A Mezuzah’s Great Powers
By Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum
The mezuzah contains our pledge of allegiance to Hashem. It contains the most important foundations and fundamental principles of our belief. It speaks about our belief in only One G-d, our love for Him and His Torah and the importance of keeping the mitzvos. It contains Hashem’s promise to us that if we serve Him properly He will bring the rains in their proper times and He will reward us with His abundant blessings. Those who keep His mitzvos properly are assured of a long life as it says “L’maan yirbu y’meichem vi’ymei b’neichem…”
The Torah tells us that certain mitzvos such as respecting our father and mother rewards us with special benefits and blessings. The gemara, as well as the poskim tells us that in the merit of the mitzvah of mezuzah, Hashem Whose Holy Name appears in it ten times protects those living in the house. While we should do mitzvos only because Hashem commanded them, we certainly appreciate the blessing and special benefits they provide.
The Gemarah Minochos (33) says “It is a mitzvah to put it within the tefach which is close to the outside. Says Rebbi Chanina from Surah, “so that it protects us.” (The entire house – Rashi.) Rabbi Chanina says, “Come and see how G-d’s actions are different from that of man. With man, it is the master that sits inside while his servants protect him from the outside, while with G-d it is just the opposite. His servants sit inside while Hashem protects them from the outside.”
The Yerushalmi in Mesecta Pe’ah (perek 1) tells an interesting story Artvon (who was the king of Persia) sent Rebbi Yehudah Hanasi a very expensive stone with the request that he send him back something of equal value. Whereby, Rebbi wrote a mezuzah and sent it to him in return. When Artvon received the mezuzah he got very angry and said, “I sent you something of great value, and you sent me a cheap piece of parchment in return?” Rebbi responded, “You sent me something for which I will have to hire a watchman to protect it, whereas I sent you something that will offer you protection.”
The Rambam in Hilchos Mezuzah (perek 6) says that a person must be extremely careful with the mitzvah of mezuzah, and that every time one walks in or out he comes into contact with the concept of the oneness of G-d’s Holy Name. This should serve to remind us of our great love for Him and awaken us from our indulgence in mundane worldly pleasures.
The holy Zohar in Parshas Devorim (265) says,( and I translate freely;) “Come and see, that a person is required to inscribe the Holy Name upon the doorpost of his home. For this is the basic belief. Every place that the Holy Name is found – the bad spirits cannot be found, and they are unable to act upon a person. When a person puts a mezuzah on his door, and the Holy Name is inscribed within its letters, then the person is crowned with the Crown of his Master, and the bad spirits are unable to get close and therefore cannot be found there.”
The Taz in Shulchan Aruch (285) says that the mezuzah has the unique ability and property to protect us around the clock, even while we are asleep. While it is well known that it is extremely rare for Hashem to perform an open miracle since He always tries to disguise them in ordinary ways, the Bais Yosef says that the mitzvah of mezuzah contains the unique power and ability to even bring about open or visible miracles.
The Mechilta in Parshas Bo says “If the blood that was put on one’s doorpost in Egypt had the power to keep the mashchis out of the house, how much more so is the power of the mezuzah which has the name of Hashem mentioned in it ten times.” Perhaps this is why the Name Shin Daled Yud which is the Name representing Hashem’s great power and strength appears on it. This Name also stands for “Shomer Dalsos Yisroel” – He protects the doors of the Jews. In fact, the letters of the word mezuzos can be rearranged to make the word” zuz moves” which means it moves away death.
Certainly at a time like this when we all can use every bit of Hashem’s protection, it is extremely important to make sure that our mezuzos are in perfect shape.
One must always remember that even the best sofer is only human and therefore can make a mistake. This is why it is important that in addition to a sofer checking the mezuzah to make sure that the letters are shaped properly, one should also have it checked by the computer of the Vaad Mishmeres Stam for textual errors. It is very important to emphasize that a computer is not a replacement for a sofer. It is not used to check for letter shapes but rather to discover missing or extra letters or words, or incorrectly substituted letters or words. It has at present (April 2001) already checked sifrei Torah worldwide and has found of the without any mistakes. This means that any sefer Torah that was no checked by the computer has only a 28% chance of being kosher. It has also checked thousands of mezuzos and teffilin and found more than 10% of them possul plus another 10% that needed repair.
