Between the Lines: Pentecost 23: November 4, 2012

Text: Deuteronomy. 6:1-9

Mezuzah

Mezuzah
(Photo credit:
Jonathan Caves)

Bind [these words] as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Orthodox Jewish tradition takes this admonition seriously; the words of the Shema are written on parchment and placed in the tefillin,the leather boxes that are tied onto one’s forehead and left arm before prayer. A piece of parchment inscribed with the Shema, the mezuzah, is placed inside a small container attached to the doorframe of a house (and sometimes of rooms inside). As a person passes through the doorway, they might touch or kiss the mezuzah.

Have you ever tied a string around your finger or done some other unusual thing to help you remember something you felt was important? That’s what tefillin and mezuzah are about.

During this week, try creating your own reminder. Write down a verse, or poem, or passage you find meaningful, and place it somewhere you will see it and remember what it is. Carry it with you; wear it around your neck; attach it to the bathroom mirror, put it on the dashboard of your car. What changes for you in remembering?

– Andy Kille


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see About BibleWorkbench.

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