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Are doorways without actual doors obligated in Mezuzah?

 

Question:

I have visited a Sephardi place which has mezuzahs on doorways with real doors, but the other places without actual doors don’t have. Is that a Sephardic thing or is it just that they’re not so religious?

 

Answer:

The entry needs a mezuzah without a Bracha.

 

Explanation:

According to most Rishonim, a doorless entrance requires a Mezuzah. This is the implication of Rashi and Tosfos to Menachos 33a, as well as the explicit positions of Rosh (Mezuzah §8) and Raavad (Mezuzah 6:1).

The Rambam (Mezuzah 6:1) maintains that a doorless entry is completely exempt.

Both of these positions are codified in Shulchan Oruch (YD 286:15), with the stringent position recorded first as the prevailing Halacha, and the Rambam is then cited as a dissenting opinion. The net result is that a Mezuzah is affixed, but without a Brocho (see Shach YD 286:25).

It is well-known that Sephardim rely more heavily on the rulings of the Rambam. Even so, the Beis Yosef (author of the Shulchan Oruch), himself of Sephardi persuasion, did not unilaterally accept the lenient position of the Rambam. Therefore, Sephardi Jews place Mezuzos on doorless entries as well. Nevertheless, it is conceivable that certain Sephardi communities (such as some Yemenite Jewish communities) rely exclusively on the Rambam’s rulings. It would therefore seem appropriate to identify the relevant Sephardic heritage for the home you visited and investigate whether their community has a tradition to rely just on the Rambam in this regard.

 

 

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