Torah Reading:  Parshat Eikev,  Deuteronomy 7:12 - 11:25

Haftora: Isaiah 49:14 - 51:3

Shabbat Candle Lighting: 7:46 PM

Shabbat Ends: 8:47 PM

Mezuzahs of the World Unite!


What is a Mezuzah?

A Mezuzah is a scroll of parchment upon which a scribe has written two paragraphs of the Shema that we affix to the doorposts of our homes. [Contrary to popular myth, the casing itself is not the Mezuzah. Only the scroll is properly called a Mezuzah and it can even be wrapped in paper, etc.]

The Mezuzah’s objective is to demonstrate that our homes, and, by extension, all of our possessions, belong to G‑d, who is responsible for their protection and prosperity.

The Mezuzah goes beyond that; it transforms our homes into Divine palaces.

The Talmud states that when Moshiach comes all of the synagogues and Houses of Study will be transported to, and transplanted in, Israel. The great Chassidic master, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, added that this is true of our personal homes so long as there are Mezuzos on our doorposts.

The act of affixing a Mezuzah to our home transforms them into synagogues and Houses of Study, which will cause them to be relocated in the Land of Israel.

The Macro Mezuzah

In truth, the entire universe is G‑d’s home. And we, the Jewish people, are the Mezuzah whose role it is to proclaim to the entire world that G‑d is its Master, exclusively.

If this analogy is correct, it follows that the laws that govern the micro Mezuzah can be applied to the macro Mezuzah as well. 

Focus on the Right Side!

Now, the Mezuzah must be placed on the right doorpost as we enter the home or a room within the home. 

What is the parallel to that with regard to the Jewish people in their capacity as the world’s Mezuzah?

In spiritual terms the right and left relate to the Divine attributes (and their human counterparts) of chesed-kindness and gevurah-judgment.

It would follow then, that the Jewish people who are the Mezuzah of the world must also be affixed to the world’s right side; to activate its right side of kindness and love. More specifically, this can be interpreted to mean that we must affix our values that we acquired from the Torah to the ideals of kindness.

While kindness and justice are Torah values, our distinctive role and contribution as Jews to the world is mostly in the sphere of kindness and love.

While Judaism has much to say concerning the ideals of justice it has, arguably, more to offer in the realm of kindness.

To develop support for this thesis let us go back to the first two generations of Jews: the generations of Abraham and Isaac, respectively.

Abraham was the first person to popularize the notion of monotheism to the world. There were many monotheists before Abraham such as Adam, Cain, Abel, Seth, Chanoch, Methusaleh, Noach, Shem and Eiver, nevertheless Abraham was the first person to spread the idea of G‑d’s unity to the world, an idea for which he was prepared to die.

To be sure, Abraham was the first person to transmit both the values of kindness and justice. Yet, it was the elevation of kindness and love that was the preponderance of his life’s work. Abraham personified love and kindness and with these traits he, together with his peerless partner Sarah, endeared himself to thousands of idolaters and motivated them to abandon their evil ways and embrace monotheism.

What happened to all these people that he inspired and brought under the “wings of the Divine presence?”

According to our Sages, most of them left the fold.

The reason for their regression was due to the fact that Isaac, Abraham’s heir, personified the attributes of justice and awe, and made strict demands on himself and on others. As a result of his challenging approach, the multitudes of people “converted” to monotheism by Abraham and Sara reverted to their old pagan ways for not being able to meet the strict demands of Isaac.

It does not mean, G‑d forbid, that Isaac was a failure as a messenger of monotheism. Rather, it means that his role was to introduce to the world and bequeath to the people the power to dig beneath the surface, by removing the outer levels of their personality, leading them to find the pure and unadulterated holiness that exists within.                                                 

However, it was Abraham’s emphasis on and preoccupation with love and kindness that made the first dent into society.  This mission will bear its ultimate fruit in the Messianic Age, when all of humankind will recognize the one G‑d.

The Jewish People; Purveyors of Love and Kindness

Throughout history, the Jewish nation has been at the forefront of societal acts of kindness and love. Even many of the most misguided Jews go to extremes in helping the less fortunate members of society, albeit, the wrong way. Kindness and the desire and need to be the “right hands” of society was ingrained into our collective psyche by the patriarch Abraham and reinforced at Sinai when we were given the Torah of Kindness.

But love and kindness must be administered the right way. Giving a drug addict money to buy drugs is not a kosher form of kindness. The text of the Mezuzah begins with the declaration of the Shema and follows with the commitment to follow G‑d’s commands. So too, the administration of kindness to the world must be regulated by the teachings of the Torah.

Harmonious Relationships Formed Through Torah

More specifically, the Mezuzah is said to be the model for a perfectly harmonious relationship, with particular emphasis on marriage.

The word Mezuzah contains the two words of zu and zeh. Zu is the feminine for “this” while zeh is the masculine word for “this.” Hence the Mezuzah unites the two genders and is the symbol of a harmonious relationship.

But the word Mezuzah also begins with the letter mem. What does that letter signify?

Our Sages teach us that the letter mem is a symbol of Torah, since mem is also the number 40, the number of days that it took Moses to receive the Torah on Mount Sinai.

How can we succeed in bringing peace and harmony to the competing tidal forces perturbing our world? It is through the teachings of Torah, described by King Solomon in Proverbs as “Toras Chesed-a Torah of Kindness,” and “All its pathways are peace.”

Mem and Moshiach

In addition, mem is the initial of the word Moshiach as well as the name Menachem, which the Talmud states is one of the names of Moshiach.

In macro terms, this translates as total harmony and peace will come when we, the Jewish people, the world’s Mezuzah, arm ourselves with the inner kindness and love we inherited from Abraham, reinforced with the teachings of Torah at Mount Sinai, and sealed with the loving power of Moshiach.

The Mezuzah empowers us to fulfill our role as the Mezuzos of the world to bring love, peace and Messianic harmony with the onset of the Final Redemption.