| Wood mezuzah featuring the Ten Commandments. 4" high |
The commandment to place the mezuzah on the doorposts of our houses is derived from Deut. 6:4-9, a passage commonly known as the Shema (Heb: Hear, from "Hear oh Israel"). In that passage, God commands us to keep His words constantly in our minds and in our hearts by (among other things) writing them on the doorposts of our house. The words of the Shema are written on a tiny scroll of parchment, along with the words of a companion passage, Deut. 11:13-21. On the back of the scroll, a name of God is written. The scroll is then rolled up and placed in the case, so that the first letter of the Name (the letter Shin) is visible (or, more commonly, the letter Shin is written on the outside of the case).