DOORPOSTS by Raphael ben Levi
“And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.” (Deut. 6:9)
In biblical times, the doorpost of a house displayed a family’s values and identity. This helps us better understand why God commanded the blood of the first Passover Lamb to be applied to the doorpost of each Israelite household: (Ex.12: 21–22)
The custom of ‘writing’ God’s Word on the doorposts of homes has been observed throughout Jewish history. Over time, this was replaced by a small container attached to the right-hand side of it that is known as a ‘mezuzah’ which in Hebrew literally means ‘doorpost.’
Inside each mezuzah is a rectangular piece of parchment called a ‘klaf,’ which is made from a specially prepared skin of a biblically clean (kosher) animal. The ‘klaf’ is scribed with Hebrew lettering from Deut.6:4–9 and Deut.11:13–2. Often, the container displays the Hebrew letter ‘shin’ on the outside, which stands for ‘Shaddai’ (Almighty God). The three Hebrew letters that make up the name ‘Shaddai’ (שַׁדַּי) is an acronym for ‘Shomer Daltot Yisrael’ (‘Keeper of the Doors of Israel’).
Recently, I thought about the mezuzah in our current home, made from Jerusalem stone, that has accompanied us from one new residence to the next in our travels around the world over a period spanning almost 40 years. Reflecting upon the many experiences we have had in diverse lands and places, it was a sweet thing to know that in every circumstance our identities were so to speak, ‘nailed’ upon the doorpost. It not only presented others with a visible sign of a Jewish home but, as believers, it contained a powerful message that our bodies are the outer shell that houses the essence of who we are in Him.
When Yeshua was asked which commandment He considered to be the most important, He replied from the passage found in the mezuzah: “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God; the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength.” (Mark 12:29; Deut. 6:4–5)
There is no specific reference to the mezuzah in the New Testament but its message resounds throughout every page from beginning to end. May our hearts be always ready to receive the One who is the Keeper of the Doors of Israel.