Copyright/attribution: St Fagans National Museum of History
What do you see?
We can see some Hebrew letters. We can also see a silver case. What do you see?
What do we know?
A Mezuzah is a scroll inside a tiny box. The box can be made of many different materials. This mezuzah is made of silver. The scroll is made from parchment, which is made from the skin of a kosher animal. The Hebrew writing is written in ink with a feather quill. Hebrew is written and read from right to left and is the Holy language for Jewish people. On the scroll is the Shema prayer, which is the most important prayer in Judaism. This prayer reminds Jewish people that there is only one God.
The word ‘mezuzah’ means doorpost. The scroll with the Shema prayer is rolled up and placed inside the box. The mezuzah is then hung on the doorposts of Jewish homes. Some Jewish people will hang a mezuzah only on the outside of their homes, while other Jewish people might have a mezuzah on every doorpost in their home, apart from the bathroom. Some Jewish people will kiss their finger tips and touch the mezuzah each time they enter and exit a room. Hanging a mezuzah on the doorposts of a Jewish home is one of the 613 commandments, or mitzvot, in the Torah.
What do we wonder?
We might wonder who owned this mezuzah? We might wonder who wrote the scroll? What do you wonder?
Why might it be important for many Jewish people to hang a mezuzah outside their homes?
Why does a society need rules or laws for people to follow? What are some of the benefits? What might some of the challenges be?