Letter and Spirit

For the week ending 2 March 2019 / 25 Adar I 5779

Children Placing Mezuzot

by Rabbi Ze'ev Kraines
Library Library Kaddish

Q: I wanted my children to be involved in the mezuzah ceremony, so I let even my nine-year-old son affix his mezuzah on his own room. When I saw how excited he was by this opportunity, I let him put one on the playroom door as well.

When I told over this story at the Shabbat table, one of the guests suggested that I should ask a rabbi whether a child under Bar or Bat Mitzvah age can put up a mezuzah. He said maybe I would need to remove them and put them up again by myself. Is that correct?

A: The mitzvah of mezuzah placement on all the rooms of the house is incumbent upon the owner or renter. So the room is not actually the child’s.

However, Rambam writes: “Minors should be educated to affix a mezuzah to their rooms.” Consequently, many opinions hold that a father can allow children to put mezuzot on their own doors. Since they are of an age to understand and perform the mitzvah, this is part of their training. Even after they become Bar or Bat Mitzvah, they would not have to re-affix it.

Incidentally, if you had your child in mind when making the beracha, he would not make his own beracha.

Nevertheless, some authorities dissent from this view and do not allow a child to place a mezuzah, even on his own room. In deference to these opinions, some authorities rule that if he did place the mezuzah as a child, he should re-affix it after his Bar Mitzvah.

Ideally, an adult should have put the mezuzah on the playroom doorway. However, if a child placed it there, it does not have to be removed. Some authorities suggest that when the mezuzah is taken down for routine checking, it should be replaced by an adult.

§ Sources: Rambam, Hilchot Sefer Torah 5:10; Chovas HaDar 1:6:25; Agur B’ohalecha 7:15, 8:8,22; Sha’arei HaMezuzah 16:4-5; Mezuzos Beisecha 289:2

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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