Why in the first paragraph of Shma (in Devarim 6:9) it says mezuzos (מזזות) without the first vav (the discussion in Rashi here and Menachos 34a seems to be about the second vav which we have, but we are asking about the vav between 2 zayin letters).

This is especially strong since in the second paragraph of Shma (in Devarim 11:20) it says mezuzos (מזוזות) with that vav and R' Bachya brings that מזוזה is really gimatria אדני, i.e. 65, which only works with the middle vav included...

Thank you very much, I really appreciate your help.

  • Just note that there are hundreds and thousands of such questions in the Torah. That makes the question broader and harder than ever. And we are no longer expert in when there is such a vav or a yod (gemara Kiddushin).
    – MichoelR
    Jul 2, 2023 at 12:30
  • 1
    @MichoelR i am not saying it is an easy question :-) i rarely use this forum for easy ones... As for your comment on us not being experts in vavs and yuds, AFAIK there is no machlokes about spelling these in the Torah in this particular place.
    – gt6989b
    Jul 2, 2023 at 13:59
  • Note the proper spelling of this word is actually subject to some classical debate
    – Double AA
    Jul 2, 2023 at 14:18
  • @DoubleAA could you please elaborate? I went through most of mikraos gedolos and didn't find anything like that (didn't check the Ibn Ezra though)
    – gt6989b
    Jul 2, 2023 at 18:07
  • @gt6989b See at length in Minchat Shai on Ex 12:7. You might have seen Rashi on your verse, who has it haser in the second spot.
    – magicker72
    Jul 2, 2023 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


After a day of searching found an expansion of the ideas of Rabbeinu Bachya in Rav Moshe Dovid Valli's peirush on sefer Devarim. Connecting the ideas from the first volume to the ones in the second volume, the mezuza has 2 different functions (albeit very much related to each other):

  1. revealing the Divine presence in your midst is alluded to by the full spelling of mezuza with is gimatria 65 (like the name mentioned in the question, alluding to the Divine Presence); and
  2. protecting you from the other side and from the evil inclination, which is alluded to by the shortened spelling, since the letters of מזזות (in the 1st paragraph) can be rearranged to spell זז מות.

Interestingly, I also saw in Rav Hirsch on 6:9 that he derives mezuza from the root zaz...

So perhaps one can unite both of the above ideas in a single framework as follows. The first paragraph of the Shema is really describing a tzaddik (or the higher, elevated self in every person, which is deeply connected to the Divine). This is one of the reasons why reward and punishment are not mentioned and the focus of the paragraph is on loving G-d and expressing that love, which is the major motivation for the actions of a tzaddik. Such people exist in a place which is protected from the evil inclination (e.g., in Tanya, a tzaddik does not even have one) and so the allusion to this spells mezuza without a vav, making an allusion in that the word mezuzos now has letters from zaz maves (the 2nd idea above).

However, for a regular person, who is very much from the second paragraph of the Shema, the word mezuzos is spelled out in full to allude to the singular mezuzah which when spelled full is gimatria 65 (like the name אדנ-י), alluding to the Divine Presence being in the life of every Jew.


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