plaque with scroll, leaf and flower motifs; crown at top of raised portion at center; doors with flowers below crown open to reveal paper with text in ink

Mezuzah (doorpost), c. 1900

Unknown artist, expand_more

Silverexpand_more

Gift of Kenneth and Sally Leafman Appelbaumexpand_more  2003.228.48

Not on Viewexpand_more

The mezuzah (מזוזה) is a symbolic object meant to serve as a daily reminder of the presence and protection of God. Mezuzot are inscribed pieces of parchment containing certain passages of the Book of Deuteronomy. The piece of parchment is then rolled and placed into some kind of decorative and protective case. The word mezuzah actually means “doorpost,” as the phrase in Deuteronomy 6:9 states, “You shall inscribe them [these words] upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.” Subsequently, the scroll and case are affixed to the entrance of a home or synagogue. In addition to the biblical text, the name of God is also inscribed on the back of mezuzot. This particularly name for God, Shaddai (שדי), is said to stand for the phrase “Shomer Daltot Yisrael”, which means “Guardian of the Doors of Israel.” Unlike the Torah scroll, the scroll of the mezuzah is not meant to be regularly opened and read. Instead, it serves at a physical reminder of putting text into practice through daily life.

Details
Title
Mezuzah (doorpost)
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2003.228.48
Provenance
Michael Ende, Jerusalem; [1] Kenneth & Sally Leafman Appelbaum, Scottsdale, Arizona; Gift to the MIA in 2003. [1] Per Sally Applebaum, "Michael Ende paper with text in ink in old case."
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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plaque with scroll, leaf and flower motifs; crown at top of raised portion at center; doors with flowers below crown open to reveal paper with text in ink