Guardian: The Physical and the Spiritual

Those familiar with the concept of a Mezuzah (a parchment inscribed with religious texts and attached in a case to the doorpost of a Jewish house as a sign of faith) would be the first to notice one. Particularly, if it were fastened to a doorpost in a most unexpected, interesting, place. The Century 21 Department Store chains probably qualify as such.

As I made my way toward the exit, I noticed the small white Mezuzah affixed on the right side of the door frame. Taken by surprise, I reached up to touch the holy object, putting my fingers to my lips to give it a kiss, as is customary upon entering or exiting a Jewish space. The security guard standing beside the door seemed just as perplexed as I, and stopped me with one foot out the door, to inquire as to what I had just done, and why.

I explained that parchment is placed within the small encasement and affixed on the doorpost of a Jewish home or work space. The parchment contains the “Shema” prayer, expressing the unity of God and the commandment to love God with all of one’s heart. The reason for the kissing is such: As is common with a worldly king, he sits inside his palace on his thrown, protected from the outside by his guards. However, with God, his servants remain within the home whilst he protects them from the outside. The kissing of the Mezuzah is my reminder that God will protect my departure and arrival, now and forever.

The security guard just looked at me; he let out a breath and nodded. He then thanked me for the explanation, and I turned to go. As I reached the street, I turned back toward the entrance on a last glance. The security guard had his hand reached up to the Mezuzah. He then drew it back down, and kissed it.