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Would it be permissible to give a Mezuzah to a non-Jew if he is honorable and can reasonably be trusted to treat it with great care such as a dignitary or a collector of cultural artifacts?

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Just to own, or to hang on their doorpost? –  Double AA Jul 19 '12 at 1:53
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Stam (no pun intended). –  Seth J Jul 19 '12 at 1:56
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(As a side point, it's possible that the mezuzah he gave him was printed) –  b a Jul 19 '12 at 1:57
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@Curiouser writes in a comment here (judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/17789/…) that "The Shulchan Aruch YD 291 does prohibit giving a non-Jew a mezuzah" That's a probably a good starting point for anybody who is going to answer this question. –  chaimp Jul 19 '12 at 3:02
    
@chaim, thank you. That thread is what sparked my question. –  Seth J Jul 19 '12 at 12:34
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2 Answers 2

Oholei Shem Siman 59 says that it is not proper to give a Mezuza to a non-Jew to place on his door, per the the Maharil, Kneses HaGedola, and Rishon L'Tziyon.

However the Sheyilas Yaavetz Chelek 2 Siman 121 seems to say that if the non-Jew will respect it properly then you may give it to him to put on his door.

The Igros Moshe Chelek 5 Yorah Deah 2 Siman 141 seems to diffrentiate between giving it to a non-Jew who will put it on his door and giving it to a non-Jew plain. By a door he holds it may be more stringent, since perhaps he will have a robbery and then he will be upset and throw the Mezuza in the garbage and therefore it would not be permitted, however to give it to a non-Jew who will take care of it properly and is not placing it on his door there it would be perhaps permitted.

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+1 for the added sources. –  Double AA Aug 1 '12 at 2:07
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To give an example from the "mimetic," rather than "text-based," world, President Chaim Weitzman famously presented a Sefer Torah to President Harry Truman. (Follow the link--there's a picture of the two of them posing with the Torah!)

The Torah Scroll is on display, in the Aron Kodesh which was also part of the gift, in the Truman Library in Independence, MO.


The Jewish History Blog says "When Truman saw it, he said, 'I always wanted one of those.'"

Rabbi Berel Wein, who wrote that blog post, adds that "Weizmann presented Truman with the traditional gift Jews give to heads of state: a Torah scroll." Rabbi Wein is Orthodox, and presumably the traditional Jews were traditional.

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Is there any reason to think he did so with the sanction of, say, the Chief Rabbinate? If not, then is this relevant to a halacha-oriented question? –  msh210 Aug 1 '12 at 7:09
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@msh210, hence the first clause of my answer. –  JXG Aug 1 '12 at 13:43
    
-1 Chaim Weizmann was "a deeply religious man, although not a strict observer of the religious ritual." –  Shmuel Brin Aug 1 '12 at 18:42
    
@ShmuelBrin - I do not believe that is true. –  Adam Mosheh Aug 1 '12 at 22:01
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I edited my post to boost my mimetic halacha bona fides. –  JXG Aug 2 '12 at 8:02
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