Mine is Bigger Than Yours

In an effort to be faithful to Deuteronomy 6:9 (“And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates.”*), Jews typically attach a “small” box, containing Bible texts from Deuteronomy**, to most door frames in their homes. (NOTE: Technically, the parchment paper with the Bible texts is the mezuzah, but it has become common practice to refer to the box containing the paper as the mezuzah as well.)

In Israel, it is unusual to find a home or building without a mezuzah, so it is quite easy to recognize that there is “freedom of expression” allowed in the design of a mezuzah; and that freedom extends to the color, size, symbols and type of material used. For example, some are fun like the 4.5 inch (11.43cm) ceramic Noah’s Ark mezuzah (at the right), which is available from The Mezuzah Store. Additionally, The Judaica Mall has a collection of over 250 to choose from. If you are interested in more details about the ins and outs of the mezuzah you can see their information page here.

I’ve heard it said, “There’s always room for a little healthy competition.” However, I never expected to find such competition in the world of the mezuzah. After all, isn’t it enough to “do the commandments” without rubbing your friends’ noses in it that you can do them bigger and better than they can? Well,…apparently not.

I recently came across the following advertisement (bold added for emphasis):

Adorn your mansion with a Mezzuzah Fit for a King.

We know that BIG is BEAUTIFUL.
A BIG lulav. A BIG succah. A BIG shul.

The standard size mezuzah is 12-15 cm. Twenty cm would be a big
mezuzah. Now you can get a HUGE Mezzuzah. Forty centimeters tall,hand-written on hand-crafted parchment.

Honor Hashem [G-d] in a scale that none of your friends or neighbors have yet achieved. Show your love for the Mitzvot by proudly displaying a mezuzah that can’t be missed.

Maybe, I’m missing something, but this advertiser seems to suggest that a major reason to purchase their particular mezuzah is to show off. Is that the purpose of the mezuzah?

“It hath been told thee, O man, what is good, and what HaShem doth require of thee: only to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy G-d.”***

Footnotes:
*The Holy Scriptures, Jewish Publication Society, © 1917, 1945, 1955.
**The passages contained in the mezzuzah are Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Deuteronomy 11:13-21.
***Micah 6:8, JPS Electronic Edition ©1998 by Larry Nelson, emphasis added

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