My previous question "walls for Mezuza" didn't receive many responses, so I'd break it into small ones:

Our forefathers lived in big fixed tents (like nomads) and so did the Israelites in the wilderness.

If it stays in place for more than 30 days and certainly has an opening, is it obligated in Mezuza?

  • 2
    Do tents have doors with doorposts and a lintel?
    – mbloch
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 19:45

1 Answer 1


The Rambam Hilchos Brachos 11:2 writes that there are some mitzvos which one is obligated to go after, such as: tefillin, sukkah, shofar, and there are mitzvos that are optional where one does not need to run after to perform, such as: mezuzah, and maakeh. The Rambam writes that even if one wants to live on a boat or live in a tent it is permitted to do so, even though he cant perform mezuzah. From this Rambam its mashma that a tent never requires a mezuzah even if one lives in it his whole life.

Text of Rambam:

יש מצות עשה שאדם חייב להשתדל ולרדוף עד שיעשה אותה כגון תפילין וסוכה ולולב ושופר ואלו הן הנקראין חובה לפי שאדם חייב על כל פנים לעשות ויש מצוה שאינה חובה אלא דומין לרשות כגון מזוזה ומעקה שאין אדם חייב לשכון בבית החייב מזוזה כדי שיעשה מזוזה אלא אם רצה לשכון כל ימיו באהל או בספינה ישב וכן אינו חייב לבנות בית כדי לעשות מעקה

Translation of text (Chabad):

There are positive commandments that a person is obligated to make an effort to pursue [their fulfillment] until he performs them - for example, tefillin, sukkah, lulav, and shofar. These are referred to as obligations, since a person is obligated to fulfill them.

There are other mitzvot that are not obligations, but resemble voluntary activities - for example, [the mitzvot of] mezuzah and constructing a guardrail. A person is not obligated to dwell in a house that requires a mezuzah [just in order] to fulfill this mitzvah. Instead, if he desires, he can dwell in a tent or a ship for his entire life.

  • I was looking at this previously, and I was saying that you could wander your whole life and live in tents for less than 30 days. I suppose the key factor is rather the one mentioned by @mbloch. Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 19:57
  • Very interesting, thank you. Does it mean that by Rambam any tent is automatically exempt from Mezuza, or there are additional considerations?
    – Al Berko
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 21:28
  • 1
    Personally I don't trust statements out of their natural placement, for example, if he'd say that in Hilchos Mezuzah I'd believe, but out of context, in Hilchos Brochos, that seems not serious. I mean that could be read as in "if one wants to spend his life in such a tent that is surely exempt from Mezuza he can".
    – Al Berko
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 21:33
  • I wonder, though: would you put a mezuzah on the doorframe of your bedroom on a houseboat? Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 23:14

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