Another thing which we must be very careful with is the actual placement of the mezuzah. It must be on the right doorpost (as we enter) and also directly under the doorway’s lintel (mashkof) . This can run into a big problem with certain type of doors that are quite common in Israel where one sometimes finds that the doorpost is no wider then the door itself. When one affixes the mezuzah to the side of the door rather then directly under the lintel, it may be problematic since according to many poskim this would be considered posul or at most, only kosher b’dieved. In such cases it is necessary to hollow out the doorpost itself so that the mezuzah is placed directly under the lentil – the mashkof. Sometimes it may be difficult to determine which side to put the mezuzah on since one enters the room from more then one direction and a knowledgable rav should be consulted. Putting it on the wrong side is as if there is no mezuzah, so don’t decide on your own. It can sometimes be quite a tricky business to get it correct. Experience has shown that it is sometimes necessary for the posek to actually see the configuration of the doorway on his very own and not rely on descriptions given to him over the telephone. One must also be very careful not to insert the mezuzah upside down something that’s not uncommon. As shocking as it may sound, many sofrim have told me that on occasion they have even opened mezuzah cases and have found nothing inside. While these details may seem trivial, in truth it can make all the difference between having a kosher mezuzah on your door post or not.
Just as we go for a health checkup even though we feel fine, so too it’s worthwhile to have a mezuzah check even if we are sure that they are fine. You may be surprised at the results. Everyone has his own stories he can tell you, so why take chances?
TELL OF HIS GREAT MIRACLES
When the famed Brisker Rav z”tl was told of the great miracle that took place in the religious village of Kommemiut, Israel the year after shmittah – when all the kibbutzim in the neighborhood were invaded by locusts, yet the one moshav of Kommemiut which kept shmittah properly was spared – he remarked as follows: “It’s a mitzvah to tell others of this great miracle that took place.”
With that in mind, I’ve written this booklet.
For years I’ve been keeping extensive records on some amazing and fascinating stories relating to Tefillin and Mezuzos, that I would like to share with you. Even though I have hundreds of these on file, I’ve only chosen those that I know from first-hand sources. Whenever possible, I’ve also included a photostat copy of the original parsha or Mezuzah related to the story. Wherever the people have allowed me to use their real names I’ve done so. The shocking part of it all is that all these stories are authentic, and I haven’t exaggerated in the least. The stories speak for themselves.
BUT FIRST A SHORT INTRODUCTION
Let’s take a look into the Mechilta in Parshas Bo on the posuk : v’lo yuvo.. , and I translate (briefly): If the blood that was put on one’s doorpost in Egypt had the power to keep the mashchis out of the house, how much more so is the power of the Mezuzah which has the name of Hashem mentioned ten times.
Clearly, the Mechilta states that a Mezuzah carries with it the power of protection against outside invaders.
Now let’s take a look into the Gemarah Mesechta Menachos 33:
“It is a mitzvah to put the Mezuzah within a tefach (4 inches) of the street so that the entirety of the house will be watched..(The entire house is protected from dangers – Rashi.)
“Said Rabbi Hanina: Come see, the ways of the Holy One, Blessed Be He, are not the way of man. The way of man is that the king sits inside while his servants protect him on the outside; but the ways of Hashem are not thu; His servants sit inside while He guards them outside, as it is written: `G-d is your Protector, G-d is the Savior of your right arm, G-d will watch your comings and goings from now and forevermore”.
Here, again, we clearly see that a Mezuzah has the great power of protection.
Here’s another amazing Gemarah in Mesechta Shabbos 32:
“For the sin of not honoring the Mezuzah, a man’s son and daughters die when they are young, as it is written, `And you shall write them for Mezuzos upon your house.’ And afterwards it is written `So that your days may be lengthened” etc.
From here we see that negligence in the mitzvah of Mezuzah can be the cause for terrible catastrophes chas v’sholom. On the other hand, one who is very careful in this mitzvah is assured of a long life, as it says lima’an yirbu yimaychem…
The Yerushalmi in Mesechta Pe’ah (Perek 1) tells an interesting story: Artvon (who was the king of Persia) sent R’ Yehuda HaNasi a most expensive stone with the request that he send him back something of equal value. Whereby, R’ Yehuda HaNasi wrote a Mezuzah and sent it to him in return. When Artvon received the Mezuzah he was perplexed, and said, “I sent you something of great value, and you send me a cheap piece of parchment in return.” R’ Yehuda HaNasi answered, “You sent me something for which I will have to hire a watchman to protect it, whereby I sent you something that will offer you protection.”
