FULFILLING THE COMMANDMENT
(With Entertaining Video Clip at end of Article)
Dedicated Le'Iluy Nishmas
Esther Bas Nachum Dov Ber ז"ל
One of the 613 commandments of the Torah is the Mitzvah of Mezuzah. So important is this Mitzvah that it is included in the reading of the Shema - the most basic declaration of a Jew’s faith - and admittance to the unity of G-d. Being that we read the Shema at least twice each day - morning and evening - it is obviously a sign that this Mitzvah is a key to much of our life.
Yet, many of us read these words of prayer each day and often neglect to understand just what we're saying. While many men grab hold of their Tallises kissing them with love, one may wonder if this love is expressed through the other Mitzvos included in the Shema. Or, are we perhaps fooling ourselves as we close our eyes in great Devekus (cleaving to G-d) without actually being aware of what we're saying? Are these words the essence of it all – or is there something we actually need to do with them?!
”Going through the motions” - as they say. Perhaps this is what it's all about. Making certain every word of the Shema is said correctly with absolute and perfect enunciation of each letter! And when it comes to speaking of the Tefillin - we kiss them concentrating on our love for them. And so too with Tzitzit. When reciting about the Mitzvah of Mezuzah - mentioned in two of the three paragraphs we read – perhaps we should get up and at the very least - kiss a Mezuzah on one of the doors closest to us! Maybe this is what it’s really all about? And if not this, then at least we should have great intention in concentrating on this beautiful Mitzvah - hoping we can fulfill it and fall in love with it too!
Yet, there is a sad truth for all of us - finding ourselves in a world of deception. External behaviour - while highly commendable for its outward display of excitement - does not help in actually fulfilling the Mitzvot at all. On the contrary, we fall into the trap of serving G-d with our lips and forgetting to actually do what needs to be done! Are we substituting the real Mitzvah of the Mezuzah parchment for the artistic covering instead – thinking we’re doing the right thing?! The Mishna in Pirkei Avot states, "Action is the main thing!"
Our thoughts and words, prayers and hopes and everything related to letters is really only the foundation for what we really need to do. TO DO!
On our side, this is only one side of the deception dilemma, substituting a cover for the inner content itself… There is a far bigger problem we are facing today. This is that we are not able to attend to every Mitzvah as we actually want to do. There’s often much more to doing a Mitzvah than we are able to do on our own.
In our world, each of us contributes to in some way - and each of us relies upon the other. We hope and pray that each person will do the right thing, so that when it comes to our fulfilling a Mitzvah, for example - Tefillin and Mezuzos - we trust those writing them so that when we ourselves wish to fulfil these Mitzvot, we are able to do so knowing that the scribe did his part correctly! Of course, he'd have to learn thousands of laws! And he'd have to be most careful to fulfil them with fear of G-d! Imagine receiving a perfectly written pair of Tefillin, never to find out that the scribe had never written the text in order as he should have – something that would invalidate the Tefillin completely?! Of course, we'd be none the wiser to ever know this. Each time we would have our Tefillin checked, the scribe would tell us that they were Kosher... and we'd never know they weren't!
GO ON… DECORATE YOUR DOORS!
It may seem hard to believe, but even if one finds oneself in a place like
One of the biggest problems one might find (although there are far more than this!) is with the Mitzvah of the Mezuzah. While we are all focussing on this Mitzvah at least twice a day - and seeing these "Door Decorations" each day as we walk in and out of the rooms we pass through, it is a sad reality, that the *majority* of Mezuzot written today are simply not kosher!
This means that many people are living in homes without the right "equipment"! While they think they're living a kosher Torah life, they are actually doing nothing more than... decorating their doors!
WHAT IS A MEZUZAH
AND WHAT IS THE MITZVAH?
A Mezuzah is a hand written script written by a qualified scribe - filled with fear of heaven - which includes two paragraphs from the Torah. The first paragraph deals with the important concepts of G-d's unity and our need to love Him. It also speaks of the commandment to place Mezuzot on one's doorposts. The second paragraph speaks about the various rewards and punishments for obeying or disobeying the commandments of the Torah. It also includes the Mitzvah of Mezuzah.
