Parchment of Protection – Rabbi Daniel Lapin

The following is from Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Some of you might remember him from Glenn Beck’s programs on Fox. (Specifically I remember that he did a great explanation and discussion about the Tower of Babel.)  I really like this man and he’s very knowledgeable. I get his email every week and thoroughly enjoy whatever he’s talking about.

I hope you enjoy this one:

During April, I had the pleasure of speaking for three different companies. Each company successfully established its unique identity and its own culture that informs customers and associates and helps them make productive decisions.  We should all do the same in our own financial enterprises.

Rather than allowing neighborhoods, social trends, advertising or schools to form your family’s culture, sculpt one that reflects your deepest values and make sure your family gets it.  Ancient Jewish wisdom’s advice on how to create a culture for your business and family makes both more effective.

The mezuzah found on the doorposts of Jewish homes is the expression of just this advice.

The Torah clearly instructs us to ‘write these words’ upon our doorposts (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 & 11:13-21), yet neither archeological nor other evidence exists that Jews ever inscribed words upon their doorposts.  Instead, we have always carefully written the specified words upon a parchment and affixed that to our doorposts.  This is one of many instances where a universal and timeless Jewish practice cannot possibly be understood just from the text. It validates for me the great Transmitters who faithfully conveyed God’s details and whose work is so lovingly enshrined in ancient Jewish wisdom.

Interestingly, from the first time mezuzah is used in Scripture, we can see that the word means doorpost:

They shall take some of its blood and place it upon the two

 mezuzoth (plural of mezuzah) and on the lintel…

(Exodus 12:7)

Yet, the piece of parchment itself along with its housing has forever been known as a mezuzah.  Hebrew is rich enough for it to have had its own name, but no such name exists.  It is called a mezuzah – a doorpost. How strange; the parchment is the doorpost?

In reality, yes it is; the mezuzah itself is the spiritual equivalent of the physical doorpost.  Just as a doorpost allows passage between public space and the private home so the mezuzah does the same.

After all, neither a business nor a home would be much good if there was no communication between it and the outside world.  The effectiveness of a home depends upon family members going out to work and becoming involved in the world, then returning for restoration and warmth. The effectiveness of a business depends upon information, raw material and cash moving in while goods and services move out.  For this reason, the word mezuzah is derived directly from the Hebrew word zuz meaning move.

There are homes which have a weak or non-existent internal culture and members of those families unthinkingly import destructive values from outside.  Other families attempt to defend themselves by blocking off all contact with the outside.  Neither of these extremes works well.  Happy homes have mastered the secret of the mezuzah as have flourishing businesses.

The mezuzah teaches us how to move safely, easily, and effectively between inside and outside.  The fifteen verses handwritten onto the mezuzah parchment direct us to inculcate a strong and unique culture with clear expectations of conduct both inside and outside.  (Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God…you shall speak of these words when you sit in your home and when you walk upon the road…)

They promise protection, support and backup.  (I will provide grass in your field for your cattle and you shall eat and be satisfied.)

They provide a core of strength to those leaving and a filtering detoxification system for those returning. (Beware…lest your heart be seduced and you turn away…)

King David refers to the mezuzah with these words:

The Lord will protect your departure

and your arrival from now until forever.

(Psalms 121:8)

Amen.

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