Mezuzahs on bomb shelters

By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, July 24, 2014

Millions of Israelis are spending much of their time in bomb shelters these days. Do these rooms in basements and underground require a mezuzah?

We are commanded to inscribe the words of the Torah "on the doorposts of your house and on your gates". From here, the sages learn that a mezuzah is only for a space that is fit for dwelling. Our shelter has an old TV and a loo, but otherwise it's bare concrete and you wouldn't want to spend a lot of time there.

Storerooms fall into a grey area. We do not live in them and yet pop in and out of them frequently. So the rabbis rule that you should affix a mezuzah on the doorway of a storeroom but without making the blessing for the mitzvah of mezuzah. Rabbi Ovadia Yossef ruled since that a bomb shelter is only ever used in case of an enemy attack (hopefully not a frequent occurrence), and remains empty the rest of the time, it does not require a mezuzah.

Last updated: 1:00pm, July 24 2014