Anglicized form of the Hebrew word used in the Bible generally to designate a doorjamb or doorpost. Mezu·zahʹ and the plural mezu·zohthʹ appear at Exodus 12:7 (ftn), 22, 23, with reference to the sprinkling of the Passover victim’s blood on doorposts, and at Exodus 21:6, regarding a slave who, desiring to remain in his master’s service, was brought up against the door or “the doorpost” and had his master pierce his ear with an awl. References are also made to doorposts of the temple constructed by Solomon (1Ki 6:31, 33; 7:5) and of the symbolic temple Ezekiel saw in vision.—Eze 41:21; 45:19; 46:2.
In modern times the Anglicized term “mezuzah” is used to denote a rectangular piece of parchment containing the Hebrew text of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Deuteronomy 11:13-21, generally written in 22 lines. The parchment is rolled up and placed in a wooden, metal, or glass case that is affixed in a slanting position on the right-hand doorpost of Orthodox Jewish dwellings, the upper part pointing inward and the lower part outward. The Hebrew word Shad·daiʹ (meaning “Almighty”) is written on the back of this parchment and is frequently visible through a glass-covered opening in the container. Sometimes the mezuzah case is artistically decorated. When pious Orthodox Jews enter or leave a house, they touch the mezuzah with the hand and recite the prayer, “May God keep my going out and my coming in from now on and ever more.”—Compare Ps 121:8.