Pages

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Can a Catholic have a Mezuzah?

This is my catch-up post on my Great Adventure Bible Timeline Series, Session 8. We have finished the book of Numbers! What an exciting narrative. The Israelites begin on Mt. Sinai, but continue to complain, show distrust and disobedience to God, and finally, all the men over 20 are condemned to death in the wilderness because of it. (Except for Caleb and Joshua.) The younger generation will inherit the promised land. It is right in front of them. Poor Moses, now an old man, dies on Mount Nebo, after giving his final sermons, which can be found in Deuteronomy. (This session referenced parts of Deuteronomy, but there is a lot of reading in this study, so I plan to read all of the narrative books cover to cover, all of the references made to the other books, and then go back and read ALL of the supplemental books in their entirety after the study.) 
 
Anyway, in delving into Moses speeches in Deuteronomy, I came across Deuteronomy 6:4-9, which makes up part of the Jewish Shema.
 
Christians will recognize parts of this beautiful prayer echoed in the Gospel of Mark, 12:29-30:
 
"...Hear O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is one;
        and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
                and with all your soul, and with all your mind,
                        and with all your strength...."
 
Jewish households affix the Shema Yisrael prayer on a scroll inside a decorative case, called a mezuzah, and place this on their doorposts to fulfill their biblical commandment to do so.
 
I am falling in love with the Old Testament, and I think this is one of the coolest Jewish traditions I know of. When Jeff Cavins mentioned that he hung a Mezuzah across from his holy water font near his front door, I wasn't sure if he was joking or if he was serious, but I really wanted one for myself as a faith reminder.
 
I spent a lot of time researching this matter, and discovered that this could potentially be considered strange or offensive for a Christian to hang a Mezuzah, for many reasons, one because it is unlawful for a Jew to sell one to gentile, and also because it could be construed as trying to identify yourself as Jewish.
 
Well, I definitely don't want to offend, so I purchased my Mezuzah online from a Christian homeschool supply company (not a kosher scroll, nor a Jewish company). I am not sure about hanging outside my front door either, as I don't want to give the impression that I am Jewish, rather than Christian. For now, I decided to reverently place it on my dresser like this:
 
 

It is beautiful. I love it. I have been saying the Shema daily with my children.

4 comments:

  1. I too was so intrigued about it when he spoke about it - and I honestly wanted one for our home. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it and the photo of it displayed in YOUR home. Very cool..

    ReplyDelete
  2. Our symbol to hang at the entrance that sums up this ancient Jewish prayer...and fulfills it....is the Crucifix. Not only does it remind us on how to live, but it is protection to all inside and all who enter....if blessed that is.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh yeh, and that part of the Shema is prayed in the Divine Office by priests, religious, and many lay faithful in the Night Prayers. My family enjoys praying the office at Night sometimes. It is wonderful to see how the Old and the New are pulled together and fulfilled in the one Church and her prayers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not have a copy of the Divine Office, but I would love to get one. I think this is a great idea. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      Delete

It's always a pleasure to hear what you've got to say!