by Eran Hornick
What is a mezuzah?
The word "mezuzah" literally means "doorpost" in Hebrew. The mezuzah itself consists of the protective casing, or bayit/בית, and the sacred parchment inside, or claf/קלף. The parchment is a holy document, written by a scribe who concentrates on the spiritual meaning of each word. The text inscribed on the parchment is the first three paragraphs of the shema/שמע, the central prayer of the Jewish Faith. These paragraphs detail how every Jew must love God with all his or her heart, and states that these words should be placed on every Jew's doorposts and close to every Jew's heart.
The letter shin/ש on the bayit of many mezuzahs stands for Shadai/שדי, one of God's many names, which stands for "Guardian of the Doors of Israel," or שומר דלתות ישראל.
Roll the parchment with the words facing inward, towards the larger first word of shema/שמע, so that שמע is the first word that is seen when opening it. Place the mezuzah on the upper third of the right-hand doorpost as one is entering the room or hall, with the top of the mezuzah slanted slightly towards the inside of the room. Then say the following blessing:
Baruch ata adonai eloheynu melech ha'olam asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu likboa mezuzah.
Blessed are you Lord our God King of the Universe,
who has sanctified us with his commandments,
and commanded us on the placing of a mezuzah.
The parchment inside should be taken out and checked by a scribe every three years to make sure that the letters are still legible and kosher.
אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וציונו לקבוע מזוזה ברוך אתה ד'