A LOOK INTO THE SHULCHAN ARUCH
A look into Shulchan Aruch only reinforces the great importance and care we must give to this mitzvah. The Taz (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah: 285) writes as follows: Even though the Gemarah in Sotah says that all mitzvos (except for Torah) have the power to protect us only while we are actually engaged in doing them, yet the mitzvah of Mezuzah has the unique property and ability to protect us around the clock – even while we sleep.
A careful reading of the Bais Yosef (Tur Yoreh Deah: 285) tells us that the Mezuzah contains the power of open visible miracles.
“The protection of the house is an open miracle in that the others who live in houses without Mezuzos are not protected and those who live in a house with Mezuzos are protected.”
Some of the stories in this booklet will soon convince you that this is no mere aberration but rather a very common occurrence. Just ask any sofer, and I’m sure he can add plenty of stories of his own.
THE BEST INSURANCE AGAINST SINNING
Our chachomim (Menachos 43:) say that anyone who wears Tefillin on his head and arm, tzitzis on his clothing, and has a Mezuzah on his door, is assured not to sin. And so writes the Rambam (Perek 6 of Hilchos Tefilin).
How very important this is in today’s times, when we must be on our guard at every step we take. The pitfalls are numerous. The dangers lurk at every corner. We must, therefore, be especially careful in these mitzvos.
Because the mitzvah of Mezuzah has the special power of assuring one a long life, the Gemarah Kiddushin 34 therefore concludes that women must be included as well. After all, “C
an it be then,” says the Gemarah, “that men need to live long while women don’t?”
PROTECTION AGAINST THE FIERCE FIRES OF GEHINNOM
What would you pay for an insurance policy that would guarantee you protection from the hot burning fires of Gehinnom? You’d probably be willing to pay any price they’d ask, if you knew that it would really work!
Well, then, just take a look into the Tur Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim: 37):
It’s absolutely astounding! The great amorah Abaya says that he personally will be the guarantor that the fires of Gehinnom will have no effect Therefore how careful one must be to make sure that we wear a kosher pair of Tefillin. We must do everything possible to make sure that there are absolutely no problems. Have we really done so?
A BEAUTIFUL HOME
Another side benefit that one gets if he is extra careful in the observation of the mitzvah of Mezuzah is a beautiful home, as the Gemarah in Mesechta Shabbos 23. says. This gives us a total of four special benefits that this mitzvah brings in its wake:
(1) long life . . . . (2) protection . . . (3) prevents us from sin . . . (4) a beautiful home . . .
FINALLY, A LOOK INTO THE ZOHAR
Let me conclude with the Holy Zohar, in Parsho Devorim it says, and I translate freely:
“Come and see, that a person is required to inscribe the Holy Name upon the doorpost of his home. For every place that the Holy Name is found the bad spirits cannot be found there, and they are unable to act upon a person as the posuk says: lo siuna alecha ru, When a person puts a Mezuzah on his door, and the Holy Name is inscribed within its letters, then the person is crowned with the Crown of his Master, and the bad spirits are unable to get close and therefore cannot be found there.”
DOING A MITZVAH LISHMOH
Even though we know that each mitzvah has its special segulah, the Tur (Yoreh Deah: 285) says that one must do the mitzvos for no other reason than because Hashem commanded us. We need no further reason. Yet we are more than thankful at the special benefits they provide.
And so, after this brief introduction, let us begin by telling you some amazing stories!
A CHANGED PERSONALITY
Few stories leave such an indelible impression on me as this one has, and therefore I’ll tell it to you in greater detail than I usually do. I’m grateful to Rabbi R. for allowing me to use some of the names.
It all started when Rabbi R, who lived in Montreal at the time, began making preparations to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of his third son during the summer of ’92. He, of course, made sure to buy him a top-notch pair of Tefillin, written by a very reputable and well-known sofer in Eretz Yisroel. They cost him nearly $1,000. As is his custom, his son began to wear them approximately on Lag B’omer, which was sixty days before his Bar Mitzvah. Strangely enough, as his son put them on for the very first time, he began to cry. While this type of behavior seemed quite strange and peculiar, his parents made little of it. Perhaps he was just being a little over-emotional. But as time passed, they began to notice a sudden change in his behavior. He started acting very moody and wasn’t the same wonderful child he always had been. He began showing signs of slight depression and withdrawal and would many times cry when putting on his Tefillin. His parents began to worry and decided to take him to Dr. Waters, a top doctor in Montreal. He told them not to worry, since it was probably caused by some type of stress associated with his Bar Mitzvah.
