Mezuzah – Deuteronomy 6:9 – A Mezuzah For a Car or Mobile Home?

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“And you shall inscribe them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.”—Deuteronomy 6:9

The sages understand this verse to mean that mezuzot are required for all doorposts of structures that are used as dwellings (as well as those that lead to dwellings).1

There is much discussion among halachic authorities about the exact criteria of rooms that require mezuzot (for more on this, see Mezuzah ). However, since a car isn’t made to be a dwelling, all would agree that it is exempt from the mitzvah of mezuzah.2

An RV, in which people do live, is a bit more complicated.

What Is the Purpose of an RV?

Some of these vehicles are made for short excursions, while others may be parked and lived in for extended periods of time.

Rabbi Yitzchak Weiss (1902–1989) writes that if one only uses a motorhome or trailer for a short period of time (no more than 30 days parked in one spot), then no mezuzah is required. If, however, one lives in it as a stationary home for an extended period of time (more than 30 days), a mezuzah would be required.3

Most concur with this ruling.4

At the same time, Rabbi Weiss and others rule that it is doubtful whether one should make a blessing when placing the mezuzah on a motorhome.5 The mezuzot should thus be installed without a blessing.6

The Car Mezuzah

As stated above, cars don’t need mezuzot. However, some choose to place mezuzot in their cars, such as mezuzah pendants that hang from the rearview mirror. Is this problematic?

As we explained in Is It OK to Wear a Mezuzah Necklace?, the Talmud and other texts tell us that a mezuzah affords protection. Indeed, the Mishnah reports that some had the custom to carry a hollowed-out staff containing a mezuzah as a form of protection.7

Nevertheless, actually hanging a mezuzah is problematic. Expounding on the verse “And your life will hang in suspense before you … ,”8 the Talmud explains that this refers to one who hangs up his tefillin on a peg, which is seen as disrespectful.9

Thus, many point out that hanging a mezuzah from somewhere like the rearview mirror may be considered disrespectful to the mezuzah.10 However, many are of the opinion that one may place it in the glove compartment or another respectful place, keeping in mind that this in no way is a fulfillment of the actual mitzvah.11

Of course, the greatest protection is making sure that you have kosher mezuzot installed properly in all doorways of your home or office that require them. As the rabbis explain, “Whoever is careful in it [mezuzah], his house is protected and his days and the days of his children will be lengthened.”12

By Yehuda Shurpin