- Question: [Thursday 22nd Marcheshvan 5782]
I bought a few new expensive Mezuzos to replace some of my old ones which are still kosher. My question is whether I need to say a blessing when I replace the old mezuzos with the new ones.
One who replaces his Mezuzas is to recite a new blessing upon placing the new Mezuzas. [Although there are some Poskim who rule a new blessing is not to be said, in my opinion, one should follow the former directive and recite the blessing.]
The question, and subsequent debate, as to whether replacing an old mezuzah with a new mezuzah deserves a new blessing is based on the general question of whether a Mitzvah that is a Chiyuv Haguf deserves a new blessing said when another item is then used to perform the Mitzvah [which was not around during the original blessing over the old item used for the mitzvah or if an interval was made]. There are many cases in which this question is pertinent, including: 1) Does one repeat a blessing if he desires to switch his Tzitzis for another pair? 2) Does one repeat a blessing if he donned Tefillin and now received another pair and desires to switch pairs? 3) Does one repeat a blessing if he desires to switch Sukkah’s in middle of a meal? And likewise, the same question applies in our case; does one repeat a blessing if he switches Mezuzos? Regarding the case of Tzitzis, the Poskim explicitly rule that a blessing is to be repeated on the second pair if a Hefsek took place between the blessing of the first pair and the wearing of the second pair. Seemingly, this would set the standard for the above question that whenever one uses another item to fulfill the mitzvah another blessing must be repeated. However, some Poskim argue that the case of Tzitzis is an exception, being that every four cornered garment has an intrinsic obligation of Tzitzis, as opposed to tefillin and Sukkah in which the obligation is on the person himself to wear tefillin or eat in a sukkah, and as opposed to Mezuzah in which the obligation is on the doorpost and not on the Mezuzah itself. Hence, by the mitzvah of mezuzah, we follow whether an interval was made in the fulfillment of the mitzvah on the doorpost, and if an interval was not made, such as one is replacing the old mezuzah with a new one as soon as he takes it down, then a new blessing is not recited. This same concept of Tzitzis can be found regarding the mitzvah of circumcision and slaughtering in which we rule that one who needs to circumcise two children or slaughter two animals must repeat the blessing if an interval was made in between, being that the mitzvah is on each individual child and on each individual animal. This is unlike tefillin, sukkah or Mezuzah, in which the mitzvah is not on the object but on the individual or home, and hence a blessing is never repeated with a new mitzvah object unless the person himself made an interval between the fulfillment of the mitzvah with the old mitzvah object and the new one. Practically, while the above differentiation may seem reasonable, Admur and many other Poskim clearly reject it, as they rule in the case of the sukkah that one does need to repeat the blessing of Leishev Basukkah if he switches sukkah’s in middle of the meal. Thus, from here we learn that whenever another mitzvah object is being used, a blessing must be recited irrelevant of whether the mitzvah is fulfilled on the individual or is fulfilled on the object. Based on this, other Poskim conclude that also by mezuzah a new blessing must be recited when replacing the old mezuzah with a new one, and so is the final ruling that one should follow as rules Admur regarding sukkah.
Sources: Poskim who rule that a blessing is to be recited when replacing a Mezuzah: Mahram Shick Yoreh Deah 285; Daas Kedoshim Y.D. 289; Implication of Magen Avraham and Admur from their ruling regarding Sukkah, as explained in Mahrshag ibid; Poskim who rule that a blessing is not to be recited when replacing a Mezuzah: Shut Mahrshag 1 Yoreh Deah 57; See Shearim Hametzuyanim Behalacha 3; See regarding repeating the blessing when putting on a new pair of Tztzis: Admur 8:21; Michaber 8:12 and 1st opinion in Michaber Y.D. 19:5; M”A 8:14 [according to correct Nussach as stated in Admur in Kuntrus Acharon 8:3]; Rosh; Tur; Shach 19:7 and “all Acharonim” [Kuntrus Acharon 8:3]; See regarding repeating the blessing when putting on a new pair of tefillin: Zera Emes 1:5; Erech Hashulchan 25:2 in Hashmatos; Chesed Lealafim 25: 9; Shaareiy Teshuvah 25; Artzos Hachaim 25; M”B 25:50; Kaf Hachaim 25:79; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 25:22; See regarding repeating the blessing when moving to a new sukkah in middle of a meal: Admur 639:14; M”A 639:17; Elya Raba 639:18; Derech Hachaim 17; M”B 639:48 in name of M”A ibid; Kitzur SHU”A 135:14; Birchach Habayis 52:22; See Admur 8:21-22; M”A 8:17; See Beis Hillel Y.D. 289 regarding a Mezuzah; See Kaf Hachaim 639:99 and Piskeiy Teshuvos 639:19-3 See regarding repeating the blessing when slaughtering two animals: Michaber Y.D. 19:5 in Stam opinion, and Shach 19:7 that so is final ruling of all Achronim; See regarding repeating the blessing when circumcising two children: Rama Y.D. 265:5