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
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.
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