March 24, 2017

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is Lord alone…” You all know this as the “Shema.” Jesus quotes it as the first of the two great commandments. These words were written on parchment called a mezuzah. It was placed in a small leather case called a phylactery. The container holding the mezuzah was placed on the doorpost of the house. The container was slanted to point up to the inside of the house. (This time of the year TCM usually plays the 1959 version of “Ben-Hur.” In one scene Ben-Hur breaks it in a fit of anger, in another he puts it back together and kisses it to show respect. This reverence of the mezuzah was supposed to be done before entering the house. Now you know what he was doing. Watch for it next time!)

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