“And write these on the doorposts of your house and your gates.” The basis of placing a Mezuzah on exit and entryways is to affix the central teaching of Judaism (the Shema prayer) wherever and whenever we come and go. Our movements can be conscious or unconscious—purposeful or unintended. When we come from the public domain into the private domain, or exit from the private domain to the public we pause at the Mezuzah (the tradition is to “kiss” the Mezuzah—connecting the prayer to ourselves) a pause that informs us to reflect on where we are coming from and where we are going. Each night we say the Shema prayer as we exit the public domain and enter the private domain of our dream states. We also say the Shema prayer in the morning as we prepare to exit our private domain and enter into the public domain.
I suggested a while ago that to become more conscious of our exiting and entering that we take note of how we close the front door as we enter and exit our building. Without a conscious pause we enter and exit routinely—and the door closes on its own with a loud noise. There is now a sign on both sides of the door—a reminder to enter and exit consciously. I would further suggest a practice of saying these words aloud as a meditation—“enter consciously” and “exit consciously” when you come into and leave our building.
As we have taught in class, the Mezuzah is placed diagonally on the doorpost (from left to right) which parallels the diagonal of the Hebrew letter Alef. By picturing the Alef as we pass through doors and gates we are reminded of our intention to connect and make whole our lives (Alef = One, uniting what is above and below, inside and outside and private and public).
Each day we open and close so many actual doors. Then there are the many gates and doors we choose to avoid—in the worlds of our emotions and spirit. Tina Collen is speaking for us tomorrow night—our second speaker in this year’s Kabbalah Live series. Her story and aha moments she will share with us help reveal the doors and gates that cause us pause as we summon the courage to enter and exit.