mezuzah

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From post-Biblical Hebrew מְזוּזָה(məzûzâ, doorpost), with reference to Deuteronomy 6:9.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /məˈzuːzɔː/
    • (file)

Noun[edit]

mezuzah (plural mezuzahs or mezuzot or mezuzoth)

  1. (Judaism and occasionally Christianity) A piece of parchment inscribed with specific Hebrew verses from the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4–9 and 11:13–21) and attached in a case to the doorpost of a house, in accordance with the mitzvah (Biblical commandment as interpreted in Jewish law) to "write the words of God on the gates and doorposts of your house" (Deuteronomy 6:9).
    • 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”, in Chicago Reader[1]:
      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]