There is an open-ended question every time one affixes a mezuzah to a door – should it face in or out? Technically, a mezuzah is affixed on the right doorpost, approximately, at the bottom of the top third of the doorpost, with its top leaning toward the inside of the room. However it all depends on your orientation which way you see it, are you going into the room or away from it? In which direction do you need the mezuzah more? This week’s Torah portion Ki Tetzei refers to going out from our environment, it refers to the most treacherous of all human activities going off to war. The Torah instructs us that there rules of behavior, how we treat a captive, how we treat one another. The message being that there is no place on earth out of bounds from Torah law.
And, while we need blessing both in our homes and when we leave them, we should never think that who we are as a human being should change in either circumstance. There is a reason that the Shema, the essential Jewish prayer, tells us not only to inscribe the words on doorways to our house and on our gates, but also to say the words when you lie down and when you rise up, as a sign upon your hand, and as a visible sign before your eyes. As such, it matters little which direction the mezuzah is actually facing, only that our obligations to one another and to God travel with us wherever we go.
Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein serves as the Rabbi of Congregation Shir Shalom.