Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mezuzah Fail

Last week, right before our Chinese New Year party, we finally put up our mezuzah.  We've lived in our house for over a year, and we kept missing opportunities to put up our mezuzah: every time we remembered, it was either shabbat (when you're not supposed to do "work," like installing things) or too late in the evening to be hammering things outdoors.  Since we were thinking of our party as a kind of open house, we really wanted to get our mezuzah up before the soiree.

A mezuzah is a small decorative box that contains a parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah.  It's installed on the doorframe to fulfill the mitzvah (Biblical commandment) to inscribe the words of a Jewish prayer, called the Shema, "on the doorposts of your house."  It's a significant marker of a Jewish household, so we were particularly embarrassed/sad that we hadn't gotten ours up yet.  (According to Jewish law, you're supposed to affix the mezuzah within 30 days of moving in.)

Jellyby, as you can see, was pretty excited about our putting up the mezuzah.

But not as excited as me!  Especially when I managed to locate the blessing you're supposed to say on the occasion of putting up a mezuzah.  (Many thanks to our friend Geri for documenting the process with photos!)

My Hebrew, though, is pretty egregious, so I needed quite a bit of coaching.

After saying the blessing for the mezuzah, we nailed it on the doorpost.  And we said the Shehecheyanu, which is one of my favorite prayers, as it's the one you say to mark a special occasion.

The most important part of the mezuzah is the parchment scroll, which is not visible from this angle, as it's tucked away inside the container.  But it helps that the visible parts of the mezuzah are pretty!  I love the copper, which will hopefully weather and develop a nice patina.  And do you see the purple bits of glass in the tube at the front of our mezuzah?  Any idea where that's from?

It's the glass we broke at the wedding!

I'm happy the mezuzah is up, but we need to move it soon.  In our haste to get the mezuzah up, we nailed it to the left side of the doorframe.  Alas, it's actually supposed to go on the right side.  Since the mitzvah of putting up the mezuzah is not fulfilled unless the mezuzah is installed correctly, we're technically no further along than when we started.  

Total fail.  We feel like complete morons since my husband is a former Hebrew School teacher, and we've installed mezuzahs in our previous homes.

Wish us better luck next time.  Oh, did I mention that we have at least three more mezuzahs to put up?  (One for our back door, one for the patio door, and another for our master bedroom door.)  Please let me get smarter between now and the next round of mezuzah installations!


Karen February 24, 2011 at 7:46 AM  

Mazal Tov! Now get moving & put it on the "right" side quickly...

I love how you have used the glass from the wedding in the mezzuzah. We are trying to think of some creative way to use the glass from my daughter's recent wedding. Your mezzuzah is really beautiful & doubly meaningful! :-)

Come here to practice your Hebrew.

Ramat Gan

lavenderpug February 24, 2011 at 10:37 AM  

such a pretty mezuzah and a lovely, meaningful tradition.

Sugar February 24, 2011 at 1:19 PM  

Well, you guys are one step ahead of us. I have a prayer sitting in my jewelry box, now if I could only find the mezuzah? Good luck getting them all up!

rachel,  February 25, 2011 at 10:22 AM  

I love that you posted it as a family and made it meaningful. not to get super technical, but the scroll is actually the mezuzah...the "holder" is simply the mezuzah case...

Kellis,  February 25, 2011 at 12:14 PM  

Beautiful! I love your Mezuzah! Sorry about all the fails... at least you tried, right?!?

Marissa February 25, 2011 at 4:24 PM  

It looks beautiful! We don't have one on our backdoor either :/

Ellie February 27, 2011 at 2:53 PM  

OMG I love mezuzot with glass from the wedding!! And is yours a Gary Rosenthal? I am so in love with his work. My grandparents gave me a yad for my bat mitzvah that is by him and I love it so much. It's a shame we started going to Orthodox synagogue and I never read from the Torah anymore. Also, my Zaydie loves the Shehecheyanu! He says it at every chance. :)

Mazal tov on putting yours up!!

Mrs. Hot Cocoa February 28, 2011 at 12:03 AM  

@ Karen: We had the rest of our leftover glass put into a lucite picture frame with a photo from our wedding. Perhaps that would be a fun way to use the glass from your daughter's wedding? I believe that the company Shardz makes them, but we ordered them through a place here in Boston called Kolbo Judaica.

@ Sugar: I have the same issue -- we've got 3 containers, 1 kosher mezuzah, and 1 unkosher mezuzah (photocopied, I believe). The kosher scrolls cost major $$. Sigh.

@ Rachel: I didn't want to get too technical with the non-Jewish audience of the blog, but you're totes right!

@ Ellie: It is a Gary Rosenthal! That's sad you never get to use your yad anymore. How are you doing with the transition to the orthodox shul?

Little Z. September 21, 2011 at 3:13 PM  

OMG... I can't believe you have the EXACT same mezuzah that I have!! I, also, put the glass shards inside (from the top of a marbled wine goblet made by the same artist). Great minds think alike!! I love your blog and will be back again very soon!! Cheryl :)

Mrs. Hot Cocoa September 21, 2011 at 9:35 PM  

Thanks for the lovely comment Cheryl!

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