Rolling and Wrapping a Mezuzah
What are the rules for rolling a Mezuzah parchment? Can the scroll be wrapped in Saran Wrap or plastic before putting it into a case? I'm especially concerned about protecting a Mezuzah which hangs outdoors.
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
Here's the best way to roll up your mezuzah:
1) Place the parchment in front of you so that the text of the "Shema" is facing you.
2) Begin rolling from the left side (i.e. from the end of the Hebrew text), so that the words are on in the inside.
3) Be careful to roll smoothly and not crease the parchment. Scratching off any ink would render the Mezuzah invalid.
4) It is best to wrap the parchment in a material that breathes, like wax paper. Plastic wrap makes the parchment sweat and could destroy the letters, especially if the Mezuzah is placed outside.
5) When placing the Mezuzah on the wall or in the case, make sure that the Hebrew word "Shaddai," which is written on the back of the parchment, is facing outwards (i.e. toward the entrance once it is affixed). Also, make sure the Mezuzah is not upside down!
6) If you are putting the Mezuzah outside, be sure to buy a waterproof case!
Here is the blessing that is said before attaching a mezuzah to a door-post: "Blessed are you Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to affix a mezuzah."
Once the Mezuzah is up on the wall, are you done? No! Consider the following story:
Mr. Johnson, the owner of "Johnson Widgets, Inc." was famous for running a profitable factory. Everyday he followed a detailed management routine to ensure the utmost productivity and efficiency.
One day, Mr. Johnson decided that he needed a vacation, so he asked Jake the janitor to look after the factory while he was gone. Jake was a little skeptical about his own ability to manage such a complex operation. "Don't worry," said Mr. Johnson. "I've got it worked out as a science. We'll write down all the instructions and tape it to the office wall."
Johnson, feeling assured that Jake would do everything according to plan, enjoyed a marvelous vacation.
But when Johnson returned to the factory, he found it in a complete shambles: Equipment was broken down, materials were strewn across the floor, workers were standing around idly, and worst of all - the office area had been completely destroyed. Jake was standing there, his clothes torn and his face charcoal black, with the taped instructions smoldering on the wall.
"What happened!?" cried Johnson.
"I put those instructions on the wall just like you told me to," said Jake, "but I guess I forgot to read them!"
So too, the Torah gives us instructions for living - how to actualize our potential, how to have a successful marriage, how to raise healthy children, and how to find happiness, meaning and fulfillment. God's got it worked out to a tee.
God told us to put the verses Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:12-21 on our door-post, to remind us of these "instructions for living" every time we pass through the doorway.
But don't make the mistake of Jake in our story. Find the time to study these passages - and follow their instructions!