The Mitzvah; Its Importance & Reward

 

1. The Mitzvah:[1]

It is a positive commandment to write the paragraphs of “Shema” and “Vehaya Im Shamaoa”[2] and to then place it on the doorpost.

 

2. Its importance:[3]

One must be very careful to fulfill this command. [The reason for this is because the Mezuzah contains everyone’s constant obligations, and whenever one enters and leaves his home he will recall the unity of G-d and hid love for Him, and thus awaken from his spiritual slumber with the knowledge that the only thing which really matters in life is ones service of G-d. The Mezuzah is thus one of the “angels” which prevent a person from sinning.[4]]

 

3. The purpose and reward:[5]

Anyone who is careful[6] to fulfill this command will merit long life for himself and for his children.[7] One who is not careful to fulfill it, will have his days shortened.[8] [Furthermore, the Mezuzah protects ones house[9] in a miraculous fashion.[10] This protection provided by the Mezuzah is in truth the entire purpose behind the Mitzvah.[11] Nevertheless one should not fulfill the mitzvah in order for it to give him protection, but rather because it is a commandment of G-d[12].]


[1] 285/1

[2] The reason: As in both paragraphs the command of writing a Mezuzah is mentioned. [Shach 285/1]

[3] Michaber ibid

[4] Ramabam Laws Of Mezuzah Chapter 6/13

[5] 285/1

[6] Lit. “Zahir”

[7] Michaber ibid; Shabbos 32b

The source: As is stated explicitly in the verse following the command “Lman Yirbu Yimeichem Uyimei Bineichem Al Hadama….” [Shach 285/2]

[8] Michaber ibid

[9] Avoda Zara 11a; Menachos 33b; Tur 285

[10] Beis Yosef; This aspect of the Mitzvah is even greater than the previous mentioned reward, being that usually a Mitzvah only protects a person at the time of its performance [as mentioned in Sotah 21a], which is regarding Mezuzah at a time that one remembers the unity of G-d written in the Mezuzah. Thus the novelty here is that even when a person is sleeping and is not involved in the Mitzvah, it protects him. [Beis Yosef brought in Taz 289/1] However the Bach explains this matter differently, as will be explained in the next footnote.

[11] Tosafos Menachos 44a “Lishimur Avid/The Mitzvah of Mezuzah is in order to protect ones home.” Similarly, the Bach on the Tur explains that the difference between the guarding that one receives from the Mezuzah, and the rewards that are mentioned regarding all the other Mitzvos, including the reward here of long life, is that usually a reward is only given by G-d in the future and in accordance to ones effort, however by the Mitzvah of Mezuzah, in addition to the future reward of long life that G-d gives, the Mezuzah itself naturally guards. Thus, the guarding in truth is not a reward but is a direct effect of the Mezuzah itself. [This is similar to how a key effects that a door is locked; this effect is not termed a reward, as a reward is only termed when one receives something which is not an obligated natural result of what he did, but rather was decided to be given in exchange for him doing so.] This aspect found in this Mitzvah of Mezuzah, that the Mitzvah itself brings a direct physical advantage, is not found by any other mitzvah. Similarly, we do not find by any other Mitzvah that the Mitzvah was given in order to give one a physical benefit. It is for this reason that we find that the Halacha states that one needs to place the mezuzah on the outer Tefach in order for it to guard the entire house, as this is the purpose of the Mitzvah. [Likkutei Sichos 19 p. 121]

[12] Tur ibid

The reason: Although the purpose of the Mitzvah of Mezuzah is to protect, nevertheless one must fulfill Hashem’s decrees like a servant, irrelevant to the reason why he was commanded to do them. However in this case one can have in mind to fulfill the Mitzvah of Hashem to protect ones house with the Mezuzah. Furthermore, even one who places a Mezuzah in order for the Mitzvah to bring him protection, although this is considered that he is doing the Mitzvah for an ulterior motif [lo lishma], nevertheless he has still fulfilled the Mitzvah. Regarding that which the Rambam writes [that one who writes names of angels on the Mezuzah to add in protection is considered a fool, and has lost his portion in the world to come being that he turned G-d’s command into a personal pleasure] this was only said in that case, being that they have proven by adding angels to the Mezuzah that they don’t believe that it’s the Mitzvah that protects, but rather think that it is a good luck charm and thus are considered heretics. [Nonetheless from here it is implied that it is forbidden for one to place a Mezuzah if he doesn’t G-d Forbid believe in the Mitzvah and rather thinks it brings good luck.] [Likkutei Sichos ibid]

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