Letter and Spirit

For the week ending 30 June 2018 / 17 Tammuz 5778

Fixed Fixtures

by Rabbi Ze'ev Kraines
ArtscrollLibrary

Q: We are recently married and are renting a small apartment. The only place for the washing machine is in our kitchen. However, by placing it there, the remaining floor space of the kitchen will be less than sixteen square amot in area. Does the kitchen need a mezuzah?

A: In some small kitchens, fixtures such as washing machines, ovens, sinks and cupboards can diminish the size of the floor space to below the minimal area. However, according to most authorities, these items enhance the functionality of the room, and thus are not looked at as “blocking” the floor space.

Therefore, if the dimension of the actual room meets the minimal standard of sixteen square amot (cubits), a mezuzah is placed on the right side of one going into the kitchen. However, in deference to the opinions that the fixtures do decrease the habitable space of the kitchen, one should affix the mezuzah without a beracha.

  • Sources: Chovas HaDar 4:7:22; Maharsham 3:263; Kuntres HaMezuzah 286:13:160

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