By Gloria Scheiner (Sarasota, FL)
“Ouch! Oh no, not again.”
My son, Adam, got another cut on his finger kissing the mezuzah.
When Adam’s kids were small, he carried the children on his shoulders so they could kiss the mezuzah when they entered the house.
Now they are four and seven years old, and each has a mezuzah within easy reach on the doorpost of his or her room.
What is it about the mezuzah?
It has become a magnificent work of art.
Sometimes I think it’s a symbol for how so many of us live our Jewishness.
We keep it beautiful. We build beautiful buildings. We respect the talent and artistic drive that creates these structures, and we try to identify with the great Jewish writers, Nobel Prize winners and musicians. But it appears we are searching for our Jewish identity by association.
I’ve learned that many people don’t even take the time to insert the prayer.
We need to be careful lest the mezuzah become a mirror of the empty vessel through which we live out our Jewish identity.
Other times, I think maybe the magnificent, empty mezuzah is needed on some level to remind us that we are in process. The message is coming. It just doesn’t come at once.
Each of our grandchildren has a mezuzah. We chose each one carefully for its art and meaningfulness and we paid extra to have the prayer inserted so that the mezuzah would be kosher.
The mezuzah helps remind each of the children who they are and where they came from every time they enter their homes.
I’m not certain they engage in the ritual of kissing the mezuzah like Adam when they enter their homes.
However, when they enter their homes, and when their friends enter their homes, they know it is a Jewish home.
I’m sorry Adam cuts his finger every now and then. But I guess therein can be found the historical message.
No matter how many times he gets hurt, he continues to kiss the mezuzah as he shares his love for his Jewishness with his family.
Gloria Scheiner is a member of “The Pearls,” a group of six women who meet every Monday in Sarasota to write. “We choose a word and write for about ten minutes. If we like it, we are free to expand it, edit it, or just hone in on a particular phrase or idea. What I love most is how one word evokes such a different chord in each of us.“