Mezuzah Maven

For the week ending 7 July 2018 / 24 Tammuz 5778

Walk-in Closets

by Rabbi Ze'ev Kraines
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Q: When we moved into our new home, we thought that we had enough mezuzot for the rooms. But we hadn’t considered the walk-in closets because our old home didn’t have any. I’ve seen that some of my friends have mezuzot on their closets, and some don’t. Are there any clear-cut rules?

A. A walk-in closet that is four-by-four amot requires a mezuzah on the right side of one entering it. If it is long and narrow (e.g. two by eight amos), a mezuzah is placed there without a beracha.

If the closet is inside the bedroom of a married couple, the mezuzah should be enclosed with two coverings, one of which is opaque. Even if the mezuzah is placed on the inside frame of a closed closet door, it is advisable to cover it with two covers in case the door is inadvertently left open during marital relations.

If a walk-in closet is less than sixteen amot squaresome poskim suggest that it is praiseworthy to affix a mezuzah on the right of the closet as it opens into the room, without a beracha. However, in America many rabbanim exempt this small walk-in closet in accordance with the view of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein.

Additionally, all would agree that when this small closet is generally accessed by standing outside of it and reaching in, it is exempt from a mezuzah even on the right side of its door leading to the big room. Since the doorway is not for entry and exit, it is not truly a “walk-in” closet even when it is large enough for a person to “walk into” it.

  • Sources: Shach Y.D. 286:10; Hagahos Rabbi Akiva Eiger 286:13, as interpreted by Chazon Ish Y.D. 168:5; Parashah Sedurah 42; Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:181, cited in Inside Stam, p. 214; Shevet HaLevi 3:103; Kuntres HaMezuzah 286:104; Chovas HaDar 4:27

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