Photocopies from a holy book will just not do! Neither will writing these paragraphs on a beautiful gold piece of paper - no matter its value! And while everybody may be able to see the differences in the latest fonts one can download on one's computer today, a Mezuzah must be written by hand with the exact same script - perfectly – every single time on the exact same animal-skin parchment.
And while in the world of italics, linking letters and designing the text with all sorts of loops can be delightful to look at - the Mezuzah may have no such things! Each letter must be perfectly spaced on its own. Once the name of G-d is written (in absolute purity of course!) - it may not be erased. So even if the scribe feels he'd like it to look just a little better, he may not touch those letters any longer. Of course, just erasing things wherever the scribe likes and touching things up - is not quite part of the "game" either! In fact, the rules for the appearance of the entire Mezuzah are quite complicated indeed!
And if even one of them is not fulfilled - it may be that the next Mezuzah you buy - or the one you already have - will be PASSUL - not kosher! No matter how beautiful it looks to you.
Don't imagine that because a Mezuzah is being purchased from a religious looking person that it's kosher either, even if you are told it is a checked Mezuzah. In fact, every single Mezuzah should be checked at the time of purchasing it, by a reliable scribe who is registered with Mishmeret STAM! One should take it IMMEDIATELY to another scribe who can check it and validate its kashrut standard!
But there's much more to Mezuzahs. Not only must the script be written correctly, but in addition, the Mezuzah must be placed in the correct position on the doorway, and on the correct side of the door. If not done, this too will invalidate the kosher status of the Mezuzah - and fulfilling the Mitzvah correctly.
There is much to learn, and this blog could well go on forever. Instead, below you will find a beautiful and entertaining 15 minute film / slideshow showing the importance of the Mitzvah - and just how awry things can become when not done correctly. In addition, there are three beautiful links for you to direct your browser to in order to learn more about this precious Mitzvah. On these sites, you'll learn exactly what a Mezuzah is. You'll learn about the problems that the world is currently experiencing with the overwhelming surge of unfitting Mezuzahs. And you'll learn about the famous Mishmeret Stam organisation. An organisation set to putting a standard on kosher Tefillin, Mezuzahs and Sifrei Torah. There's also a site devoted to MIRACLE STORIES - of people who have experienced much difficulty - only to have their Tefillin or Mezuzahs checked - and found to be PASSUL - not kosher. One sees amazingly that the very difficulty encountered, was hinted to in the Mezuzah itself!
Did you know there are even rabbis who can read everything about your life through a Mezuzah?! The "Mysterious Mezuzah" is not a Mitzvah to take lightly. Rather, it is one that may take weeks and months of work before coming right. There is much work to be done. If you have *any* doubt regarding the status of your Mezuzahs or Tefillin, get them checked immediately! If you're not sure what to do and need help, contact a *competent* rabbi who can help and take you seriously! Check that every room in your house that requires one has one, and that it is positioned in the correct position.
This can all only add in bringing blessing into each of our lives!
The Lubavitcher Rebbe would very often tell people experiencing difficulties - to check their Mezuzot and their Tefillin. Those who did so to find things wrong, would correct what needed to be done, which would set things back in place, bringing blessing where necessary. Once our lives are in balance with the Torah’s commandments, blessings flow naturally – exactly the theme of the second paragraph of the Shema!
Then there were others who even after checking their Mezuzot, would find them to be in perfect condition, thinking that perhaps the Rebbe may have made a mistake. Yet the Rebbe continued to tell them to check their Mezuzot. Perhaps he knew something more about the scribe who wrote them. Perhaps it was here where the problem lay. Perhaps just one letter was written out of order... and yet, we'd never be the wiser to see this…
To view an entertaining 15 minute clip teaching all about the Mezuzah – click here:
The link will automatically launch your Real Audio Viewer (if you have one) and begin. Unfortunately it cannot be embedded into the blog at this point in time.
http://www.mezuzah.net/basics.html - Learn the ins and outs of Mezuzah basics.
http://www.stam.net/ - Learn more about Mezuzot and Tefillin
http://www.shemayisrael.co.il/orgs/stam/ - Learn about this world organisation that’s setting things right!
http://www.campsci.com/mezuzah/ - Read a selection of miracle stories with pictures!