The word "Mezuzah" was originally used as a reference to the doorpost.
The earliest Mezuzah was a parchment scroll containing a short quotation from the Old Testament, (Deut 6:4-9) popularly referred to as the "Shema" by virtue of the opening words, "Shema Yisrael". Painstakingly written by a scribe, originally the text was simply placed in a cavity chiseled into the door frame. Today, the name Mezuzah most often refers to the scroll now placed within a case of some kind that is attached to the doorframe at the entrance to a Jewish home.
Though most scholars cite the Shemah’s commandment, or "Mitzvah" “write…words of Torah upon the doorposts of your home” as the basis for its existence, the Mezuzah has acquired a symbolism as varied as the Jewish People itself. For some, the words of the Shema embody the sanctity of everyday life. Many see the Mezuzah as a simple reminder of the Jew’s daily encounter and personal relationship with the Divine, as they kiss the Mezuzah while passing through a doorway. Others regard it as a simple talisman, amulet or good luck charm.
The Mezuzah case too has undergone a metamorphosis. Archeological evidence shows that as early as the 5th century BCE the written inscription developed into a distinct object which fit into a cavity carved into the doorframe. The separate case that appeared in the 2nd or 3rd century CE was typically a simple unadorned cylinder. Around the18th century the ornamental Mezuzah case became the norm, especially in Eastern Europe.
Most Jews will display the Mezuzah clearly for all to see, but typically, neither the practicing or nor the secular Jew is satisfied any longer with merely the written scroll, of which the enormous popularity of the decorative Mezuzah case as an art form is proof. Some, desiring to bring their fulfillment of this, or other commandments to a higher level, by beautifying the Mitzvah, otherwise referred to as "Hidur Mitzvah", will even go to the extent of spending additional money for the most beautiful Mezuzah available.
Our hand made Mezuzahs, carved in Jerusalem Stone, glass and other materials, have been made with a view to enable you to fulfill the custom of "Hidur Mitzvah" without requiring you to go to great expense.
The following is the text of the Shema in Hebrew as well as the English translation and the phonetic pronunciation
Sh''ma Yisrael Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad.
Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.
Barukh Shem k''vod malkhuto l''olam va-edBlessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever
V-ahavta et Adonai Elohecha b-chol l''vavcha u-v-chol naf''sh''cha u-v-chol m''odecha.And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
V-hayu ha-d''varim ha-ayleh asher anochi m''tzav'cha ha-yom al l''vavecha.And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart.
V-shinantam l-vanecha, v-dibarta bam b-shivt''cha b-vaytecha, u-v-lecht''cha ba-derech, u-v-shachb''cha u-v-kumecha.And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.
U-k''shartam l''ot al yadecha, v-hayu l-totafot bayn aynecha.And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.
U-chtavtam al m''zuzot baytecha u-vi-sharecha.And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
V-haya im shamoa tish''mu el mitzvotai asher anochi m''tzaveh etchem ha-yom, l-ahavah et Adonai Elohaychem,u-l-avdo b-chol l''vavchem u-v-chol nafsh''chem.And it shall come to pass if you surely listen to the commandments that I command you today,to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul,
V-natati m''tar artzchem b-ito, yoreh u-malkosh; v-asafta d''ganecha, v-tirosh''cha v-yitzharecha. That I will give rain to your land, the early and the late rains, that you may gather in your grain, your wine and your oil.
V-natati aysev b-sad''cha li-b''hem''techa; v-achalta v-savata.
And I will give grass in your fields for your cattle and you will eat and you will be satisfied.
Hishamru lachem, pen yifteh l''vavchem, v-sartem va-avadtem elohim achayrim, v-hishtachavitem lahem. Beware, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn and serve other gods, and worship them.
V-charah af Adonai bachem, v-atzar et ha-shamayim v-lo yihyeh matar, v-ha-adama lo titaynet y''vulah; a-avadtem m''hayrah mayal ha-aretz ha-tovah asher Adonai notayn lachem. And anger of the Lord will blaze against you, and he will close the heavens and there will not be rain, and the earth will not give you its fullness,
and you will perish quickly from the good land that the Lord gives you.
V-sam'tem et d''varai ayleh al l''vavchem v-al naf''sh'chem; u-kshartem otam l-ot al yedchem, v-hayu ltotafot bayn aynaychem. So you shall put these, my words, on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind themfor signs on your hands, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.
V-limadtem otam et b''naychem l-daber bam b-shivt''cha b-vaytecha, u-v-lecht''cha baderech, u-v-shachb''cha u-v-kumecha. And you shall teach them to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk on the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.
U-ch''tavtam al m''zuzot baytecha u-vi-sharecha. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
L'ma''an yirbu y''maychem vi-y''may v''naychem al ha-adamah asher nishba Adonai
la-avotaychem latayt lahem ki-y''may ha-shamayim al ha-aretz. In order to prolong your days and the days of your children on the land that the Lord promised your fathers that he would give them, as long as the days that the heavens are over the earth.