Palm Frond Mezuzah

December 2010
Sterling silver

Commissioned by a couple for their new house, this mezuzah case has more to say than just what is written on the parchment inside it. The husband and wife had met, married and started a family later in life than either of them had expected, and wanted something to express their joy at the blessings they now have. The couple had chosen verses from Psalm 92 that they felt summed up their situation and that they wanted to incorporate into the piece: צדיק כתמר יפרח; כארז בלבנן ישגה. שתולים בבית יחוח בחצרות אלהינו יפריחו, עוד ינובון בשיבה דשנים ורעננים יהיו, "The righteous bloom like a date-palm; they thrive like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, in the courtyards of our God they will flourish. They will still be fruitful in old age; vigorous and fresh they will be" (Psalm 92:13-15).

In reference to verse 13, the front of the piece has a repoussage of two palm fronds hammered into it, which represent the couple. The spines of the palm fronds divide the front face into three sections, which represent their now complete family--the two of them plus their son. Additionally, those three sections together look like an abstract representation of the letter shin (ש), which is frequently seen on the front of mezuzah cases.

Because the latter two verses apply more directly to their new family, the actual text of verses 14 and 15 appear on the right and left sides of mezuzah case respectively.

The couple and I put the mezuzah scroll into the case together and secured the plug at the bottom end so that they could see all parts of the object before affixing it to their door. The texture of the relief work makes the case a pleasure to touch when walking through the door on which it is posted.