As weeks passed, the situation began to deteriorate even further, and his parents became more and more worried. They simply couldn’t understand why he was acting so strangely. He had once been an excellent student, but now he was not concentrating on his studies and was doing very poorly. He had always been a very giving and sharing child, but he now seemed to keep everything to himself and didn’t share anything with others.
In desperation, they tried everything! They took him to the very best doctors, who prescribed all sorts of medication, yet it was all to no avail. His condition continued to deteriorate. They finally took the advice of one of their family pediatrician Dr. Friedman , who recommended a change of scenery. Rabbi R, who is also the rabbi at the Young Israel in Tampa, Florida, decided to take the family there. He also had all his Mezuzos checked but found nothing wrong with any of them. His son’s condition worsened to the point where he became rebellious and even refused to go to school and didn’t want to put on Tefillin. When his father began to put on Tefillin with him, he simply refused to say the brocho with Hashem’s name, but rather just read the word as Hashem. Many times he would still cry when putting them on.
His father took him to Dr. A. Silver, the head of the Psychology Department at the University of South Florida, but nothing seemed to help. His parents were at their wits’ end and simply didn’t know what to do anymore. There just didn’t seem to be a rational reason for their son’s strange behavior, and this, of course, caused them great grief and pain. How could such a wonderful boy suddenly change so completely? What was bothering him? What had triggered the terrible change? Nobody seemed able to find the solution.
Rabbi R. finally decided to move back to Montreal. He had wanted to have his son’s Tefillin checked beforehand, but the opportunity just never came. Now he finally decided to give the Tefillin to a local sofer at the yeshiva, to make sure that they were okay. He had paid a fortune of money for them, and they had been written by a very respected sofer, who is indeed a real yorai shomayim, and he had therefore dismissed the thought of actually having to check them. He was shocked by the results. He just couldn’t believe it until he saw it with his own eyes. An entire word – the word losays (to give) – was missing in the parsha of his shel yad. It was just too much to believe!
Rabbi R. immediately sent the Tefillin back to the sofer, who was utterly amazed at what had been found. In the morning, Rabbi R. gave his son his father’s own Tefillin to wear until new parshiyos would be written for his son.
Two days after his son began to wear a kosher pair, he suddenly became his normal self again, and once again began learning with great hasmodoh and displaying that great personality he had possessed before.
This story continues to remain in my mind more than any other. One wonders what high neshoma this young boy has that he was able to subconsciously feel that something was not in order!
IT’S ALL IN THE MEZUZAH
The story with this Mezuzah is absolutely fascinating, as it shows the great power it contains.
The son of Mr. M.S. was complaining of headaches and sharp pain in the eyes. When he went to the doctor for a checkup, he was advised to see an eye specialist at once. After a thorough examination by the eye doctor, he was told that his son would need to be operated on immediately; otherwise he would lose his sight in one eye. The operation was set for the next day.
M.S. called his Rov and asked that they say Tehillim for his son in shul and pray for a refuah shleimoh. The Rov told him to have his Mezuzos checked at once. M.S. said that he had already had all his Mezuzos checked just recently, and they all turned out to be fine. The Rov told him to at least take off the one by his son’s bedroom and have it checked again.
That same night, the father took off the Mezuzah and brought it to the sofer. He asked him to check it very carefully. Fifteen minutes later, Mr. M.S. got a call from the sofer that the Mezuzah was posul.
The very next morning, the father bought the very best Mezuzah that money could buy and put it up on the door. That very same day, at approximately 2:00 P.M., he brought his son to the hospital for a final checkup before having the operation. He was extremely nervous and edgy. Imagine his great surprise and exhilaration when the doctor came out of the examination room to inform him that he had decided not to operate as yet. He had noticed a small change for the better and decided to wait a few more days and see what would happen.
A week passed, and to the great surprise of the doctor, the headaches disappeared and the eye healed completely. Even the doctor admitted that it was an open miracle. There was no other rational explanation.
Here is a reproduction of the Mezuzah. When you see this mistake it will really boggle your mind.
HIS HOUSE WAS ROBBED TWICE
When Mr. L.W.’s house was robbed for the second time he decided to have his Mezuzos checked. The Mezuza he had affixed to his front door appears below. A quick glance at it and you will see at once why it offered no protection.
