Sign In Forgot Password

Am I Jewish enough?

 

Juli Geldner

On my journey to learn and grow with my Judaism, the next question in my #amiJewishenough #jewishenough

series is:

Why do we put a mezuzah on our doorways?

I look forward to Rabbi Glick's response!

Rabbi Adir Glick
 

For the record, my answer was and is: Of course you are Jewish enough!

 

I think all of us ask that question at some point or the other, usually because our tradition is so broad and our customs carry many symbolisms.

 

The fundamental rationale for the mezuzah comes from our most precious prayer, the shema that says: Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all of your soul, and all of your might. And these words that I command you this day, you shall place them on your heart… You shall write them on the mezuzot beitekha uvishaarekha, on the doorposts of your homes and on your gates.

 

This is what we do – we have a scroll with the shema written on it – and place it on our doorways.

 

The mezuzah is there as a reminder of ‘these words’, of the Torah, of the shema, of our love for the Creator, with all of our heart, mind, and soul.

 

It is a visible reminder of our faith. As Judaism has always been, it is not only about us as individuals, but about our families and communities. The mezuzah should be on the door of our homes and on the gates of our communities (ancient cities had defensive walls).

 

As my father, Rabbi Yoel Glick, says, the mezuzah is there to remind us what our lives are about, and to remember to fill them with meaning and purpose. We should do this every time we pass a doorway. We are in this world for a reason. Our lives are not just a blip in the immensity of the universe and time. But we’ve entered this world to do good and to fill our lives with holiness and meaning.

 

That commitment gifts us protection. The mezuzah is symbolic of Divine protection and of belonging. We share a kinship with all others who also have a mezuzah on their doorway.

 

At the moment we are reading the story of the exodus in shul. During the final plague, all those who smeared blood on their doorposts were passed over (Pass-over) by the Angel of Death. We pray to also be protected by the One who does not sleep or slumber. We know nighttime especially is a frightening time. All the more so for people who live in areas where crime is a real danger.

 

There are many other symbolisms but I will end with one of my favorites from the Hasidic Master, Rebbe Yitzchak of Berditchev. One of God’s names, Shadai, is customarily inscribed on the mezuzah. In Shadai, we find ‘dai’. ‘Dai’ in Hebrew means ‘enough!’ The mezuzah reminds us we have enough and to be contented with our lot in life, as Pirkei Avot exclaims: “Who is rich? One who is content with his lot.”

For the record, my answer was and is: Of course you are Jewish enough!

 

I think all of us ask that question at some point or the other, usually because our tradition is so broad and our customs carry many symbolisms.

 

The fundamental rationale for the mezuzah comes from our most precious prayer, the shema that says: Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all of your soul, and all of your might. And these words that I command you this day, you shall place them on your heart… You shall write them on the mezuzot beitekha uvishaarekha, on the doorposts of your homes and on your gates.

 

This is what we do – we have a scroll with the shema written on it – and place it on our doorways.

 

The mezuzah is there as a reminder of ‘these words’, of the Torah, of the shema, of our love for the Creator, with all of our heart, mind, and soul.

 

It is a visible reminder of our faith. As Judaism has always been, it is not only about us as individuals, but about our families and communities. The mezuzah should be on the door of our homes and on the gates of our communities (ancient cities had defensive walls).

 

As my father, Rabbi Yoel Glick, says, the mezuzah is there to remind us what our lives are about, and to remember to fill them with meaning and purpose. We should do this every time we pass a doorway. We are in this world for a reason. Our lives are not just a blip in the immensity of the universe and time. But we’ve entered this world to do good and to fill our lives with holiness and meaning.

 

That commitment gifts us protection. The mezuzah is symbolic of Divine protection and of belonging. We share a kinship with all others who also have a mezuzah on their doorway.

 

At the moment we are reading the story of the exodus in shul. During the final plague, all those who smeared blood on their doorposts were passed over (Pass-over) by the Angel of Death. We pray to also be protected by the One who does not sleep or slumber. We know nighttime especially is a frightening time. All the more so for people who live in areas where crime is a real danger.

 

There are many other symbolisms but I will end with one of my favorites from the Hasidic Master, Rebbe Yitzchak of Berditchev. One of God’s names, Shadai, is customarily inscribed on the mezuzah. In Shadai, we find ‘dai’. ‘Dai’ in Hebrew means ‘enough!’ The mezuzah reminds us we have enough and to be contented with our lot in life, as Pirkei Avot exclaims: “Who is rich? One who is content with his lot.”

Tue, July 7 2020 15 Tammuz 5780