Why I Make Mezuzahs

I want to explain why I’ve chosen the Mezuzah as my primary canvas of choice for my embroidery artwork, of late. One of the first, is that it is just so recognizably Jewish. Any Jew seeing a mezuzah on a door knows what it is and knows that there is a Jew living in the house. I also love it because it is an amulet! It’s a piece of Jewish Magick that is not only approved, but has Halakic laws that make it kosher. Now, being a more untraditional girl, I don’t worry as much about whether or not you have a truly kosher mezuzah. I think for many people just having one is a huge thing, but I do think it’s important to know the difference. If you buy a scroll that claims to be kosher — it should be kosher.

One of the things I love is the idea of keeping your spiritual life with you at all times. It’s not just something you do in synogogue. Mezuzahs are a literal way of binding the words of God to the doorposts of your house. It’s the line from the S’hma (or the V’Ahavta, if you prefer). I also love the idea of wearing a mezuzah. Just like we are told to bind them to the doorposts of our houses and gates, we’re also told to “And you shall bind them as a sign upon your arm and they shall be an ornament between your eyes.” This commandment is where tefilin comes from, but who (other than the rabbis) said this is how you have to interpret that. Why not where a pretty mezuzah on your coat or bag? Why not wear a lovely mezuzah pendant? How about a bindi in the shape of the letter shin — as the mark between your eyes? There is great spiritual resonance in following tradition, but it’s also found in creating your own interpretations of the traditions.

I realize that Mezuzah literally means doorposts, but it is the general term given to this type of amulet. I suppose I could just call them amulets, but that term doesn’t resonate with most people.

For me the mezuzah and other traditional ritual items are a great canvas. My embroidery work is a way of praying. Yes, sometimes I do sell the results — but I don’t undertake the act with the intent of earning income. The same way a soferet must approach her work as holy work, even if she is paid for the results. Each stitch is an act of love. Each piece is created as an expression of my spiritual core. Instead of singing or dancing — I pray and praise with needle and thread.

I hope this makes sense.

[tags]mezuzah, amulets, embroidery, judaism, jews, tradtions[/tags]