Pesach: Security Measures


The world around us is tumultuous and turbulent. Terrorism in Israel, the war in Europe and divisions in societies around the world evoke feelings of fear and anxiety. What can we do about it? During the Plague of the Firstborn, blood on doorposts protected the Jews. What its modern day version?

Lesson Contents:

A. Countering Darkness with Light

In response to the increasing darkness, we are behooved to add in light. Therefore, every
Jewish home should have a charity box, a prayer book and a book of psalms. But also, a
mezuzah — because it impacts the world around us as well, by declaring the home to be a
Jewish place.

The mezuzah has a unique, additional, function: besides for declaring that the home is it
dwelling place for G-d’s presence, it is also a method of protection for the family (Source 1).

B. The Mezuzah Effect

There are 3 dimensions to our relationship with the world: our relationship to ourselves as
individuals, our relationship with the entire world, and our relationship with our families.
There is a corresponding mitzvah for each dimension: Torah study and prayer etc. is
personal, charity is global, and the mezuzah is for our family.

The final word of shema, “echad,” symbolizes the fact that G-d’s lofty presence is present
here in our world (Source 2). That is the statement we make by affixing a mezuzah on our
door post.

But it is also a source of protection, as Onkelos explained to the ceaser’s soldiers (Source 3).
The first iteration of the mezuzah was in Egypt, on the night of Passover, when G-d told the
Jews to identify their homes with blood on the doorpost (Source 4).
These reasons make the mitzvah of mezuzah so integral to Jewish life.

C. Folly or Worthy (Optional Section)

Some ask: How can you promote mezuzah as protection if Maimonides writes that those
who use mezuzahs as protections have no portion in the world to come (Source 5)? This is
obviously mistaken, because he rules elsewhere (Source 6) how one is permitted to pray for personal benefit. In other words, his harsh words were for those who use the mezuzah as personal charms without any association to the mitzvah, even inserting their own matters into the scrolls. Obviously, a mitzvah done for personal protection is a mitzvah nonetheless.

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