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The Obligation to Affix a Mezuzah

Which rooms require a mezuzah?

Is the shul (synagogue) exempt from affixing mezuzot?

What is the difference between a mezuzah abroad and a mezuzah in Israel?

What constitutes a temporary dwelling that does not require a mezuzah?

Why is the mitzvah of mezuzah mentioned in the Torah first in Dvarim (Deuteronomy)?

What is the difference between the obligation of a mezuzah in a residence as opposed to one in a business establishment or office building?

In what rooms is it prohibited to affix a mezuzah?

Is one who is renting a room or apartment obligated to affix a mezuzah?

Is it possible to leave a rented dwelling without a mezuzah when the lease expires?


From the verse “and to inscribe them on the door-posts of your house and on your gates” we learn that there were no mezuzot in the Beit Hamikdash, because there is no “house”, and therefore, strictly speaking, the shul does not require a mezuzah, as it is considered a mikdash me’at (a small beit mikdash).  On the other hand, a beit midrash (place of Judaic studies) is required to have a mezuzah, because it is used for study and sometimes eating and sleeping, so it has the semblance of a dwelling.  Today, all shuls are considered as a beir midrash and thus require mezuzot affixed to all entrances.


Please note that cooperative apartment houses are also required to have a mezuzah and this is true in apartment houses as well.


A temporary dwelling is exempt from a mezuzah, thus a sukkah or a tent does not require the mezuzah.  Such is the definition of a temporary dwelling.


One who dwells in a house abroad is exempt from the obligation of mezuzah for the first 30 days.


On the other hand when a person moves to a residence in Israel, he must immediately affix a mezuzah as an indication of his love for settlement in the land of Israel.  (Talmud Bavli minachot 44).  Rashi there explains that since one has already invested a great sum in a mezuzah, and since it is forbidden to remove the mezuzah to move it to another place, he will consider remaining in the house…  or at least it will be easier to find a tenant to replace him, because of the presence of a mezuzah there, and Israel will be found to be settled (Rashi).  Honey lipped…


As for the halacha, Rav Yoel Bin Nun enlightened me, that the verses of the mezuzah “Shema” and “It shall be, that if you obey My commandments” were first mentioned in the book of Dvarim, possibly to teach us that Dvarim deals entirely with matters of the land of Israel so the term “your house” relates to a Jew who in fact lives in the land of Israel!!!


All the rooms of the house, even if they are used only coincidentally, require a mezuzah, including passages which are not even in use.


Another definition for “temporary dwelling”- If one is a temporary guest in a house without a mezuzah.  In this case, even if it relates to a house in the land of Israel, it does not require a mezuzah.


Office buildings and business establishments, where one does not remain overnight, according to the letter of the law these do not require a mezuzah, since the verse states specifically “when you lie down and when you rise up”.  We learn from this that in a house not used for lodging, a mezuzah is not required.


Most of the poskim (interpreters of the law), the shops that do not require a mezuzah, as written in the Shulchan Aruch (book of Judaic practices), refers to temporary stores such as at bazaars, but regular stores that are open for many hours and where one eats, are similar to a house and require affixing a mezuzah.


In a place that does not require a mezuzah, one can be lenient and affix a regular kosher mezuzah, not the special kosher.


A tenant in an apartment is obligated to affix a mezuzah.  With the termination of the lease the mezuzot must remain.  If possible, one can ask the new tenant to pay for them.  According to the Sephardic poskim, the cost of the mezuzot should not be forced on the new tenant.  Another alternative is to switch to less expensive mezuzot.

For more on the subject see:

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A very nice Ashkenazic Mezuzah.To enlarge, click hereA very nice Ashkenazic Mezuzah.To enlarge, click here
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