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What should be done about the mezuzot (internal and external) when selling one's house...

  • to a non-Jew?
  • to a non-observant Jew?
  • to an observant Jew?
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

To a non-Jew: take them down.

To a Jew: you're supposed to leave them up, and you can charge him for the cost. (If the buyer refuses to pay for them, you can take them down.) There are differing opinions whether, if you have super-special mezuzas up there, you can replace them with ordinary mezuzahs; what I've heard is mostly that it's permissible.

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I understand this to be the halacha also, but a source would be nice. – msh210 Aug 8 '11 at 4:09
@msh210: I don't have access to my references right now. Hopefully coming soon. – Shalom Aug 8 '11 at 13:05
How about now (access to the sources)? – Seth J Mar 25 '12 at 2:45
@msh210 its a gemara in the end of bava metzia and is quoted lehalacha by the shulchan aruch. end of hasocher if i remember correctly. – Hahu Gavra Apr 26 '12 at 4:06
This happened to us so I researched this. A source is in Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 11:21 "If one is moving out of a house and another Jew moves in to live there, the first person may not take the mezuzot off. Rather he should leave them there and the second person should compensate him for their value". Unlike what @Shalom writes, the rabbanims I asked said you cannot take them with you if the new resident refuses to pay for them. So CYLOR – mbloch Dec 24 '15 at 15:46

I recently read and liked this little essay on the topic, written by Rabbi Joan Glazer Farber and published by the Union for Reform Judaism.

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But readers should note that it has several errors in it. The first one is in the very first paragraph of the answer, which claims that the question of whether to remove the m'zuza depends on why the seller wants to do so. Other errors follow in close succession. – msh210 Aug 8 '11 at 3:54
@Mordechai, by "from a non-orthodox perspective", do you mean that I should assume non-orthodox postulates/axioms and, with those assumptions, point out errors? No can do: I don't know what postulates I should assume, and likely there are no errors with such postulates. EDIT: That last part should read "...and likely there are no errors in the essay if one assumes such postulates.". – msh210 Aug 8 '11 at 18:48
@msh210: that being the case, I don't think the downvotes are deserved (your edit is useful, though). I would like to see Judaism.SE evolve as a multi-denomination, open site where we can learn from different sources, and that requires allowing different points of view, even if you structurally disagree with them (BTW, I did mark the more halachic answer as accepted as it's more normative, but this one was also useful) – מרדכי בן דניאל Aug 8 '11 at 19:56
@Mordechai: If the answer was useful to you, I suggest that you upvote it. Others who agree should do the same. A tally of votes placed is next to the answer, and indicates "the currently accepted view on the site" (with respect to this answer in particular) far more than my own views do, even if I am currently a moderator. – msh210 Aug 8 '11 at 21:42
I personally think this answer is not useful for reason of not summarizing the points made in the essay. – Seth J Mar 25 '12 at 2:44

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