Mezuzahs During Renovations

We will be moving into our new home shortly. We will be moving into the downstairs only while the main floor is being renovated. Does it require mezuzahs before we move in? Also, the downstairs will be painted at a point after we have moved into it, at which point we will temporarily move out.

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Mazal tov on your new purchase first of all! May you and your family build a wonderful Jewish home in your new residence.

In terms of mezuzot, parts of the house that you will not be using at all – whether to live there or keep your furniture, do not require a mezuzah, since in such a state it is not yet considered your home. The mitzvah of mezuzah is an obligation on the dweller not the dwelling (Talmud Pesachim 4a). Thus, if you own a completely unused house, it does not require mezuzot.

The same is true if you are renovating part of your existing home and you move out beforehand and empty it of all its furnishings.

If, however, you will still be using the room somewhat and/or keeping your furniture there, then a mezuzah is required. It should be kept up as long as possible and only removed when it is actually in the way of the work (such as during painting).

After the remodeling and when you are ready to move in (or move your furniture in), you should put up mezuzot, reciting the blessing beforehand. You should do so even if the room earlier had mezuzot since there was a long interruption. If you only had a room painted and the mezuzah was off for a day or less, it’s questionable if a new blessing should be said. Therefore, it’s better to say a blessing for a room which certainly requires a mezuzah and have in mind that it will be for that mezuzah as well (which you should affix immediately after). Another recommended idea is to have the mezuzah checked while it’s down, and then – since it was possibly invalid beforehand – a blessing is certainly required upon reaffixing it.

(Sources: Talmud Pesachim 4a, Pitchei Teshuva 289:1, Yabia Omer III Y.D. 17.)

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