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The World Wide Mezuzah Campaign. A project of the Baal Shem Tov Foundation - a 501c3 non-profit organization www.baalshemtov.com
 
 
Overview | Parchment | Writing | Dwelling | Affixing | Once Up
 
Laws of the Mezuzah: Parchment
 
1. Material

Stam. There are three Mitzvot which involve writing Torah text on parchment: 1. Sefer Torah; 2. Tefillin; and 3. Mezuzah. Together, they are known by the acronym “Stam”. The laws of preparing parchment apply to all three.

The Mezuzah must be written on parchment coming from the skin of a kosher animal, although the animal does not need to be ritually slaughtered. Typically, the skin of a calf or lamb is used. Often, the hide of the unborn calf found in the mother after slaughtering is used. (Although the skin of a kosher bird may also be used, this is rarely done in practice.) No other substance, such as paper, may be used.

2. The Stages of the Process

Each stage in the preparation must be done with the intent of producing a Mezuzah parchment. It is encouraged to utter a statement expressing this at the outset.

Sometimes, the hide is first salted, in order to preserve it.

1. The hide is soaked in water, in order to clean it.
 
2. The hide is put in a barrel of lime for several days, in order that the hair come off easily. Afterwards, the remaining hairs are removed, and the lime is removed.
 
3. The skin is now stretched taut and set out to dry. It is at this stage that the parchment takes on its distinctive texture.
 
4. Next, certain layers of the skin are scraped away, so that the surface most suitable for writing remains.
 
5. A powder called pumice, and chalk, are carefully applied to the parchment, in order to leave a non-oily, smooth surface.
 
 
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