- Family and Society
Dear Sir, I read with interest your article answering the question about whether a non Jewish home may hang a Mezuzah. My, non-jewish tenet recently left our rental house with a lot of stuff. We found a Mezuzah among the items. It is metal and opens and does not have a scroll inside. There is writing inside two doors that look like they say the blessing in red writing on the metal. We are observant Catholics with deep admiration for our Jewish brothers and sisters. I would like to continue to stress the similarities between Judaism and Catholicism with my children. I feel that hanging this on our door would make it a part of our every day life. BUT I don?t want to teach them to be disrespectful. Is this a bad idea? Thanks for your response -Jeanine
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Firstly, let me send you my thanks for your high regard and respect of the Jewish people. It is lovely to hear in this day and age people of all faiths showing respect for each other. Thank you. Your desire to educate your children to understand the special place of the Jewish people is wonderful. I understand the recent years the Catholic Church has officially started teaching that the Jewish people has a special relationship with G-d and as such it should be understood that we should continue to serve G-d according to the teachings of our tradition. Teaching your children to respect the Jewish people in our singular relationship with G-d, and help the people of Israel in any way possible, is (from our perspective) a holy endeavor. In connection with placing a Mezzuzah on your doorway, I am very hesitant to encourage such a thing. As I wrote in my previous answer, a major tenant of Judaism is that we believe not all mankind needs to serve G-d in the same way. We believe that the Jewish people have a particular obligation to follow the laws laid out for us. In general when we see non-Jews using particularly Jewish objects of worship – whether it be a Mezuzah, our ritual garments (Tallit and Tzitzit), etc – most religious Jews feel uncomfortable. Even though your intention is certainly a good one, and you want to show your respect for the Jewish people – by appropriating our special service and symbols, we tend to feel that these items loose their holiness when they become disconnected from their being expressions of a Jew forfilling their faith. In this case, the “Mezzuzah” you are describing is probably not a “kosher” or proper Mezuzah, as it does not contain the ritual scroll with the words of the Torah on it. However, even just the “Mezuzah” case you describe is best not placed on the doorways of a non-Jewish residence. As I wrote before the best educational project you can undertake is to increase “working with your congregation on pro-Israel activities; working against anti-Semitism wherever it shows its ugly head; praying for the peace of Israel; visiting the Holy Land; working against missionary activities which all try to distance Jews from their holy heritage. If you desire some Jewish objects for your house as a physical reminder of your love for the Jews, there is much Jewish art available, and many books by great Jewish writers that will add knowledge and bring you closer to all that is holy and pure.” Blessings.