The mezuzah (Lit. “doorpost”) is a small scroll that contains the Hebrew words of the Shema. Mezuzah scrolls are rolled up and affixed (usually inside a decorative case) to the doorposts of Jewish homes, reminding those who live there of their connection to G‑d and their heritage. The Mezuzah is seen as a symbol of protection for the home.
With the start of the Jewish New Year behind us, Chabad Chayil will be hosting a scribe to help the community ensure that their Mezuzahs are legit and properly Kosher. The time of the High Holidays is traditionally dedicated to personal introspection, and according to a wide-spread Jewish custom, this includes checking the mezuzot to ensure they are not fake or unkosher.
A Mezuzah is a scroll upon which the first two sections of the Shema — Biblical verses that form a core tenet of the Jewish faith — are handwritten, beginning with the eternal words “Hear o Israel, the L‑rd is our G‑d, the L‑rd is One.” These selections each contain G‑d’s instruction to affix the mezuzah: “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” These words are handwritten by an expert scribe who is trained in the many laws involved in writing a mezuzah, including the requirement that it be written with special intention, that the words be written in order and on genuine parchment from a Kosher animal.
At least twice in seven years, we take down our mezuzahs and have them professionally checked to ascertain that they are intact. The scribe examines the scrolls to ensure that no letters have been cracked or erased and that the mezuzah is still good. Our vigilance keeps our mezuzahs performing their function: bringing holiness, protection and merit to our home.
It can’t be emphasized enough how important it is that a mezuzah should be purchased only from a reputable seller. I would highly advise against purchasing a mezuzah online or from an unknown source. In my experience, many mezuzot sold today do not conform to the kosher standards. Some of them are even printed on paper instead of parchment — essentially making them fake mezuzot!
Weather conditions can also effect the Mezuzah, causing even good Mezuzahs, to become unkosher. Especially here in South Florida, where there is so much humidity, it is very common for the scrolls to often need to be replaced.
After several years of bringing a certified Sofer down, once a month, to help people check their Mezuzahs, Chabad Chayil is happy to announce that the Sofer will now come weekly. The Mezuzah checking will take place in Highland Lakes, at Chabad Chayil on Tuesdays. Attendees will have the opportunity to bring their Mezuzahs and Tefillin to have them checked on premises.
The fee to check a Mezuzah is $9, but if the Mezuzah is found unkosher, he will not charge. To check Tefillin is a lot more complicated, and he will charge $60 a set ($80 for gasot). Discounts and payment plans will be available for anyone that needs, through Chabad Chayil and Mezuzah Club.
For more information about the Mezuzah or directions on how to hang it, visit ChabadChayil.org/Mezuzah. You can get certified kosher Mezuzahs or Tefillin at the Chabad Chayil front desk. For help installing your Mezuzah, simply contact your local Chabad rabbi or call (305) 770-1919 and we’ll either help you get in touch with your local Chabad or send someone to help you place them properly.
If you are a Jewish student that does not have your own Mezuzah on your door, you can get one free of charge from the Mezuzah Club. Simply visit MezuzahClub.org and they will be happy to send one your way.