Jul 6, 2009

Something I didn't know about mezuzah scrolls

I am currently researching a new design for a mezuzah, where I will put an image of the scroll on the outside of the mezuzah.

As usual, I surf the Chabad, Aish and “Ask the Rabbi” websites looking for information to make sure that all my designs follow halachic rules and respect unwritten traditions. I'm sure they're all experts in their knowledge of mezuzah scrolls.

It always amuses me when I click the "Ask the Rabbi" button. I envision a crack team of top Rabbi’s twirling their payot, waiting for a message to ping up on the computer.

This reminds me of the haredi men on bicycles (this seems to be a popular occurrence in the Sheinkin area of Tel Aviv, one of the few areas where ultra religious and ultra secular Jews seem to happily coexist.

This time I am asking if there are any restrictions on displaying an image of a mezuzah scroll on the outside of the case, and I am waiting to hear back.

I always have a quick look to see what other people are asking –

Q. Is it ok for a Rabbi to buy a German car when many of his congregation are shoah survivors?
A. Best not
Q. Do I need a mezuzah on a nanny’s room?
A. Yes and No (classic Jewish answer)
Q. Is one permitted to study a Hebrew textbook that does not contain Torah in the bathroom if ones primary intention in for the sake of learning Torah?

A. As long as it is not Torah you can learn it in the Bathroom.

And something that in my line of work I really should have known…

Q. What is the meaning of the words on back of Mezuzah scrolls?

A. The three words at the bottom of the Mezuzah on the outer side of the parchment are "Cuzu B'mucsz Cuzu" -- an altered form of the phrase "Hashem Elokeinu Hashem." It is actually a form of Gematria (Numerology) where each letter is "raised" to its next letter. Thus, an Alef becomes a Bet, and a Bet becomes Gimel, etc. Rav Moshe Isserlis quotes the Hagahot Maimoni as the source for this custom. It is "only" a custom -- a Mezuzah without these words is still considered valid.

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