[Avodah] Q. When does the obligation to put mezuzahs on the home begin?

Prof. L. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Thu Jan 9 11:45:06 PST 2020

>From today's OU kosher Halacha Yomis

Q. When does the obligation to put mezuzahs on the home begin?

A. If a person owns their home, they are obligated to put mezuzos on the door as soon as they occupy the home (see Gilyon Maharsha YD 286:22).

At what point is one considered an occupant? If one moves furniture and other belongings into a home, but has not actually started living in the house, there is a dispute between the poskim whether a mezuzah is required. The Chovas Hadar (13, footnote 10) assumes there is an obligation, while Rabbi Aharon Felder, in Oholei Yeshurun (page 6, fn 69) quotes other poskim who say the mitzvah begins only when one resides in the home.

Shulchan Aruch (YD 236:22) rules that if one rents a house or apartment in the Diaspora, the requirement to put up mezuzos begins after 30 days have elapsed – on the 31st day (the day of the move counts as day one, even if it is only a partial day.) The Derech Chaim disagrees and maintains that if the lease is for more than 30 days, the obligation to post mezuzos begins immediately. Though most poskim agree with the Shulchan Aruch that there is no obligation to post a mezuzah within 30 days under all circumstances, nonetheless the Magen Avrohom suggests that it is permissible to put a mezuzah on the wall during the first thirty days and recite a bracha. By doing so, the opinion of the Derech Chaim will be covered. The Nachalas Tzvi (286:22) objects to the suggestion of the Magen Avrohom and maintains that the bracha cannot be recited before the mitzvah is obligatory. Rav Moshe Feinstein (YD 1:179) offers a solution that covers all bases. He recommends putting up the mezuzos (to satisfy the opinion of the Derech Chaim) without a bracha (in deference to the Nachalas Tzvi). After 30 days the mezuzos should be removed, or at least slightly pushed, and then a bracha is required.

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