• Rabbi Anthony Knopf

From the Desk - Tilting the Mezuzah


Shalom Friends!

What a wonderful Shabbat we enjoyed here at Beth Ora last week! Our annual Chanukah dinner was a stunning success thanks to the outstanding work and organization of Howie Brown, Jackie Harroch and Shimon Zrihan. There was an incredible turnout, a beautiful Shabbat atmosphere and amazing activities for the kids! On Shabbat morning, the children of Beth Ora enjoyed another installment of Junior Congregation. We were delighted to welcome to Junior Congregation two new families who thoroughly enjoyed the prayers, quizzes and delicious kiddies' Kiddush! After Shabbat, the fun continued with children and their parents who came together for candle lighting, donuts, pizza and a special Chanukah movie (see photo, below)!


Unfortunately, our son Avrami was not well this week and spent some time in hospital. Baruch Hashem, he is now doing a lot better and is back to his happy self. Carly and I would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts the many members who checked in with us to see if we were OK and helped us during this time. We were not only touched but also inspired to be part of such a giving and caring community. I pray that we manage to show such kindness to all those we know who need our help. Next Thursday (December 28th) is a fast day called Asara B'tevet (the 10th Tevet). You can learn about the fast and it's meaning for our lives from an article I wrote last year that you can find here. Wishing you all a warm and beautiful Shabbat, Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami

What's the Deal with ....Tilting the Mezuzah? When Ashkenazim put up the mezuzah on their doorpost, they tilt it so that the top of the mezuzah inclines toward the inside of the house (or room) and the bottom of the mezuzah points toward the outside. Sephardim place their mezuzot vertically.) Gili Tzabari asked me what the deal is. The answer is rooted in a dispute between the classic Talmudic commentators. Rashi's understanding was that the mezuzah should be vertical. One of Rashi's grandsons, known as Rabbenu Tam, believed that it was not respectful to place the mezuzah in a standing position. He held that the mezuzah should be placed horizontally which was how the tablets and Torah scrolls were positioned in the Temple. Whilst the Sephardim follow the position of Rashi, the Ashkenazi practice is to defer somewhat to both opinions. The mezuzah is almost vertical in accordance with Rashi but we tilt it a little in deference to the view of Rabbenu Tam. There are those who add a nice insight to this legal analysis. The Ashkenazi practice is a compromise between two rabbinic opinions. How appropriate it is that we compromise on a mitzvah relating to the home. Because if we are to have Shalom Bayit, harmony amongst the family members living in the home, then we must learn to compromise.


#Chanukah #10Tevet #mezuzah

 

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