains a unique quality unlike any other Mitzvah, such as:  if a person were to fulfil a Mitzvah with any ulterior motive i.e. for the sake of its reward, this then is known as “SheloLishma” –[the Mitzvah being performed] not for the sake of Hashem. Conversely, if someone were to put up a Mezuzah for the sake of its protection, this is still considered as “Lishma” – [the Mitzvah being performed] for the sake of Hashem. The reason is because the safety and security the Mezuza has to offer does not come as a reward for fulfilling the Mitzvah but it is part and parcel of the Mitzvah itself![3]

This being said, even when the Mezuza is not affixed to a doorpost and the Mitzvah is not being fulfilled but simply carried in one’s pocket, it too provides protection. As Rabbi Yom Tov Lippman Heller (otherwise known as the famedTosfos Yom Tov) comments on a Mishna, “It is possible, that people in Talmudic times carried with them Mezuzos….because of the protection it provides.”[4]

From the above it is understood the great importance in acquiring a Mezuza for one’s household and to be scrupulous in getting it regularly checked[5] by an expert scribe.[6] Through this, Hashem will do His part, as the verse says, “Hashem will guard your going and coming, now and forever.”[7]

[1] Devarim 11:20

[2]Avoda zara 11a, Tur Yorehde’ah 285

[3] See Bach on the Tur Yorehde’ah 285

[4] See TosfosYomTovMasechesKeilim 17:16. This point is further emphasised in Talmud Yerushalmi(Pe’ah 1:1) which tells of Rabbi YehudahHanassi sending a mezuza to a non-Jew saying that it will serve as a protection for him.

[5] See Shulchan Aruch (Yorehde’ah 291:1) – according to the strict letter of the law, mezuzos need to be checked twice every seven years. See alsoMatehEfraim 581:10; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:3 which states that those who are scrupulous in mitzvah observance have their tefillin and mezuzos checked once every year during the month of Elul

[6] Unfortunately, many mezuzos are easily falsified, therefore care must be taken to only acquire a mezuzah from an expert scribe and G-d fearing Jew.

[7]Tehillim 121:8

 

[1] Devarim 11:20

[1]Avoda zara 11a, Tur Yorehde’ah 285

[1] See Bach on the Tur Yorehde’ah 285

[1] See TosfosYomTovMasechesKeilim 17:16. This point is further emphasised in Talmud Yerushalmi(Pe’ah 1:1) which tells of Rabbi YehudahHanassi sending a mezuza to a non-Jew saying that it will serve as a protection for him.

[1] See Shulchan Aruch (Yorehde’ah 291:1) – according to the strict letter of the law, mezuzos need to be checked twice every seven years. See alsoMatehEfraim 581:10; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:3 which states that those who are scrupulous in mitzvah observance have their tefillin and mezuzos checked once every year during the month of Elul

[1] Unfortunately, many mezuzos are easily falsified, therefore care must be taken to only acquire a mezuzah from an expert scribe and G-d fearing Jew.

[1]Tehillim 121:8

 

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