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Mezuzah on office doors in Israel


Rabbi David Sperling

Adar 6, 5772
I work in an office in Israel. There’s a mezuzah on the main door, but not on the individual office doors inside. I mentioned this to the secretary, saying that I thought it was quite common for offices in Israel to have a mezuzah on every door, so maybe we should too. She took it further, and it was decided - to put a mezuzah on MY office door only!!! She is now waiting for it to arrive. My question is this: Is there really a mitzva to have a mezuzah on an office door in Israel - if nobody lives or sleeps there? I am going to feel very conspicuous if they come to put up a mezuzah on my room only. Should I step down on this? Thanks for any and all advice. Sincerely, James
Shalom, First of all, let me send you a big "Yishar Ko'ach!" for your efforts to make your workplace holier, and also for your genuine concern for modesty and being polite to your fellow workers. The question of whether an office is obligated in having a mezuzah or not is one of debate. An office that nobody lives in, (and is not attached to a house or living quarters) may be exempt from a mezuzah because it is not considered a dwelling. On the other hand, as a permanent building that is used on a regular basis, and also houses all the office materials, it may well need a mezuzah. (This debate can be found in the Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 286,11 and commentators there). This being said, the common practice is undoubtedly to put up mezuzahs in Jewish-owned offices, just as you wrote. The majority of halachic codifiers rule this way, and one should act accordingly. However, the obligation rests first and foremost with the owners of the office. As a worker there you are not obligated to buy the mezuzah and put it up (see Minchat Yitzchak, 2, 83). But it is certainly a great mitzvah to encourage the owners to do so, and if they give you permission to put up a mezuzah in their office, all the better. I do not think you have to fear any embarrassment about having the first inner door in the office with a mezuzah. The opposite - I think that if you, quietly and politely, act proudly about keeping mitzvot, then those around you will respect you even more. Especially in Israel you will find that many of your co-workers will themselves be happy that you have a mezuzah and they will also want one. I don't think you have to start a petition or go on strike for "a fully-mezuzahed office", but if your polite enquiries merit one more mezuzah in Israel - you should feel happy and proud of that. With blessings for your continued success,
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