Keeping the Safeguard Safe

Contrary to what one might assume, choosing the perfect Mezuzah case takes exceptional effort. A child’s bedroom, for example, could take the loud, the colorful and the fun. Whereas the entry doorway to your home may demand a case of stately beauty, elegance, and warmth. It takes persistence and more time than one would admit to finally deem a Mezuzah case “the one.” However, one must also practice this same patience when it comes to the actual installation of the mezuzah itself.

In this instance, I refer not to the possible oversight of the Mezuzah’s Biblical requirements of height, placement and angle, but to the physical act of hammering those nails into your post and labeling the mission “done.” This particular oversight has the potential of yielding long term effects, specifically; ensuring that a child a mere five years of age would never again confuse her own left hand for her right.

As I ran through the hallway of my elementary school, I noted the beautiful wooden mezuzah decorating the doorway to the cafeteria. As I had done so many times before, I reached my little kindergartener’s hand up to tap that mezuzah as I ran by, intending to give it a hurried little kiss. Being respectful of the squeamish, I will spare the specific details of what occurred then. Simply, what I felt was an unexpected and very large “ouch,” and simultaneously it was discovered that the nail holding the mezuzah in place had never been properly drilled in.

Anyone with a technical mind would be wondering exactly how my palm got “caught” if the flat end of the nail was obviously the portion sticking out of the wall. That alone should give you an idea of exactly how hard I must’ve slammed my hand, and how painful the result. The conclusion is such; the combination of the flat head of a nail resting on even the slightest of slants, and enough childhood momentum, can cause serious injury, likely greater than that of the sharp end of the nail itself.

I can still see and feel the scar from that incident on my right hand so many years later. And since then, not once have I confused my right hand, what I call my “Mezuzah hand,” from my left.

Mezuzah installation must be done with the same precision and care as demonstrated when choosing it. Let us remain protected by the holy mezuzah, and need not be protected from it.