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A Mezuzah Story

Thursday, 3 January, 2013 - 8:08 am

In Montreal there is a Sofer, a Scribe who happens to be my brother in law. Last week when Fraida and I were there, visiting her parents, we had our Mezuzot checked.

In our home we have mezuzot on all our doors, excluding the restrooms.  Mezuzot are supposed to have a  maintenance checkup at least twice in seven years to make sure they are in working order. That the ink didn't rub off -no water damage etc., Thank G-d they were all fine except one that had a bit of water damage and needs a waterproof case.

While doing research on the mezuzah, I came across this fascinating story from 1900 years ago. Below are the pertinent details.  All the details click here.

Onkelos was a member of the Roman royal family. He traveled from Rome and started out for Jerusalem, in the land of Judah. Once there, he took upon himself the religion of the persecuted Jews and converted. He became a disciple of the great Rabbis who were disciples of Rabbi Jochanan ben Zakkai. He gave himself over entirely to the study of the Torah. His perseverance and dedication were so great that his teachers became concerned about his health, but Onkelos continued learning day and night until he became well-versed in all the secrets of the Torah.

After a short time the emperor Hadrian found out that his nephew Onkelos had accepted the Jewish religion and had become one of the foremost Jewish scholars. The emperor was beside himself with rage, and he sent a company of soldiers to arrest Onkelos and to bring him in chains to Rome.

Hadrian sent 2 troops who failed their mission and converted. when he sent the third troop he sent a company of troops with high officers at the head, with the express orders not to say one word to Onkelos and not to answer any questions, but to arrest him immediately.

The messengers arrived and started to carry out the emperor's orders without delay. They led him out of his. house. At the door Onkelos stopped, and joyfully kissed the Mezuzah.

The messengers gazed at him in wonder, and could not restrain themselves from asking him:

"What does that thing on the door symbolize, and why are you so happy at being taken to Rome, where your uncle will surely have your head chopped off?"

"I laugh at foolish people. A king sits in his palace and has guards around him to protect him from danger. But the Jewish King, the L-rd of the world, allows his servants to sit quietly at home and He protects them from outside. That is the Mezuzah on our door!"

The royal messengers fell entirely under the influence of Onkelos's words and it did not take long before they also became his faithful disciples.

What do you think the message of the mezuzah was to them that it had such an effect on them? Whats the message of this story for us?

Email me your thoughts 
join us for TGI Shabbat, Friday night services 6pm followed by Chicken Soup and we will discuss it.

Have a good shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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