One of the commandments in this week's parasha relates to writing verses from the Torah and placing them on the doorposts of the house (Deut. 6:9). The inner meaning of this commandment, to affix mezuzot (the plural of "mezuzah"), is discussed by The Faithful Shepherd (Moses) in the following extract from the Zohar. Note also that the mezuzah does not only have to be on the gate to the house, it also has to be at the entrance to every room in which we live.

It is a positive commandment for a person to affix mezuzot on his gates, in order that a person should be protected by G‑d when he goes out or comes into his house. This is the secret of the verse "G‑d shall guard you from all evil; He shall guard your soul. G‑d shall guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore." (Psalms 121:7-8) This [guarding] is because of the secret of mezuzah. It is always standing at the opening and is directed against the opening to the higher worlds.

The Shechinah is called "opening" because malchut is the opening to all the higher sefirot. The Holy Ari explains that the word "mezuzot" consists of two words, "zaz" and "mavet", translated as "move death". The Shechinah guards because she is in the middle path of the Tree of Life and only connects above when free of external forces. The word "mezuzah" is also the numerical value of 65, the same as the divine name Ado-nai, and in its spelled-out form, where the full spelling of each letter is counted, is equal to 671, which is the numerical value of the Aramaic word "tiarah", meaning "gate".

Mezuzah = mem + zayin + vav + zayin + hei = 40+7+6+7+5 = 65

Ado-nai = aleph + dalet + nun + yud = 1 + 4 + 50 + 10 = 65

Ado-nai spelled-out = aleph + lamed + peh + dalet + lamed + tav + nun + nun + yud + vav + dalet = 1+30+80+4+30+400+50+6+50+10+6+4 = 671

671 = tav + reish + ayin + aleph which is the Aramaic word for "gate".

It is also interesting to note that the milui of the word gate in Hebrew, "shaar", spelled shin-ayin-reish = 1000. Each sefira is in turn made up of 10 sefirot so that the complete Tree of Life has a higher value of 10 X 10 X10 = 1,000! The gate is indeed the entrance to the higher Tree of Life.

This is the level called "guard" to constantly supply a person with protection. A person is [otherwise] not always guarded, except when he is guarded by G‑d, who constantly protects and stands at the entrance of the house, and the person is within.

And [a second reason for the commandment relating to mezuzot is] that a person should never forget G‑d.

The word 'evil' when reversed spells the word 'live'….

Evil is called "ra" in Hebrew and spelled reish ayin. The opposite of evil is obtained by inverting the letters to spell ayin reish or "eyr" which means "aware". As soon as one is conscious of evil it looses its power. Note also that a similar concept is shown in English - the word "evil" when reversed spells the word "live". Evil is spiritual death, and the mezuzah, which we put on the place where we live, moves death by making us aware of the Divine, especially in our homes, where we spend most of our life.

This is similar to the mitzvah of tzitzit [placement of fringes on all four-cornered garments], as is written, "And it shall be to you for a fringe, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of G‑d and do them." (Num. 15:39) When a person sees this remembrance he will remind himself to fulfill the commandments of his Master.

The fringes remind a person of G‑d wherever he goes, since they are worn on his clothing and when he sees them he will remember G‑d and His commandments. The mezuzah reminds him of G‑d even at times (like the night) when he does not have wear the fringes.

And in the secret of faith, [the word] "mezuzah" contains both male and female.

A demon…stands on the left hand side of the door….

Rav Chaim Vital explains that there are three components to the word mezuzah:

Mem + zu + za. "Zu" represents Zeir Anpin and "za" represents the Shechinah. These two are joined in unity in the letter mem that represents Imma, the partzuf of bina. Bina represents consciousness so the word itself hints that our homes are protected when we are conscious of the unity of G‑d.

Thus both explanations given are really the same, since remembering G‑d in itself guards from evil, and this is confirmed in the next part of the discourse.

In the book of King Solomon [it is written] that there are two levels that wait by a person's door. [One is the mezuzah representing the Shechinah and] one is a demon that has permission to cause damage, and he stands on the left hand side of the door. If a person lifts up his eyes and sees the secret of the name of G‑d and remembers Him, [the demon] is not able to harm him.

The front of the mezuzah has the holy name Sha-dai written on it. This name is spelled shin dalet yud. The name demon (in Hebrew, "shed") is spelled shin dalet. The holy name Sha-dai is therefore the same as the word for "demon" but with additional yud. The letter yud always represents chochma, and here it hints that the demons that have a hold on our subconscious are removed as soon as we are conscious of G‑d.

Note also that in English the transliteration of the words "shade" and "shadow" also share the root letters shin and dalet and contain the similar concept of the dark side of life. Among the dictionary definitions for shade is phantom, ghost or spirit! Now if seeing the mezuzah raises your consciousness to a point where the demon has no hold, then what about when you go out of the house, since the mezuzah will then be on your left and this demon on the right!

And if you ask what happens when a person goes out from the door of his house and the mezuzah is on his left and the demon on his right, how can the mezuzah guard him when it is on his left? Rather [you should know that] everything that G‑d, each and every thing is drawn after its own type. A person has two levels [angels] standing with him, one to the right and one to the left. The one on the left is called the evil inclination and the one on the right is called the good inclination.

A person should be careful not to have any filth or dirt at the opening of his house and should not pour dirty water there….

When a person goes out from the door of his house, that demon looks up and sees the [angel representing the] evil inclination that is on the left side of a person. He is drawn to that side and comes toward it from the right and it is on that side that the [mezuzah has written on it the] name of his Master and he cannot come near to do any harm, and the person goes out and is saved from him. And when he comes into his house the holy name is on his right and [the demon] can't bring any claims against him.

Because of this a person should be careful not to have any filth or dirt at the opening of his house and should not pour dirty water [or put a rubbish bin] there. [For two reasons] one, in order not to belittle the holy name of his master [that is written on the mezuzah]; two, that the demon should not be thus granted permission to cause damage. Thus a person should aware of these things and be careful not to impair [the power] of the name of his master that is on his door. When a person enters his house, the evil inclination and that demon both guard him even against their will and say, "This is the gate of G‑d, into which the righteous shall enter." (Psalms 118:20)

And if a mezuzah is not fixed on the doorpost of a person, then the evil inclination and the demon strengthen each other. They put their hands on the head of the person when he comes in and open saying, "Woe to so-and-so who has gone from under the authority of his master". From that moment he is left without protection, may the Merciful save us [from all types of damage].

It is also interesting to note that the numerical value of Sha-dai in its spelled-out form equals 814, which is the same as that of the phrase "And you shall love your neighbor as yourself ". (Lev. 19:18)

Zohar parashat Vaetchanan, 264a; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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