If you come to visit us, you’ll notice something on the doorpost at the entrance to our home that wasn’t there before our trip to Israel.
Four inches long and made of brass, it is a mezuzah container. Hidden inside are two tiny slips of paper, one in Hebrew and the other in English.
Mezuzahs are fastened to the door frames of Jewish homes to fulfill the Biblical commandment to write the words of the Shema, the command that is central to the Jewish faith, on the door frames of their houses. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
If ours were a true Jewish mezuzah, there would be just one scroll inside. It would have been handwritten by a certified scribe with specially prepared ink on kosher parchment made of thinly shaved hide. If we were a Jewish family, we would have several mezuzahs, not just the one on the outside doorpost. Every doorway that leads into a proper room, except for the bathroom, would have its own mezuzah. Each of our hotel rooms in Israel had one.
A mezuzah is permanently affixed to the right doorpost, on the lower part of the upper third. It is traditionally hung on a slant, as shown in the photo above, with the top pointing inward. A special blessing is usually read or recited prior to affixing each mezuzah.
Mezuzah cases come in a variety of sizes and materials. Ours is a Messianic mezuzah made specifically for a Christian home. The symbol at the top is the Hebrew letter “Shin”, the first letter of Shaddai (Almighty), one of the Biblical names of God. Below it is the Messianic Seal of the Church of Jerusalem which incorporates a menorah (seven branched candelabra), a distinctly Jewish symbol, and a fish, which has been used as a symbol of Christianity since its very early days. The triangular base of the candelabra and the tail of the fish tie the two symbols together and form the Star of David, the national symbol of Israel.
The mezuzah at the entrance to our home will long be a reminder of our amazing pilgrimage to Israel, but also an expression of our faith in God.
“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15