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Can you put a mezuzah up on someone else's home without permission?

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Firstly I'm not sure why you would want to do that.

We learn in the Gemara (פסחים ד' ע"א, בבא מציעא ק"א ע"ב, עבודה זרה כ"א ע"א) and it's codified by the Rambam (Mezuza 5:11) that שֶׁהַמְּזוּזָה חוֹבַת הַדָּר הִיא - the obligation to affix a Mezuza falls on the occupants, and not on the building.

In other words, the person living there has a Mitzva to affix the Mezuza. There's no obligation for the house to have a Mezuza; there's a Mitzva for the inhabitant to affix a Mezuza on their own house.

So you may not be achieving anything - Mitzva wise - by putting a Mezuzah up on someone else's home without permission.

Secondly, there's a problem of damaging other people's property, which is forbidden. So unless you can affix that Mezuza without damaging the doorpost (no holes, no glue, etc.) you are going to be responsible for damages.

BTW: One is also forbidden from causing damage with the intent of paying for the damage.

End result: You may do more harm than good - Mitzva wise - by putting a Mezuzah up on someone else's home without permission.

  • wouldn't this be similar to a situation where a parent refuses to circumcise a child so the beis din or community becomes responsible? – user6641 Jul 16 '14 at 13:57
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    Also the person may tear it down and disrespect it. – C. Ben Yosef Jul 16 '14 at 13:58
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    @user6641 - By Mila the Rambam says ובית דין מצווין למול את אותו הבן או העבד, בזמנו; ולא יניחו ערל לא בישראל, ולא בעבדיהם. but by Mezuza he says שֶׁהַמְּזוּזָה חוֹבַת הַדָּר הִיא clearly not the same. Besides, Mila is an exception; most Mitzvot we try persuade the person to do it, but don't do it for him. (Maybe because the kid cannot help himself?) – Danny Schoemann Jul 16 '14 at 14:11
  • so you're saying that if the person living there gave permission but didn't outright make the other person a shaliach it would still be no good? – user6641 Jul 16 '14 at 14:15
  • Also, consider darchei shalom if you think the owner would object (e.g. he's an apikorus who thinks you're trying to preach at him; your desire to bring him around wouldn't automatically trump his objections). – Monica Cellio Jul 16 '14 at 14:23

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