When I told this story to Rabbi David Shiinborsky, an expert sofer himself, he was quick to tell me that the very same thing happened to him. His story goes as follows:
“When I rented my second-floor office on 13th Avenue and 48th St. I had a robbery the very first Shabbos, I immediately put in an alarm system, gates on the windows and, of course – being a sofer -I also checked the Mezuzos but found nothing wrong. The previous owners told me that they had also had a series of robberies at the store. Unfortunately, the next week my office was broken into again, and this time the thieves even broke the alarm box. I then realized that in my haste to check the Mezuzos I had forgotten to check the very outside door. Sure enough, when I now checked that one I found it was posul. I replaced it at once. Boruch Hashem, more than a year has passed, and we’ve had no more break-ins.” Here is the Mezuzah.
HOW THEY GET IN!
Here’s a story that was told by Rabbi Chaim Vital, the famed student of the Ari HaKodosh, and which can be found in his Sefer HaGilgulim.
Many a time the Ari HaKodosh would send his prized student, Rabbi Chaim Vital on important missions in order to help people who had various problems or were possessed with ruchos and mazikim (harmful or destructive spirits). Rabbi Chaim Vital would, of course, use the secret methods of kabbala handed down to him by his revered master in order to expel these destructive forces from the person’s home. When Rabbi Chaim would ask the mazikim how they were able to gain entry into the house, they would point to the door with the posul Mezuzah. “It is through this door that we were able to get in here.”
This story should serve as a scary and frightening lesson as to what can chas v’sholom happen if the mezuzos are not in good condition. After all, it comes to us straight from the source – the mazikim themselves!
THE CHILD WHO COULDN’T TALK
Little Yossi was a sweet and cute-looking infant. Yet, when more than two years had passed and the child still hadn’t learned how to talk, the parents decided to take him to their pediatrician. After a thorough checkup, the doctor could not find anything wrong and assured the parents that the child would soon begin to speak. As more than another year passed, and still there was no progress, they became very concerned and decided to consult a specialist. After a complete checkup and many tests, the specialist was also unable to find the cause of the problem. Six more months passed, yet the child didn’t utter a single word. All day his mother would hold him in her arms, smile at him, and make all sorts of sounds, in the hope that he would thereby imitate her. Yet not a sound came out of his mouth. The parents were panicking and becoming more desperate from day to day.
One night, the father went to his Rebbe and poured out his heart. It was filled with fear and worry. The Rebbe advised him to have his Mezuzos checked at once. The very next day he took off all his Mezuzos and brought them to an expert sofer. This is the Mezuzah that was on his little Yossi’s door.
Yossi’s father immediately ran to buy a good Mezuzah and put it on the door. Imagine his great joy, when two days later his son began to talk. Just a coincidence, you say?
Young Moishe would wake up every night and run into his parent’s room. He kept having nightmares and was afraid to go to sleep. This continued for more than three years. In desperation, the parents took Moishe to a psychologist, but it didn’t do any good. In fact, the nightmares were getting worse, and it was affecting the child’s health. He wasn’t able to concentrate on his studies and began showing signs of great nervousness. The parents even brought him to a psychiatrist who gave him some medication that proved useless.
A friend of theirs suggested that they have their Mezuzos checked out. “But we already have.” said the father, “and they’re all okay.” It was months later that the father decided to have them checked again. They were shocked by what they found.
A new Mezuzah was put on, and Moishe hasn’t had a single nightmare since. This story left the parents in total shock, and to this very day they are grateful to the sofer for having found the mistake.
IT’S A TOPSY-TURVY WORLD!
The following true story comes from Rabbi Yitzchok Scherman, a Rebbi at Yeshiva Torah Temimah. Here’s how he tells it:
“A child in my first grade class was experiencing numerous recurrences of strep throat and had been placed on medication each time. I questioned the father as to the strange frequency of this returning illness. His answer was simply that the doctor said some young children are just very susceptible.
“After several months of this by now routinely recurring illness, the father came and informed me that his daughter had just been diagnosed as having Kawasaki disease – a strange rare illness. Never having heard of a disease named Kawasaki, I was bewildered and questioned him some more. He told me that the pediatrician Dr. Shulman, a well-known diagnostician in the neighborhood, also claimed this to be only her second time diagnosing a patient with this rare disease.”The father, quite perplexed, mentioned the story to the Debreciner Rov”, a prominent rov and world-renowned posek in Boro Park. He suggested that the Mezuzos be checked. The father did not immediately heed his recommendation as he had checked all the Mezuzos in his home just several months earlier. He then mentioned the incident to the rov of his own shul, who also suggested that he have his Mezuzos checked. Now that two rabbonim had made the same suggestion, he decided, indeed, to check his Mezuzos.
