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What are the source(s) that every room needs a mezuzah and not just the front door?

In the Torah and Talmud.

  • Why would you think only the front door needs one? Maybe only bathroom doors need one? Maybe only bedroom doors need one? Why think any door doesn't need one? This question is backwards and unmotivated. Please provide some reason to think every room doesn't need one, such that a source explaining why they all do need one ought exist. – Double AA Oct 16 '18 at 23:24
  • This link provides where a mezuzah is required: chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/225406/jewish/… It does not provide a source but if you explore the site further, it may do so on the topic’s other pages – JJLL Oct 17 '18 at 1:09
  • @DoubleAA if a jew has an obligation should it not have a source – hazoriz Oct 17 '18 at 9:15
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    As an aside, I have a theory that the בית mentioned in Chazal is equivalent to a single room of our houses, based on its usage in Hilchos Brachos. – DonielF Oct 17 '18 at 11:13
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    @hazoriz the source is וכתבתם על מזוזות ביתך which you know already – Double AA Oct 17 '18 at 11:50
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There does not appear to be a Talmudic source that explicitly states that every room in a house requires it's own mezuzah. Rambam, however, does explicitly state this:

Hilchot Mezuzah 6:10

חדר שבבית אפילו חדר בחדר חייב לעשות מזוזה על שער החדר הפנימי ועל שער החדר החיצון ועל שער הבית שכולן עשויין לדירה וקבועין

When there is a separate room in a house, or even one room which leads to another room, it is necessary to affix a mezuzah on the doorway to the innermost room, the doorway to the outer room, and the doorway to the house, since all of them are used for the purpose of dwelling and are permanent structures. (Touger translation)

The subsequent major codes all adopt Rambam's ruling (Tur Y.D. 286, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 286:16, Levush Y.D. 286:16, Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 286:37. The respective commentaries that provide the sources for those codes send the reader right back to the statement of Rambam quoted above.

The question then is, what was Rambam's source?

R. Yosef Karo in his commentary thereto wonders why Rambam had to include this rule at all, since it is already covered by a previous rule. He does not tell us which previous rule he is referring to, but the other commentaries appear to assume that he is referring to the following:

Hilchot Mezuzah 6:8

לפיכך אחד שערי חצרות ואחד שערי מבואות ואחד שערי מדינות ועיירות הכל חייבים במזוזה שהרי הבתים החייבין במזוזה פתוחין לתוכן אפילו עשרה בתים זה פתוח לזה וזה פתוח לזה הואיל והפנימי חייב במזוזה כולן חייבין ומפני זה אמרו שער הפתוח מן הגינה לחצר חייב במזוזה

Accordingly, gates to courtyards, gates to alleys, and gates to cities and towns, all require a mezuzah, since houses which require a mezuzah open up to them. Even when there are ten structures leading one to each other, should the innermost one require a mezuzah, they all require [mezuzot]. Therefore, [our Sages] stated: A gate which opens up from a garden to a courtyard requires a mezuzah. (Touger translation)

In his commentary to that ruling, R. Karo traces the law back to the following Talmudic statement:

Menachot 33b

אמר רחבה אמר רב יהודה בי הרזיקי חייב בשתי מזוזות מאי בי הרזיקי אמר רב פפא סבא משמיה דרב בית שער הפתוח לחצר ובתים פתוחין לבית שער

Rehabah said in the name of Rab Judah, An entrance-lodge requires two mezuzoth. What is meant by ‘an entrance-lodge’? — R. Papa the Elder said in the name of Rab, It is a lodge, with one door opening on to the courtyard and another leading to the dwelling-houses. (Soncino translation)

Thus according to R. Karo, the source that every room in a house requires a mezuzah is a bit of a leap. We start with a Talmudic statement that when there is an entrance structure between the main structure and the courtyard, the entrance structure requires a mezuzah in addition to the main structure's mezuzah. This is then expanded to include even a chain of ten such structures, which in turn is taken to mean that any room within a structure requires a mezuzah.

That this is a bit of a leap is noted by some of the commentaries. R. Yedidya Shmuel Tarika argues that the cases in 6:8 and 6:10 are not necessarily analogous. In the former, all the outer structures require a mezuzah because they are the entrance structures to an inner structure that requires a mezuzah. In the latter case, though, each room is just another room of the house so it should be covered under the mezuzah by the entrance to the house:

Ben Yedid Hichot Mezuzah 6:10

ואפשר דהו"א דוקא עשרה בתים זה פתוח לזה הואיל והפנימי חייב כולן חייבים אבל בית שיש בתוך הבית עצמו חדר וחדר לפנים ממנו שהכל בית אחד תסגי במזוזה אחת

Somewhat similarly, R. Massoud Chai Rakkah points out that in the former case the outer structures require a mezuzah because they are necessary to get to the inner structure; in the latter case it is the reverse – we would be requiring a mezuzah on an inner room on account of the rest of the house:

Maaseh Rokeach Hilchot Mezuzah 6:10

אפשר לומר דהתם שאני שאף ששאר הבתים החיצונים אין חייבים מצד עצמם מ"מ כיון שהפנימית חייבת והוא צריך ליכנס בה דרך שאר הבתים להכי מחייבו כולם אבל הכא הוי איפכא

Both of them ultimately conclude that the reason why even an inner room would require a mezuzah is simply because it is used for living. Indeed, that is what Rambam himself said at the end of 6:10 – "since all of them are used for the purpose of dwelling and are permanent structures":

Ben Yedid

יהיב טעמא מדעת עצמו שכולן עשויין לדירה וקבועין

Maaseh Rokeach

דכיון שכל החדרים עשוים לדירה אין לחלק בהכי

According to this, then, the rule that every room in a house requires a mezuzah is apparently based on the assumption that the Talmudic ruling which states that the Torah specifically refers to structures that are used for living means that anything used for living, even an individual room that is part of an overall living structure, requires a mezuzah:

