Mezuzah Maven

For the week ending 17 March 2018 / 1 Nisan 5778

Top Third of Doorpost

by Rabbi Ze'ev Kraines
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

Top Third of Doorpost

Q: I saw that the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch writes that the mezuzah should be affixed at the beginning of the top third of the entrance. I’ve seen many homes where the mezuzah is within the top third, but not exactly at its “beginning.” Does the Kitzur mean to say that ideally one should use a tape measure to determine the exact spot where the top third begins?

A: The Kitzur’s ruling reflects the consensus of contemporary authorities that one should ideally measure the doorway in order to affix the mezuzah precisely at the beginning of the top third. Be careful to place it slightly above the exact line, so that no part of the mezuzah is lower than the top third.

However, you have correctly observed that the general custom follows those authorities who deem anywhere within the top third as equally acceptable, as long as it is not placed within the top tefach (about four inches) of the doorpost. Indeed, several authorities hold that its ideal position is higher up on the post, preferably at about shoulder height (4’ 6”).

  • Sources: Shulchan Aruch 289:2; Nekudos Hakesef and Mezuzos Beisecha, ibid. Agur B’ohalecha 12:2; Teshuvos V’Hanhagos 2:538

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