Jews have been putting mezuzot on the doors of their houses since biblical days.
We read the commandment concerning the mezuzah every time we read the Shema:
"inscribe them [these words] on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
The mezuzah reminds us of our relationship to God every time we leave our houses
and every time we return.
A mezuzah can be made of practically anything: glass, wood, plastic, ceramic, clay,
metal, but no matter what it's made of, the important part of the mezuzah is the parchment
inside. The parchment contains two passages from Deutoronomy.
The first passage is the first paragraph of the Shema (Deut 6:4-9),
the second is the second paragraph of the Shema (Deut 11:13-21) which is not usually
recited in Reform services. Both of these passages contain the commandment for affixing a mezuzah.
To be kosher, these passages must be written by hand on parchment.
You can get kosher parchments for about $31 from our online store.
The back of the parchment contains the word Shaddai which means "Almighty," but also
stands for shomer delatot yisrael: guardian of the doors of Israel. If you place the
parchment in the mezuzah case yourself, roll it from left to right so that the word
Shaddai faces out. If your mezuzah has an opening, Shaddai should appear in it,
otherwise align the word with the front of the case.
The mezuzah goes in the upper third of the right doorpost (as you're going in).
The top of the mezuzah should be angled toward the inside, but if the doorpost is too narrow,
it can be placed vertically. Before affixing the mezuzah, say the following blessing:
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam,
asher kidshanu v'mitzvotav v'tzivanu likboa mezuzah.
Blessed are you Adonai our God, sovereign of the universe,
who makes us holy with the mitzvot and commands us to affix a mezuzah.
A Translation of the Text in the Mezuzah
"Hear O Israel, G-d our Lord is G-d the Only One
You shall love G-d with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your power.
These words which I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them to
your children and you shall speak about them when you dwell in your house, when you
travel on the road, when you lie down and when you arise. You shall tie them as a sign
on your arm and as a head ornament between your eyes. you shall inscribe them on the
doorposts of your home and your gates.
And it shall happen, if you obey my commandments which I command you today, to love
G-d within all your hearts and all your souls that I will give the rains of the land
in its proper time, the light rains and the heavy rains, and you will gather your grain,
your wine and your oil. I will give grass in your fields for your livestock. You will have
enough to eat and you will be satisfied. Guard yourselves, lest your hearts lead you astray
and you will serve other gods and you will bow to them. G-d will then become angry with you
and will withhold the rain, and the land will not produce its bounty. You will quickly be
lost from upon the good land that G-d has granted you. You shall place these words on your
hearts and on your souls. You shall tie them as a sign on your arms and they shall be head
ornaments between your eyes, and you shall teach them to your children to speak about them
when you dwell in your house, when you travel on the road, when you lie down and when you arise.
You shall inscribe them on the doorpost of your houses and your gates. So that you and your
children may live many years on the land that G-d has promised to your forefathers, as many
as the days that the heavens are above the earth."