All About The Mezuzah, Shofars, and Hunting In Israel
Hunting in Israel includes some unique practices. One of these include the belief that the mezuzah and shofar will bring them luck during hunting.
But for those who are not familiar with these beliefs, it would be best to understand the meaning behind these Jewish symbols.
Let’s discover more about the origins of the mezuzah and shofar and why they are important among hunters in Israel.
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Mezuzah And Shofar Meaning - Hunting In Israel
First of all the mezuzah has a biblical root, which was mentioned in Deuteronomy 6:9, and 11:20. In scripture, it was written, “And you shall inscribe them (mezuzot) on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Thus, it was an instruction by God, which the Jewish people continue to live up to this day.
Now, what is a mezuzah, exactly? It is a klaf or a parchment where the Torah’s verses are inscribed. In addition, it also pertains to the case in which this parchment is kept.
Hence, there are two specific functions of the mezuzah. One, it is intended to symbolize that everyone else in the house abides by the Jewish tradition, rituals, beliefs, and rules. Two, it serves as a reminder of the Jews’ covenant with God. In this sense, they are to keep these promises made with God no matter what happens.
On the other hand, the shofar is a musical instrument made from a ram’s horn. It is typically sounded during Sabbath, according to the biblical times. Or to program a new king’s anointing. Today, the shofar is blown when Israel’s president of the state is sworn into office.
A shofar is made from the horn of an animal but need not to be a ram. In fact, in biblical times, a goat’s horn was used to make a shofar. Eventually, any animal that is from the bovidae family may be used but with greater preference for the sheep’s and ram’s horn. It also does not have to be a kosher animal since the shofar is not intended for consumption.
Interestingly, these Jewish symbols hold a special place among people who engage in hunting in Israel. To them, the mezuzah and shofar bring good luck during hunting. There are pendants in the shape of a mezuzah and shofar, and hunters wear these around their neck with the hopes of getting some good luck.
The Klaf And Mezuzah
Now, there are interesting features that are unique about the mezuzah. For instance, the klaf is typically hand-lettered by kosher scribes who strictly observe halacha or Jewish law. These are the only individuals who qualify for the task of inscribing the klaf.
As for the container, there are no special requirements involved. One can simply make it at home or purchase it. Any type of material or shape may be used to make this container. Then, the scroll is rolled from left to right, which makes it possible to show the first words when unrolled.
Afterwards, the scroll goes into the container. Yet, it is not to be sealed permanently. The custom is that this scroll will be opened twice in a span of seven years. This is to check if any of the inscriptions have become damaged or faded over time.
Using The Mezuzah
It is customary among the Jewish people to hang the mezuzah at the doorposts in the house. As long as the room has two doorposts, a mezuzah needs to be affixed in them. On the other hand, some areas of the house are exempt from the rule such as the laundry room, bathroom, boiler room, and closets, to name a few.
Upon moving in to the new home, one needs to put up the mezuzah as soon as possible. The rule is that it should not be delayed for more than thirty days. However, if one is only living in a particular place for a temporary time, then there is no need to set up a mezuzah. This is true among those who do not plan to live in the said place for thirty days or so.
Businesses or office spaces also do not need a mezuzah. But in the case of a dormitory room, which is often regarded by students as their second home, needs to have a mezuzah.
When affixing the mezuzah, certain practices are implemented. For instance, it needs to be placed on the door’s right side portion, just as when someone enters the room. So, if your door opens from the hallway and into the bedroom, you need to affix the mezuzah to the right-hand side of the doorpost.
Moreover, it must be placed at the lower portion of the doorpost’s top third part. In simpler terms, it should be the eyeball height of a person about six foot tall.
It is important to note that the mezuzah holds the name of God. With this in mind, the Jewish people are very strict about not allowing it to fall off. This is why great care is applied to attach it securely from the top and bottom instead of simply hanging it by a nail.
However, if you have a narrow doorpost, then you can place the mezuzah in a slanting position. You can also attach it vertically but be sure to have the top and bottom portions glued or nailed.
Final Thoughts On The Mezuzah
There are certain things that people wonder about the mezuzah - whether it is an amulet or not. The truth is that there are inscriptions that appear on the parchment in the container. The word is “Shaddai”, which is one of the many names of God. According to the Jews, He is the Guardian of all Israel’s doors.
It is also not surprising that due to the lettering, there are others who link the mezuzah to superstitious beliefs. There are people who have considered it as a kind of a magical charm with special powers or purpose. One can even think that by not having a mezuzah, they may be subject to some misfortune.
But one thing is for certain - the mezuzah is not in any shape or form a protective item. It also does not hold any source of punishment for those who do not have this item in their possession. Instead, it is a reminder of God’s covenant with His people and the Jewish people’s commitment to create a household that obey and love God.