Mezuzah Maven

For the week ending 10 March 2018 / 23 Adar II 5778

Womens Obligation in Mezuzah

by Rabbi Ze'ev Kraines
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

Q: I am a single woman and have recently moved into my own apartment. I’ve asked my brother to come over and put up my mezuzot, but he is an accountant in the middle of “tax season” and keeps on having to cancel. Is it right for a woman to put up a mezuzah?

A: Women are fully obligated in the mitzvah of mezuzah, as it is not a time-bound commandment. You should put up the mezuzos by yourself and not delay your mitzvah further by waiting for your brother. The Talmud points out that the Torah’s blessing of long life in reward for the fulfilling the mitzvah of mezuzah properly is equally relevant for women as for men!

Q: I will be supervising the move into our new house, as my husband will only be home in the evening. I would like to wait for my husband to affix the mezuzot, but my brother in Israel told me I should put them up right away by myself as soon as the furniture is delivered. Can’t I wait?

A: Ordinarily, a married woman should defer to her husband to affix the mezuzot. A husband may, of course, share the mitzvah with his wife, as they are both obligated.

However, since this house is not a rental, it requires mezuzot immediately, and your deference to your husband will cause a delay. Therefore, you should put up the mezuzot yourself.

Contrary to a common misunderstanding, a thirty-day leeway before putting up mezuzot only applies to a rental in the Diaspora, and not to a purchased home or apartment. Truthfully, in practice, mezuzot should be put up immediately even in a rental unit, albeit without a berachah at the time. (The details of mezuzot in rentals will be discussed in a later column.)

Incidentally, a mezuzah can be affixed at night.

  • Sources: Berachot 17b; Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 291:3; Chovas HaDar 9:3; Shevet HaLevi 2:158; Aruch Hashulchan 289:4; Agur B’ohalecha 8:24; Cf. Teshuvos v’Hanhagos 4:238:3; Yoma 11a; Bi’ur Halacha 135 cited in Agur B’ohalecha 17:39; Sha’arei HaMezuzah 16:6:13; Mezuzos Beisecha 289:3; Sha’arei HaMezuzah 16:15

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