“‘Much to his bewilderment, the Mezuzah in his living room, which was adjacent to a hanging wall photo of both his son and daughter, was inadvertently placed on the wall UPSIDE DOWN’. Surprised at this finding, he returned it to its correct position.”Just one day later, the routine blood test was taken again, only to be diagnosed as having completely expelled the disease from the body. The child was healed.”
A FRACTURED HAND
Yanki had broken his hand twice, less than six months after his Bar Mitzvah. Once he fell off his bike, and the second time he slipped down a flight of stairs. He had his Mezuzos checked and all was okay. After breaking his left hand the second time, his father decided to check the Tefillin. The sofer checked the Tefilin but found nothing wrong. Just to be positively sure, he sent the Tefillin to the Vaad Mishmeres STaM for a computer check. Sure enough there was an incorrect letter in the text which the sofer had failed to pick up.
THEY WATCH YOUR HEALTH
These pair of Tefillin (see below) were worn by Mr. M.B. of Boro Park for twenty-four years. He had them checked a few times, but no one found the error. In fact, he had given them into 5 seforim stores, just four weeks back, and he had been assured that all was fine, although the parshiyos were not so mehudor. Mr. M.B. was having great difficulty with his breathing and had to be hospitalized. He had gone to many doctors, but no one could pinpoint his trouble. Things were getting very bad and his health continued to deteriorate. Meanwhile, he had ordered a new set of beautiful parshiyos from Israel. When they arrived, he went to Rabbi Shimborsky to have him put the parshiyos into his old Tefillin. After Rabbi Shimborsky replaced the parshiyos he decided to check over the old ones to see if he could still use them. Imagine his surprise when he saw that they were, after all, posul. He immediately called Mr. M.B. and told him to put on his Tefillin that very day, because his old ones were in fact posul to begin with. Ever since Mr. M.B. has been wearing the new pair he has been feeling much better.
EVERY LETTER COUNTS
T.L. had suffered two mild heart attacks and had given his Mezuzos a thorough check after each attack yet they all seemed to be fine. No sofer seemed to find any problem. When he heard about the new Vaad computer check he brought the Mezuzah in right away to be checked again. He nearly had his third heart attack when he saw what the computer had found! It was utterly amazing.
THE RETURN OF THEIR DEAR SON
The following story was told in the recently published book Confessions of a Jewish Cult Buster.
Several years ago young Ronnie H. was wooed away from his ancestral heritage by a notoriously evil-spirited cult. Naturally, Ronnie’s parents sought every possible means to rescue their son. Thanks to the daring and dedication of a young Rabbi, Ronnie was eventually rescued.
During Ronnie’s subsequent period of detoxification,” his parents traveled to Israel, where they sought the advice of a Kabbalist, Rabbi Elazar Abuchatzeira. The revered Rabbi told them that, upon returning home, they should check their front door Mezuzoh. The Mezuzah proved to be defective in the first line of the Sh’ma, which reads, “Sh’ma Yisroel… Hashem Echad (One)”. The top right part of the daled had been broken off and appeared as the letter resh. Thus the word Echad (One) read ocher meaning “other”, i.e., another god. Not long after replacing the invalid Mezuzah, Ronnie became his old self again. He returned to his heritage and yeshiva studies, and today lives a religious Jewish life.
As I sat, writing down these stories, my phone rang. A good friend of mine called with some sad news. His mother, who is currently visiting Israel, suddenly had a stroke and was in the hospital. He needed a sofer to check out her Mezuzos at once. His parents live in New Jersey. I gave him the number of a safer who makes house calls. The next evening the sofer called me to relate that he had just returned from New Jersey and had not found a single kosher Mezuzah on any of the doors. Some had deteriorated beyond repair, while others were never kosher to begin with.This, by the way, is extremely common with Mezuzos which are written on specially coated parchment. The sofer coats them in order to make his writing much easier. Yet these Mezuzos have a very short life span.
Unfortunately, many people have these Mezuzos on their doors. What a cruel hoax on the consumer!
I do hope that in the merit of the beautiful new Mezuzos he has put on the doors, his mother will have a refuah shleimah.