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Mezuzah

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Mezuzah—Halachic Ruling

 

Or: The Odd Piety of Haifa University

 

To every door, gateway, entrance and opening in the university a mezuzah was affixed with outstanding piety. There is even a mezuzah on every opening in the dividers of the Open Space in the library!!!

 

The university, the stronghold of liberal education and an institution which a centuries old tradition has freed of the yolk of the ruling church, compels an absolutely religious commandment on all who enter it.

 

The hanging of thousands of mezuzot, on every possible door post in the university, in view of all who do not believe, is clear religious coercion.

 

This whole matter would not be so strange and ridiculous had there been a real Jewish halachic reason for this academic mass-mezuzah placement, but there is none!

 

The greatest of all Jewish halachic arbiters, the Rambam, determines in The Laws of Mezuzah, chapter 6 (halacha 1):

 

“There are ten conditions [must exist] in a house, and [only] after that is the resident required to put up a mezuzah; and if one condition is missing, he is exempt from placing a mezuzah. And they are: … and it shall be a person’s residence, … and a permanent residence:”

 

That is, only a place of residence meant for permanent inhabitation requires a mezuzah, according to Jewish halacha. The university buildings do not fulfill the two conditions: they are not residence halls and certainly are not meant as permanent domiciles. The Rambam determined unambiguously that non-fulfillment of merely one condition is enough to negate the requirement of a mezuzah and here two conditions were not met!

 

The fact that a house which is not a residence, and especially a house which serves as only as a place of learning (like a study hall) does not require a mezuzah appears even in the Talmud! In the tractate Menachot, page 33, is it written:

 

“The entrance through which Rabbi would enter the study hall had no mezuzah on it.” As is known, the indefinite phrase “Rabbi” in the language of the Talmud means Rabbi Yehuda the Nasi, the man who collected and wrote the six orders of the Mishna, a very central man in Jewish law!

 

Why does the university have to be more holy than Rabbi Yehuda the Nasi? Why were thousands of mezuzot hung there with no halachic justification, according to the Rambam? Why do students and the staff have to suffer religious coercion which hasn’t even any religious justification?

 

And we might simply ask this: a kosher mezuzah costs some 100 shekel. Who bought thousands of unnecessary mezuzot? Who sold them? Where did the money come from and where did it go? These are, finally, the true religious questions of our day.

 

daatemet@netvision.net.il         P.O. Box 3945 Tel Aviv 61393

 

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