How Should I Hang a Mezuzah? What Are the Prayers?

Answered by
Cantor Michael A. Shochet

"We painted the interior of our house and want to put back our mezuzah. How should it be put on the doorpost and what prayers do we say?"

The Biblical commandment "And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates" from Deuteronomy 6:9 is the source for the practice of affixing a mezuzahmezuzahמְזוּזָהLiterally, “doorpost;” a decorative case that holds a handwritten parchment scroll of the Shema and V’ahavta. Mezuzot are placed on external and internal doorposts of homes to fulfill the commandment in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 “inscribe them [these words] on the doorposts of your house.” to the doorposts of your house.

Traditional Jewish practice is that a mezuzah should be affixed to every door in a house except for the bathroom, even if there are many rooms or if a room has more than one door. As long as a door can be used as an entrance and exit, a mezuzah should be affixed to the doorpost.

It should be affixed to the doorpost on the right hand side of a person entering the room, should be about 2/3 of the way up the doorpost, and affixed diagonally with the top of the mezuzah slanting in towards the house or the entrance of the room. If the doorpost is not wide enough, the mezuzah should be affixed vertically.

Before affixing the mezuzah, the following benediction is recited:

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu lik-bo-a m'zu-zah. 
Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign of the universe, who hallows us with mitzvot and commands us to affix the mezuzah.

While many Reform Jews follow the custom of placing a mezuzah on the doorframe of each appropriate room, many choose to place a mezuzah only on the the front and/or bedroom doorframes.

A service for affixing the mezuzah is found on page 141 in the CCAR publication "On the Doorposts of Your House."

To learn more about mezuzot, check out these great articles:

What Is a Mezuzah? Why And How Do We Use It?

What Can We Do For Those Who Can't Reach the Mezuzah?