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Placating Divine Wrath Through the Mitzvah of Mezuzah

By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for Vaad Mishmeres Stam

Since the horrific events of October 7th, numerous Gedolei Torah have told us that we are living in an idna derischa – a period of Divine Anger.  This can be further observed from the nearly unprecedented anti-Semitism we are experiencing across the country and across the globe.  What can we do?

It seems, however, that careful observance of the Mitzvah of Mezuzah may have the ability to placate Divine Wrath.   How so?

One who purposefully lives in a home (such as a tent) or shapes his doorways in a manner where he is fully exempt from observing the Mitzvah of Mezuzah will not be saved during a period of Divine Wrath – BeIdna DeRischa.  This is found in the introduction to the Sefer Chareidim.  It is also a Shla in Chulin based upon the Gemorah in Shabbos 32b (cited in Saichel Tov p. 55.)


Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt”l in Kuntrus Mezuzos Baisecha 285:1 cites an authority who states that someone who does this is also subject to the very serious issue discussed in the Gemorah in Shabbos 32b.


The 713 letters in the Mezuzah allude to the words that Moshe Rabbeinu used to avert the destruction of the Jewish people in his supplication before Hashem (Shmos 32:12) “Return from Your Divine Wrath – Shuv MeCharon Apecha.” These three words are equivalent in Gematriah to the number of Hebrew letters in a Mezuzah – 713.


Both the Tur and TaZ 286:9 quote the Maharam MiRothenberg who states that before he affixed a Mezuzah between the Bais Midrash and his home, a ruach rah would disturb him while he was taking his afternoon nap.


Even though Hashem dislikes a wayward city, an ir hanidachas, and included a chapter in the Torah (Dvarim 13:13) telling us how to “lay it waste and everything that is in it”, it is the Mezuzah that ensured that there never was a city in Eretz Yisrael’s history that was destroyed on account of its evil. This is a Gemorah in Sanhedrin 71a and 113a (also see Yalkut Shimoni Parshas Re’eh §888)

The reason that it is not destroyed is because the verse says to destroy everything in it (Dvarim 13:16) and a Mezuzah cannot be destroyed since the verse earlier (Dvarim 12:31) states, “Do not do so to Hashem your G-D.” Therefore, the command to destroy the entire city cannot be fulfilled. The city can thus never be designated as a “wayward city.” This is Rabbi Eliezer’s position. According to Rabbi Yonasan, however, there was such a city and apparently, they destroyed everything in it but the Mezuzah.


The reward for observing this Mitzvah is also very great. If one is careful in the performance of this Mitzvah, he and his descendants will merit long life. The converse, however, is also true (see Shulchan Aruch 285:1; Tur; Sifrei Aikev Piskah 46. See also Shabbos 32b regarding the sin of being neglectful in this Mitzvah.)

And there are other physical rewards as well. The Talmud (Shabbos 23b) tells us that one who is careful in the Mitzvah of Mezuzah merits a beautiful home[8]. This can be attested to by the experience of many people.


The Baal HaTurim explains that the Torah juxtaposed the Shma section in the Torah to the section of “And it shall be when Hashem shall bring you to the land..” (Dvarim 6:10) to teach us that it is in the merit of observing the Mitzvos of a Sefer Torah, Tefillin, and Mezuzah that we will inherit the land without effort.

It was also the Mezuzah and Unkulus’ meticulous observance of this Mitzvah that was paramount in the incident of the conversion of the Roman Caesar’s men recounted in the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 11b).

Unkulus the son of Klonimus converted to Judaism. The Caesar, his uncle, sent a legion of Roman soldiers to retrieve him. Unkulus enticed the soldiers to Judaism by quoting verses, and they converted to Judaism. The Caesar sent a new legion but this time he instructed them not to enter into conversation with his nephew. As they dragged him from his home, Unkulus saw the Mezuzah affixed to his doorpost. He longingly placed his hand upon it and asked them, “Do you know what this is?” The soldiers could not contain their curiosity and answered, “You tell us.”

Apparently moved by what they observed, they asked him about it, thus ignoring their Caesar’s instructions. Unkulus explained the unique nature of this Mitzvah that we have seen before:

It is the nature of human beings to have the master sit in the house while the servants stand guard outside. Not so is the nature of the Holy One Blessed be He! His servants sit inside while He stands guard outside. As it states (Tehillim 21:8), “Hashem Shall guard your departure and arrival, from now and forever more.”

They, too, converted, and the Caesar did not pursue the matter further.

We see from the protection the Mezuzah offers from sin, from damaging spiritual forces, and from other dangers, the long life for us and for our children, the reward of beautiful home, and the land of Israel itself, the incredible impact of this fundamental Mitzvah. We also observe the powerful effect, both upon ourselves and upon others, if one observes this Mitzvah meticulously. It is a Mitzvah that requires a small investment at the beginning, but lasts for a long time. It behooves us to appreciate its significance.

See also MeShiurei HaRishon LeTzion IV §169 that when there is a kosher Mezuzah on the doorpost the home is guarded by sixty angels and the Name of Hashem barring the entry of any damaging spiritual force. See also Yabia Omer 8 YD §30 who cites a proof to this from the Jerusalem Talmud.

The Tur (285) describes the protective quality as greater than the fact that the Mezuzah extends life perhaps because the protection quality is an open miracle, while the longer life is a hidden miracle (Bais Yoseph). Alternatively, the wondrous aspect of a king watching his servants is why it is described as greater (Bais Yoseph and Bach).

One final thought: We should observe the Mitzvah because it is what our Creator commanded and not for the protective quality of it. Aruch HaShulchan 285:3. In fact, the Kesef Mishna indicates that the protection only comes with the observance of the Mitzvah.

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