Ceiling as Lintel
Q: When we moved into our new home, one thing puzzled me about the mezuzot that were already in place. Except in the bedroom area, there are no lintels in the doorways between the main rooms. And yet, some of those doorways had mezuzot and others did not. The owners told me that they were sure this was what their rabbi advised. Do I need to put mezuzot on the remaining doorways?
A: Although the halacha states that a doorway without a lintel is exempt from mezuzah, if the ceiling’s edge is flush with the opening of the room, many authorities contend that if the edge is shaped like a frame and protrudes slightly it is considered a “virtual lintel.” Others opine that it is deemed a lintel even if it is flat. In both cases, a mezuzah is affixed without a beracha.
If the doorway is simply two posts protruding from the wall but has no lintel, even if these “posts” are merely the ends of walls with no fitted wooden or metal posts on them, some authorities require a mezuzah to be affixed on the right post. However, one can rely on the many authorities who exempt this opening entirely.
- Sources: Mezuzas Melachim, Halachah L’Moshe 109; Chovas HaDar 7:7-8; Sha’arei HaMezuzah 11:6-7; Chazon Ish Y.D. 172:2-3; Agur B’ohalecha 21:22; Minchas Yitzchak 10:91