Bizarre! Mezuzah found written in כתב העברי הקדום 

Does anyone know the story of this "mezuzah"? Pictures if it are circulating,  with people saying it was found on someone's house (even though in the picture it looks like it has never been rolled).

Someone else said they saw it for sale in a Judaica shop.

Sounds like a practical joke to me,  but there's nothing funny about it.


Comments

  1. מזזות of 1st Parsha is missing the ת

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    1. Gevald, then it's pasul. :)

      Likely someone thought it would be neat to write a mezuzah in ancient Hebrew or was looking for attention on social media.

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    2. Indeed, just somebody with too much time on their hand.

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    3. It's not missing the ת, its missing the X.

      Agreed, someone with too much time on their hands.

      Would such a mezuzah require geniza? seems so....

      R' Eliyahu Shear (who couldn't post) sent me the the following:


      Dear Rabbi Gutnick

      Sorry I cannot put any comments on your great Stam Forum site.

      I did however want to make a comment regarding the "beautiful" Mezuzah you put up saying that is was Bizzare. I was really excited to see this - thank you for this great post!

      In fact, this Mezuzah may be even more Kosher than what we write today! What you have there (although of course Passul 100% by today's standards) is a Mezuzah written in Paleo Hebrew. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleo-Hebrew_alphabet

      Paleo Hebrew was in fact the original way in which the letters of the Hebrew alphabet were written. It is only now - through the evolution of time and the style of Hebrew writing, that the letters look different. As a matter of fact the letters are not so different (in most of the cases) and if one just takes the time to see the progression of the letters, one will see that the letters (for almost the most part) retained their form.

      My teacher - Dr Michael Khanin - who I have written you about in the past has definitely made this a specialty in his learning, and we are currently producing a series of videos showing how the alphabet has progressed in our writing from those days until today! Exactly this very topic! All the current Shiurim can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=661UPHL-7hQ&list=PLscHj3NkJ78MZfcAVlUVpUotjUiJXd5Sq

      Take a look at the opening of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA8aCII0uu0&list=PLscHj3NkJ78MZfcAVlUVpUotjUiJXd5Sq&index=7 and you will see one of the Megillot (scrolls as in general scrolls not Megillat Esther) found at the Yam HaMelach. Here you will see clearly how the script shows up as being of the Paleo Hebrew. I have plenty of other clips I could send showing the various texts that were found from thousands of years ago. Likewise - if you go to the end of that same clip - you will see Megillat Bereishit found dating back a thousand years ago or more. Here if you look at the letters, you can already see a progression of the writing - yet even looking at Shem HaShem you will see how the He'in look like Chetin. In other words, the way that they wrote then, was not exactly as we write today - even though we have our clear Halachot today - and by today's standards - such a Torah scroll would be 100% Passul!

      See this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDJQjEHYT-g&list=PLscHj3NkJ78MZfcAVlUVpUotjUiJXd5Sq&index=8 - go to 1:27:40 - where you can see Dr Khanin showing a book written by a woman who invested some 30 years in understanding and explaining the flow of the progression of the Hebrew alphabet and writing in Torah scrolls.

      In fact, the Mezuzah you have put up is not just Bizarre! It is in all probability the way Mezuzot looked going back to that period of time two and three thousand years ago!

      Did you know there is a Yerushalmi Gemara (I can get the page number - I have forgotten!) which says that there were certain letters of the Asseret HaDibrot that stood out in the air. Now - we all know them to be the Samech and the Mem (Sofit - which may not have even existed then...). But the Talmud Yerushalmi lists the Ayin as one of the letters that stood out. This is surprising for those of us who know what an Ayin looks like... But it is not surprising to the Yerushalmi - which was written at that time when in fact the Paleo Hebrew letters were used. Take a look at the Ayin of that day - and you will see - it looks like our Samech of today! (Take a look at the chart on the Wiki page link I sent above).

      What a find! Totally Passul today! But it is a perfect example of what the Mezuzot of those days must surely have looked like. The Sofer who wrote this has done an excellent job. So long of course - as it does not get into the wrong hands for today!

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    4. @eligutnick In response to your reader's comment, indeed that's the academic approach to Paleo Hebrew - that it was the original script. However that's subject to a machloket in the Gemara (megilla and shabbat), where there's the opinion that the Ktav Ashuri was the original script. There are Seforim trying to reconcile this opinion with the Yerushalmi he quoted.

      The Sefer Yereim does bring down that there was a minhag of writing extra letters in the Mezuza, in Ktav Ivri script, for "extra protection/shmira". You can see a sample of this Mezuza and also the original source here https://lavlor.blogspot.com/2010/04/mark-of-cain-and-mezuza-of-egypt.html

      I do find this mezuza a harmless exercise (as long as it's not put in a doorpost), and interesting to look at.

      The writer stretches the letters to get to the end of the line, but in Ktav Ivri it doesn't really works well . And it's funny he used the Ashkezani Setuma layout, opposed to the Sephardi which accords to the Rambam's Aleppo Codex - most likely the layout used back in the times of Ktav Ivri.

      Kol tuv
      YK

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    5. So in the times of bayis rishon, this is how a mezuza looked...

      I wonder, from a commercial perspective, which ksav would be quicker/ easier to write?

      Then again, there was no such thing as a sofer stam in the times of the bayis rishon. People wrote their own mezuzos...

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    6. Eli I'm not so sure this is how the Mezuzahs looked in Bayis Roshon as "yk" nicely quoted there is an opinion in the Gemorah that it was the original script and in fact the luchos harishon were ksav ashuris as well as the sefer torah that was kept in the Aron.

      But it was considered a special ksav and not to be used for common writing and that is besides the fact that the common people were not even able to read it. therefore the rest of sifrei torah were written in those days were actually written in this ksav as there were primarily for learning from as they didnt have printed Seforim... so they wrote them in the lettering that everyone was familiar with... the Krias hatorah as we know it today didn't start until Ezra instituted it...

      on the other hand the purpose of a Mezuzah was never to read or learn from so maybe it was ksav ashuris? how can we be sure.,, I would love to do more research on this...

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    7. Any further info on this interesting topic would be appreciated

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  2. See אנציקלופדיה תלמודית כרך לב page תקט
    "כתב אשורי" all the opinions on this topic very clear short with it's sources.

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