Halacha for Wednesday 14 Tammuz 5779 July 17 2019

The Proper Time to Affix One’s Mezuzot

Question: We are moving into a brand new house which we just purchased in approximately one month and we have already affixed the Mezuzot. Was it correct to do so?

Answer: The obligation of the Mitzvah of Mezuzah rests upon one who resides in the house. However, if one has a completely empty house which he does not reside in, one need not affix a Mezuzah to it. Our Sages (Baba Metzia 101b and Rashi’s commentary on Pesachim 4a) derive this from that which is states in the verse, “The doorposts of your home”-only a doorpost which you go in and out of. The Rambam (end of Chapter 5 of Hilchot Tefillin) rules likewise.

Maran Ha’Chida therefore writes in his Sefer Birkei Yosef (Orach Chaim, Chapter 19) that if one is about to move into a new home, whether it is rented or purchased, one should not affix the Mezuzot before one begins residing in the home, for one is not yet obligated to do so. When one comes to live in the house, one should immediately recite the blessing of “Likbo’a Mezuzah” and affix the Mezuzah.

Based on the words of Maran Ha’Chida, the Mishnah Berura (Chapter 19, Subsection 4) writes that one should only recite the blessing on affixing the Mezuzah immediately before beginning to live in the house, just as one recites a blessing on a Tallit only immediately before wrapping one’s self in it.

On the other hand, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l (in his Halichot Olam, Volume 8, page 218) disagrees with the Mishnah Berura and writes that one need not affix the Mezuzah specifically before beginning to live in the house; rather, one may affix the Mezuzah when one is preparing the house to begin living in it, such as by bringing some furniture, bedding, and other appliances into the house, for one becomes obligated in the Mitzvah of Mezuzah from then just as one who has ten houses must affix Mezuzot on each of them although he only enters the house once a year and does not live there steadily. He quotes most of the great Acharonim as ruling likewise.

Summary: When one is about to move into a new residence, one must affix a Mezuzah. The Mezuzah should be affixed when one begins bringing in some household items, such as furniture, into the house. Nevertheless, one should not affix a Mezuzah when the home is completely empty and one only plans on living there at a later time.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat Which Coincides with Tisha Be’av and the Laws of an Ill Individual Who Must Eat on Tisha Be’av

On years during which Tisha Be’av falls out on Motza’ei Shabbat, such as this year, 5779, there are three opinions among the Rishonim regarding how Havdala should be recited on a cup of wine on Motza’ei Shabbat. The first opinion is that of the Geonim who write that one should r......

Read Halacha

Laws Pertaining to Tisha Be’av

There are five categories of abstinence which must be observed on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s body with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages also prohibited learning Torah on Tisha Be’av, for the word......

Read Halacha

Eating Meat Following Rosh Chodesh Av

The Mishnah in Masechet Ta’anit (26b) tells us that on Erev Tisha Be’av during the last meal one eats before the fast, one may not eat meat, drink wine, or eat two cooked foods, such as rice and an egg. Although the letter of the law dictates that the prohibition to eat meat only applies......

Read Halacha

Those Who are Obligated and Exempt from the Fast of Tisha Be’av and their Status When Tisha Be’av Falls Out on Motza’ei Shabbat

Someone Ill with a Non-Life-Threatening Illness, An Elderly Person, and a Woman who has Recently Given Birth One who is ill (meaning when one is actually bedridden and the like, even if the illness is not life-threatening) is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. When in doubt about one’s......

Read Halacha


Insulation on Shabbat

Question: Is it permissible to cover a pot of food on an electric hotplate with a towel on Shabbat? Answer: Long ago, it was customary to cover a pot of food with (or immerse it in) dirt or sand in order to retain the food’s heat. Heat Increasers vs. Heat Retainers Some would immerse th......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Beginning of the Fast when Tisha Be’av Falls Coincides With Motza’ei Shabbat

The Baraita in Masechet Ta’anit (30a) states that our Sages prohibited five things on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s self with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages said (Ta’anit 30b): “One......

Read Halacha

Returning a Food to the Fire on Shabbat

“Leaving,” Insulating, and Returning” In the previous Halachot we have discussed when it is permissible to place a pot of food on a stovetop or electric hotplate before the onset of Shabbat. These laws are nicknamed the laws of “leaving,” i.e. leaving the food on the f......

Read Halacha

Motza’ei Tisha Be’av and the Tenth of Av this Year (5779)

This year (5779), Tisha Be’av falls out on Shabbat. Thus, the fast is postponed until today, Sunday, the Tenth of Av. On other years when the fast is observed on the Ninth of Av, there are likewise some mourning customs observed on the Tenth of Av as well. We must therefore discuss the law ......

Read Halacha