Letter and Spirit

For the week ending 29 December 2018 / 21 Tevet 5779

Entrance Halls and Mudrooms

by Rabbi Ze'ev Kraines
Library Kaddish

Question: The front door of our new house opens from the street to a tiny area which we don’t use for anything except to place our wet umbrellas and galoshes. I think it’s called a “mudroom.” Immediately in front of this door is our real front door that opens onto our house. If you live in the New York area, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s definitely not four-by-four amot according to any calculation. Do I need to put mezuzahs on both front doors?

Answer: Yes. The Gemara calls this area a beit sha’ar, literally a gate-house. Although it does not meet the minimum size of a living space, since it serves as a passage into a living area, it needs a mezuzah, albeit without a beracha.

Commonly, people like to put their halachically best mezuzah scroll on their front door. In your case, it would be preferable to place that one on what you call the “real” front door,

which is fully obligated with a beracha. Then, you could proceed to place a mezuzah on the outer door.

Of course, you may place your most beautiful mezuzah “case” on the outer doorway, if you choose.

Entranceway Opening into Living Room

Question: My neighbor has an entranceway similar to our mudroom, only he doesn’t have a door at the end of the entrance. The narrow room simply opens into his living room. He only has a mezuzah on the outer door. Is that correct?

Answer: Yes. Since there is no division between the entrance and the living room, the whole area is considered one large room. The outer door, then, is the door for the whole area, and is fully qualified for a mezuzah with a beracha.

· Sources: Kuntres HaMezuzah 286:152; Agur B’ohalecha 36:37-8, 1:54; Teshuvos Maharsham 3:154

Got a mezuzah question or story? Email rabbi@ohrsandton.com or submit on my website mymezuzahstory.com. Free “Mezuzah Maven” book for every question or story submitted (when published in the near future!)

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