Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Mezuza covers that are problematic
Concerning mezuza covers with formed images of people on them (like in this picture) or with a sun or moon on them. What is is the Halacaha of these mezuza cases?
Based on Yoreh Deah 141:3 we are not to even own tzuras (either bolait or shakua)images of the sun and moon. Concerning the image of a person even the face alone is a problem (Taz 141:15). See also the Mechaber 141:4 where the girsa is "afilu Lenoi" see also the Shach ibid:21.
I think concerning childeren's mezuzas it is less of a problem even with images of different icons similar to the status of a toy, so seems the minhag bepoal, not that it is endorsed, however not necessarily certainly forbidden. However there might even be an issue with decorative images formed on childeren mezuza cases, since there is an importance of looking at the mezuza (as in the story of Onkelos the ger recorded in Tractate Avoda Zara) and it might not be proper to look at such images even if they are similar to toys (these mezuzas usually also have a Shin printed on them as well, which could be another problem)(see the Sefer Sheva Mitzvahs Hashem on the prohibition of Avodah zarah chapter 5 with the footnotes).
Would it therefore be better to avoid purchasing or selling such mezuza cases or possibly advisable to rub off the nose of a toy human fugurine on the mezuza case if one already owned it? Animal images (in general) are not a problem Mechaber 141:6, does that apply here with mezuza cases?
Can we make this rule of forbidden tzuros on mezuza cases, even if certainly none of these items were made or served as Avoda Zara, many times they were hand made by a Jew? Marei mekomos are appreciated.
If it is a problem, one would not be allowed to assist with putting the mezuza inside the case because "lifneh iver lo sitan michshol".
Concerning this mezuza posted, it was claimed to of been made in New York (possibly by Yiden, but one of my questions is would it make a difference if it was made by a yid or not? Many cases are anyways manufactured in China.
Posted by Dovid Nissan Bressman at 6:19 PM