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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Covering the mezuza

Someone asked me if they may have a mezuza on their door since it is facing another door with a tzelem hanging on it and it might not be proper kavod to the mezuza.
I think that it is allowed if it is covered (i.e. that you cannot see the Sh-Ka-i (Hashem's name) on the parchment). Although the tzelem is considered as (at least safek Avodah Zarah)idolatry (Yoreh Deah 141:1 Rema and Shach ibid:6), still it should be similar to the halacha that one must cover ervah infront of a Sefer Torah, tefillin, sefarim or mezuzas etc... (Mishna Berura 240:27 etc...). It is required kli betoch kli. Perhaps the case is similar to a mezuza in front of tinuf (Yoreh Deah 286:5) where the shulchan Aruch writes only " tov lichasost hamezuza" - (which is more lenient) provided there is no ervah.

In any case would a plastic non translucent case with a ש printed on it work? (I believe that some rabbonim say it is fine for kli betoch kli, although I do not understand the reasoning for this, since the case is designated for the mezuzah).
I believe some Rabonim require a cloth or the like to cover the mezuza (on top of the case), it makes sense halachikly speaking, however it does not seem to be the main practiced view. I would appreciate your help on these questions.

9 comments:

  1. One way to avoid the above mentioned problem, would be to double wrap a non translucent paper around the mezuza from the inside, which would suffice for kli betoch kli.

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  2. Dovid, thanks for the question, it's a very interesting one.
    I searched a bit if there is any mention of a sefer tora/tefilin/mezuza seeing or standing opposite a avoda zara, meanwhile didn't find anything in the poskim.
    I guess I am lacking in "yo'gaty" so therefore "lo matzasee".

    Anyway, I think it only should resemble tinuf as tzoa, but I don't think there is any resemblance of avoda zara to erva in concept.

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  3. Reb Moishe please find a mekor, I dont see why it is tzoa either

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  4. I didn't find. I spoke to someone here and he said that adraba since chazal didn't mention the isur of wearing tefilin against a tzelem, it seems they did not prohibit it, which obviously will be the same law for a mezuza.
    I didn't mean in my comment that it is definitly like tzoa, only that a possible equation of avoda zara to tzoa could be [leaving Dovids question open] but I don't see any equation of avoda zara to erva.
    Although I don't have a makor and agree with you [as my friend here in yerushalim] that we can not say a definite psak that it is forbidden since I don't have a makor, I still think the question is worth a thought and I leave it open.

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  5. Concerning Tefillah in a place where there is A"Z tzelem etc... the Rema Orach Chayim 94:9 writes one should not pray their (unless no other choice, only then in a corner ). The Mishna Berura ibid:29 explains this is derived out from when Moshe left Mitzrayim to go pray (end of Parshas Vaeira)since the place was full of idolatry.
    In Shabbos 127,b there is a story with R' Yehoshua who entered into the house of the "matronisa" and before R" Yehoshua entered within 4 amos he took off his Tefilin the gemara explains this since one should not have a "davar kedusha" in a "makom tumah".
    Accordingly we can say that a mezuza should not be within 4 amos (probably not to be visable either) of a tzelem which is ruled as a makom tumah. This needs more iyun on this subject, I would like some input on this matter.

    Interestingly, I also found in the Derech Pikudecha (mitzvah lo saseh 11 in the hagah) that there is a kabalah in his hands that books of minim and apikorsim are like avoda zara mamash and tzoa (that is the lashon tzoa next to avoda zara).

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  7. Note that S A. HaRav 94:10 and Mishna Berura ibid, only mention one should not bring a davar kedusha in a house of idolatry (skipping out the part of 4 amos). I do not have any clear maskanah on this issue with the mezuza facing a tzelem yet. However I belive that it should be covered if in front of a tzelem.

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  9. I asked R' Shammai Gross. He said the mezuzah should be covered completely (i.e. don't put it in a "see through" case.)

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