4

enter image description here I noticed this in my garage on the inside trim of a backdoor. It seems to have been painted over several times. I would say it is a mezuzah, except:

  1. It is very small
  2. The lettering seems off
  3. It is inside
  4. It is not at an angle
  5. It is on the trim rather than the jamb
  6. It is on the left side of the door

I am not sure how many of these are rules, and some (or all) may very well be nothing more than my observations.

EDIT:

Just to sum things up:

  1. The size does not matter
  2. The lettering on the case doesn't matter much, may have deteriorated, or be poorly done
  3. Inside and on the trim is fine, provided it is close to the jamb
  4. Straight vertical rather than tilted is a sephardic custom
  5. On the left inside would put it on the right from the outside

It looks like this is just a very small, slightly abnormal case that is hung in an uncommon location/manner. When I have time to paint over where it was, I will take it off to try to see if there is a scroll inside.

  • Regarding your edit #2. Lettering matters a very much on the score itself, (it is only on the case it does not matter), #5 it does make sense to tilt it even when inside already (the ahkinazi custom is to tilt it (to fulfill both opinions to be vertical and to be horizontal) , which direction it is being tilted is secondary) they do this on glass store fronts – hazoriz Jan 9 '18 at 21:45
  • Specified case in #2 and removed my own inference on direction when being hung inside. Out of curiosity, which way should it be angle given this location? – Ben Jan 9 '18 at 21:58
  • This I do not know I will try to find out (I would guess the top to the direction of the doorway) – hazoriz Jan 9 '18 at 22:10
  • Since it is on the entrance, it would be on the right as you enter the garage from the outside. If it were on the door between the house and the garage, it would be on the right as you enter the house. – sabbahillel Jan 9 '18 at 22:59
  • 2
    While theoretically a very very small mezuzah could be made, in practice the very very small ones are usually either printes on paper or straight invalid. So if yours is really very very small, it's pretty safe to assume there's nothing of value in it. – Double AA Jan 9 '18 at 23:09
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It definitely does look like a mezuzah cover. The sure way to find out is to unscrew or pry it open. If you can unscrew or pry off the cover and find a parchment inside, you've pretty much confirmed things. I've lived in NYC for my entire life. If you walk around looking at many apartment buildings esp. in former mainly Jewish NYC neighborhoods such as Harlem & Washington Heights, you'd see loads of these multiply painted mezuzot around.

Regarding your concerns -

  • The outside lettering is not required, though it's customary. It may be "off" due to weathering or just poor artists skill.

  • On the left side. Hmm ... it should be on the right side when entering the garage. Is it? I can't tell from the pic.

  • Not at an angle - It should be, but, if there's no room to have it at angle, it's not necessary. (I'll add a source for that, later.)

  • Size of the cover doesn't really matter; The parchment needs to be a minimal size, easy enough to read the letters. There's most likely a minimal size for the lettering, which, most likely the parchment fits.

In short, see if you can verify that there's parchment in there, and not, an empty cover.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation about what the OP should do with the mezuzah has been moved to chat. – Monica Cellio Jan 11 '18 at 1:56
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It is a Mezuzah case.
It is not considered a mezuza by itself, if inside there is a kosher mezuza scroll then that is a mezzuza (I recommend taking is down and getting the scroll checked by a soffer

It is very small
That is not a problem. (as long and the letters on the parchment can be seen with the naked eye)
The lettering seems off Those letters might be holy since G-ds name is written by them, (so maybe you can not destroy them).
But since if is only they case they have no importance regarding the Mezuza.
It is inside
That is not a problem.
It is not at an angle
That is the way sifardim do it. (S"A Y"D 289.6)
It is on the trim rather than the jamb
It seems OK if it is not more then a handsbreath away from the jamb. but it should be corrected (Shach 189.3)
It is on the left side of the door
If it is then it does not count as a mezuzah (S"A Y"D 289.2), but it is not always simple to tell what side is left

If you want sources please let me know

  • How do you know size doesn’t matter? How do you know it’s not a mezuzah if it’s on the left? How do you know where on the doorpost or what direction it has to be? – DonielF Jan 9 '18 at 22:21
  • Some Ashkenazim hang it vertically too – Double AA Jan 9 '18 at 23:07
  • @DonielF done (and corrected (the size if based on my logic, i did not find a source yet)) also see halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Mezuzah (what else) – hazoriz Jan 10 '18 at 19:10
  • @hazoriz I might check Hilchos Tefillin, where the Mechaber discusses the shape of the letters. I don’t have the exact Siman off the top of my head - just flip through a Mishnah Berurah, with all of the diagrams there, you can’t miss it. I don’t remember exactly but he might discuss a minimum size of the letters there. – DonielF Jan 10 '18 at 19:12
  • @DonielF or you can look here chabad.org/3284482 and chabad.org/3284478 – hazoriz Jan 10 '18 at 19:16

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