mezuzah

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From post-Biblical Hebrew מְזוּזָה (m'zuzá) (referring to Deuteronomy 6:9).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

mezuzah (plural mezuzahs or mezuzot or mezuzoth)

  1. (Judaism) A piece of parchment inscribed with Pentateuchal texts and attached in a case to the doorpost of a house, in accordance with Jewish law that says that “the Jews must remember the Tenth Plague and the blood on the doorposts.”
    • 1973, Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow:
      Slothrop gives him the mandala. He hopes it will work like the mantra that Enzian told him once, mba-kayere (I am passed over), mba-kayere…a spell against Marvy tonight, against Tchitcherine. A mezuzah. Safe passage through a bad night
    • 1988 September 2, Florence Hamlish Levinsohn, “A Special Connection With God”, Chicago Reader:
      Lubavitchers, Penansky says, believe mezuzahs need no adornment and simply wrap them in cellophane.
    • 2006, Howard Jacobson, Kalooki Nights, Vintage 2007 ed., page 20:
      When Manny or either of his parents went through their front door they put a finger on their lips and then to the mezuzah on the door frame.

Translations[edit]