What Do You Do With a Mezuzah?
A Mezuzah is a Jewish door ornament that fulfills a commandment and carries a powerful message. It consists of an outer mezuzah case - often beautifully decorated, in a range of possible materials and designs - with a klaf or parchment scroll inside. The mezuzah scroll text, written by a sofer or professional Jewish scribe, contains an excerpt from the Book of Deuteronomy that commands the Jews to hang these words on the doorposts of their homes.
Mezuzahs mark the doorposts of Jewish homes, with two purposes: to remind those entering and leaving of the Divine commandments and the relationship between God and the Jewish people, and to identify one's dwelling as a Jewish household.
Where to hang a mezuzah
The traditional placement of a mezuzah is on the doorpost of the entrance to one’s home, and on the doorposts of every room except the bathroom. Our store has a range of Jewish mezuzahs that are sturdy enough for the outdoors, in addition to lots of amazing designs for any room in the home, including kid-friendly mezuzah designs for children’s rooms.
Where do you mount a mezuzah? A Jewish mezuzah is affixed on the right doorpost, within the top third of the doorpost.
What side of the door does the mezuzah go on? Traditionally, the mezuzah placement is on the right side of the door, to the right of a person entering the room.
Why is the mezuzah on the right side? The reason for hanging a mezuzah specifically on the right side of the door is that Jewish law assumes most people enter a room with their right foot first, and therefore the mezuzah should be on the side that will be closest to most people passing it by. (The rule is today universal, and one should affix their mezuzah on the right side whether they’re right- or left-handed.)
How to hang a mezuzah
In addition to rules on where to put a mezuzah, Jewish tradition also dictates how to install a mezuzah on the door. For ideal mezuzah hanging, one should use mounting tape or nails in order to affix the mezuzah case to the doorpost, with the mezuzah scroll placed inside. To help you with the proper way to hang a mezuzah on any doorpost, our store sells double-sided adhesive mounting tape here.
According to Ashkenazi tradition, a mezuzah should be slanted at about a 45-degree angle, pointing towards the inside of the room. In Sephardi tradition, meanwhile, the mezuzah placement is usually straight and completely vertical.
Right before attaching the mezuzah to the door, according to Jewish tradition one also recites the proper blessing or prayer.
Prayer for hanging a mezuzah
“Blessed are you, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, Who has made us holy with His commandments and commanded us to affix a mezuzah.”
This mezuzah prayer is said by the person hanging the mezuzah, right before affixing it to the door.
Why is the mezuzah slanted
If you live in or around an Ashkenazi Jewish community, you’ve probably seen all mezuzahs slanted on doorposts. Why is the mezuzah slanted? It’s a compromise between two opinions that existed in medieval Jewish law: one that the mezuzah should be vertical, and one that it should be horizontal. A conclusion was reached that both opinions should be respected by hanging a mezuzah on a slant.
The mezuzah tilt, therefore, represents unity and compromise in the Jewish tradition.
Which way does a mezuzah lean and what is the mezuzah angle? The mezuzah according to Ashkenazi tradition leans to the right towards the inside of the room. It should be at a slight angle, around 45 degrees or less, whatever the width of the doorpost allows, with the top pointing towards the inside of the door and the bottom pointing outwards.
Sephardi tradition, on the other hand, is to hang the Jewish mezuzah straight and vertical. Both mezuzah placements are commonly seen in Israel today.
Why do you kiss the mezuzah
There is a Jewish tradition to kiss a mezuzah when passing one while walking into a home or room. A mezuzah kiss is not a requirement or commandment, but a folk tradition.
How to kiss a mezuzah? Most people touch the mezuzah first with their right hand and then kiss the tips of the fingers that touched it.
Why do you kiss the mezuzah? There is a Jewish tradition to kiss holy objects, or the fingers or other items that touch them, and a Jewish mezuzah - containing a parchment or mezuzah scroll with holy words of the Torah inside - is one such holy object.
We have a number of beautiful mezuzah cases from well-known Israeli artists, including Dorit Judaica, Ofek Wertman, Yair Emanuel, Danon, Laura Cowan, Rafael, Shraga Landesman, Adi Sidler, Agayof, and Shoham Yemenite Art.
So hang a mezuzah on your door that showcases the best of Israeli craftsmanship and style, with deep Jewish spiritual meaning!
See the rest of our mezuzah guides here: