Mezuzah Checking Tips

Question

The mezuzah on the door to my room was put up many years ago. I’m planning to change the case on the mezuzah for a new and decorative one that I received as a present. I was wondering if perhaps the writing on the mezuzah also should be checked when I replace the case. It’s been a long time, but I don’t really have any reason to suspect there’s a problem. Thanks for this wonderful service.

7 months

Answers

  1. I can tell you a personal story that happened to me some years ago. After moving into a new residence, we purchased new mezuzahs from a sofer (scribe who writes mezuzahs, tefillin and Torah scrolls). He was someone we knew well, God-fearing, and had beautiful writing skills! The mezuzahs he wrote were also checked afterwards by two other sofers. One year, a few years later, when we took the mezuzahs to be checked, a different sofer took one look and said, “It’s not valid.” I was really surprised until he showed me where a letter or word was missing. It was unfixable since everything in the mezuzah needs to be written in proper order. He offered to dispose of it in the correct manner. Besides buying a new mezuzah, I received advice from another expert to always check mezuzahs with a computer in the future, in addition to human checking.

    Although you may have no reason to really suspect there may be a problem with the kosherness of your mezuzah, there is a requirement that an individual check his mezuzahs every three-and-a-half years. That being said, a yearly check-up is actually a good idea for mezuzahs that might have sustained damage due to exposure to harsh sunlight or excessive humidity. Of course, if one notices that a particular mezuzah has been affected by the elements, he should check it right away.

    Aside from these set times, it is customary to check one’s mezuzahs if he finds himself or his family in a “sea of troubles” or ill health. Our Sages attribute special protective powers to the mezuzah, and if things are going haywire there might be a glitch in the “mezuzah force-field”. Of course, it might be a good idea to check one’s moral and ethical behavior at the same time!

    There is an additional custom that many have during Elul, the Hebrew month preceding Rosh Hashana, which is a special time for self-improvement and an opportunity to “get right with God” before the Day of Judgment. During this period, some meticulous individuals have a custom of having their mezuzahs checked each year to make sure that the parchment and the letters have not been damaged.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team