Yoma 11b

ת"ל בית מה בית מיוחד לדירה יצאו אלו שאין מיוחדין לדירה

therefore the text reads, ‘house’ — [meaning] just as ‘house’ means a building appointed for a dwelling it thus excludes all other buildings not appointed for a dwelling. (Soncino translation)

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Berachos 46b-47a (not a full proof):

תנו רבנן אין מכבדין לא בדרכים ולא בגשרים [...] רבין ואביי הוו קא אזלי באורחא קדמיה חמריה דרבין לדאביי ולא אמר ליה ניזיל מר אמר מדסליק האי מרבנן ממערבא גס ליה דעתיה כי מטא לפתחא דבי כנישתא אמר ליה ניעל מר אמר ליה ועד השתא לאו מר אנא אמר ליה הכי אמר רבי יוחנן אין מכבדין אלא בפתח שיש בה מזוזה דאית בה מזוזה אין דלית בה מזוזה לא אלא מעתה בית הכנסת ובית המדרש דלית בהו מזוזה הכי נמי דאין מכבדין אלא אימא בפתח הראוי למזוזה

The Sages taught: We do not honor [greater people] on roads or bridges [to allow them to go first] [...] Ravin and Abaye were going on the road. Ravin’s donkey preceded Abaye’s, and Ravin did not say, “Let the Master [Abaye] go first.” [Abaye] said, “Since this Rabbi came up from the West, he’s been so arrogant.” When they reached the entrance of the Shul, [Ravin] said to him, “Let the Master go first.” [Abaye] said to him, “And until now have I not been the Master?!” [Ravin] said to him, “Thus did R’ Yochanan say: ‘“We do not honor except at an entrance with a mezuzah.” If it has a mezuzah, yes, but if it doesn’t have a mezuzah, no? But now a Shul and Beis Midrash which do not have mezuzos, so, too [one need not honor]? Rather, say “by an entrance that is fitting for a mezuzah” [to exclude roads and bridges, which are not entryways that they need mezuzos].’”

Sukkah 8b:

א"ר לוי משום ר"מ שתי סוכות של יוצרים זו לפנים מזו הפנימית אינה סוכה וחייבת במזוזה והחיצונה סוכה ופטורה מן המזוזה ואמאי תהוי חיצונה כבית שער הפנימית ותתחייב במזוזה משום דלא קביע

R’ Levi said in the name of R’ Meir: “Two potter’s huts, this one inside this one - the inner one is not a sukkah and is obligated in mezuzah, but the outer one is a sukkah and is exempt from mezuzah.” Why? The outer one should be like a gatehouse for the inner one and be obligated in mezuzah! It’s because it’s not permanent.

That was the way those huts were set up - they weren’t permanent. But if they were both permanent, seemingly the Gemara would have a valid point and both would be obligated in mezuzah - even though only one of them is open to the street.

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    I like your inference from Sukkah, but what are you trying to show from Berachot? – Joel K Oct 17 '18 at 11:56
  • @JoelK It’s not as strong of a proof, as Shuls and Batei Midrashos aren’t actually chayiv in Mezuzah, but it does show that they’re at least ra’ui for them. – DonielF Oct 17 '18 at 12:06
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    But maybe that's only talking about the front door of a one room shul... – Joel K Oct 17 '18 at 12:07
  • @JoelK Not if it’s talking about doorways in general. – DonielF Oct 17 '18 at 12:09
  • But who says it is talking about doorways in general? Maybe internal doorways are not obligated in mezuzah (and are not fitting for a mezuzah) and the requirement of kibbud is only on front doors... – Joel K Oct 17 '18 at 12:20
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The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (11:1) writes

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִקְבֹּעַ מְזוּזָה בְּכָל פֶּתַח. וַאֲפִלּוּ יֵשׁ לוֹ כַּמָּה חֲדָרִים וּלְכָל חֶדֶר כַּמָּה פְתָחִים הָעֲשׂוּיִים לִכְנִיסָה וִיצִיאָה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא רָגִיל רַק בְּאֶחָד מֵהֶם, מִכָּל מָקוֹם כֻּלָּם חַיָּבִים בִּמְזוּזָה - It is a positive commandment to affix a mezuzah on every doorway. Even if you have several rooms and each room has several entrances that are made for entry and exit, even though you are accustomed to use only one of these doorways, nevertheless, all of the doorways must have a mezuzah.

Additionally, Halachapedia quotes the Maharil (94) who "bemoans the fact that many people think that it is sufficient to have one mezuzah per house when in fact every doorway requires its own mezuzah."

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    This does not provide a source "In the bible and talmud" as the question asked. – Alex Oct 17 '18 at 3:24
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The Torah does not say "uch'savtam al mezuzas beisecha", write them the doorpost of your house, rather it says "uch'savtam al mezuzos beisecha", write them on the doorposts of your house. This hints to us that there should be a mezuzah on every doorpost in one's home, and not just on the front door. Note also that it is not "doorposts of your houses" but "doorposts of your house", indicating this is talking about an individual Jew's home.

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    It says beisecha, not beisicha - it’s in the plural. – DonielF Oct 17 '18 at 20:24
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    @DonielF No. If it was plural it should have been Batecha (like in Shemot 10:6), not Beitecha, The reason the Tav has a Segol has probably to do with the way the cantillation of the word affects it's vowelization. – Tamir Evan Oct 18 '18 at 2:08
  • ... aka pausal form @doniel judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/70824/… – Double AA Oct 19 '18 at 19:41

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