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1640s, from Hebrew, literally "doorpost."
small folded or rolled parchment inscribed by a qualified calligraphist with scriptural verses (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21) to remind Jews of their obligations toward God. The parchment is placed in a metal, wooden, or glass case so that the word Shaddai ("Almighty") can usually be seen on the back of the parchment. After a special blessing is recited, the mezuzah is firmly fixed to the main doorpost of the home (to the right as one enters). It is a custom with some Jews to kiss the mezuzah as they pass it. The wearing of a mezuzah on a chain around the neck is a practice of relatively recent origin