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January 31, 2008



what makes a mezuzah unfit? I'm guessing when you buy a cheap knock-off rather than one certified by the local rabbi. i wonder if they make them in china also.


I believe that if Israel made a giant mezuzah, maybe a 100 meters long, it might be effective by protecting all of Israel from all harm--sort of a Zionist force field.

Dion Nissenbaum

According to custom, mezuzahs must be affixed to the door frames at a certain height and angle. If the parchment inside becomes damaged or torn, it is considered defective. If the words are blurred by weather, the mezuzah is considered defective.

James Hannah

Good Grief! I'm sure that the missles were sent with prayers desirous of their striking their targets. Could those prayers have been defective as well?


Preliminaries ... I am a Jew. I have had friends who are members of the Lubavitch and thus I have some insight into their "magical thinking." Religious objects such as Mezuzuahs have (according to Lubavitchers) have magical properties that impart protective qualities. These objects must conform exactly to specifications defined in Jewish Law in order to provide these protective qualities.

This is not mainstream Judaism by any stretch of the imagination. I'm surprised that the mainstream Orthodox haven't denounced the Lubavitcher Rabbis for their pronouncement. (Maybe they have, but it hasn't been reported.)

The Mezuzuah holds some of the most sacred words in Judaism. Jews have been instructed to place this object on their door posts. Thus, the Mezuzuah on the door post is a sign of faith and devotion, and membership in the Jewish community. That's it. Nothing more.

The Lubavitchers are saying that a perfect mezuzuah is something more ... a talisman. That is, "a small object intended to bring good luck and/or protection to its owner." This is sympathetic magic, also known as witchcraft. Something specifically forbidden under Jewish Law. (Not under pain of death as has been many times misinterpreted, but that's for another time.)

Will the Orthodox denounce this pronouncement or not? Most Israelis care little, but small, noisy groups do. So, I'm interested to see how this will play out.


This is the best satirical piece I've read outside The Onion. Really funny stuff. Keep it up.

Georgann Marks

How do we get one of these to protect us from Jewish Americans.

I'm sick of living in Sobibor West with a Jew in every watchtower.

Georgann Marks

How do we get one of these to protect us from Jewish Americans.

I'm sick of living in Sobibor West with a Jew in every watchtower.

Deborah Hartman

What are the words written on the Mezuzahs? In English

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Checkpoint Jerusalem was written by Dion Nissenbaum, who covered the Middle East as Jerusalem bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers from 2005 to 2009.

Nissenbaum is now McClatchy's bureau chief in Kabul, covering south Asia with an emphasis on Afghanistan. See his new blog at Checkpoint Kabul.

Feel free to send a story suggestion. Read his stories at news.mcclatchy.com.


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