Acquiring and Maintaining Stam

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Stam (Heb. סת"ם) is a contraction for Sefer Torah, Tefillin, and Mezuzah. Generally these are holy works of the written Torah that are handcrafted and handwritten on parchment. There are many practical considerations when acquiring one for a mitzvah that will be disccuseed on this page. Also, upkeeping Stam in a respectful and proper manner befitting their holiness is the topic of this page.


Buying Mezuzot


  1. A person going to buy mezuzot should be ready to spend money and not look to get the cheapest deal.[1]
  2. It is a mitzvah to get more beautiful mezuzot. Some say that it is an obligation to spend up to a third of the minimal amount for a basic kosher mezuzah, while others hold it is a mitzvah but not obligatory. It is proper to be strict if one has the financial means.[2]
  3. Included in the mitzvah to beautify the mitzvah and get a nice mezuzah is to get a mezuzah that is valid according to all the opinions.[3]


  1. Ideally the klaf, parchment, for the mezuzah should be handmade with intent to be used for mezuzah. There is a dispute if machine processed klaf is considered lishma and it is similar to the dispute about machine matza.[4]
  2. The parshiyot of mezuzah must be written on one piece of klaf.[5] It is proper to be written in one column but after the fact if it is written in two or three it is valid.[6]
  3. It should be written ideally on duchsustus, but if it is written on klaf or gvil it is kosher.[7]


  1. The writing must be written on scored straight lines called sirtut (heb. שרטוט; trans. scratched) that are pressed into the klaf.[8]
  2. The parchment although rolled up tightly should be able to be opened. If two parts of the parchment are stuck together so that unsticking it will invalidate a letter, it is invalid.[9]
  3. There are two main schools of how the writing for mezuzot should be written, the Sephardi style and the Ashkenazic style. Everyone should get a mezuzah according to their minhag, though after the fact most poskim hold both are kosher for everyone.[10]
  4. The end of the lines should be justified. If they end at different points it is possible that it is invalid.[11]
  1. There are two minhagim about how to space the first two paragraphs of Shema in a mezuzah. According to the Rambam, there should be a space of 9 letters at the beginning of the line before the paragraph of והיה. According to the Taz, there is a combined space between the end of the line after the paragraph of שמע and the beginning of the line before the paragraph of והיה that is the space of 9 letters. Sephardim and some Ashkenazim follow the Rambam, while other Ashkenazim follow the Taz.[12]

Selling Mezuzot

  1. One may sell a mezuzah in order to use that money to buy tefillin or a Sefer Torah. This concept is known as מעלין בקודש ואין מורידין, a person should always elevate in holiness and not go down.[13] It is a dispute if this applies to personal mezuzot but it is proper to be strict.[14]
  2. If one bought a mezuzah in order to sell it, it is permitted to sell it and use the money for mundane purposes.[15]

Unused Mezuzot

  1. A kosher mezuzah shouldn't be left unused in one's house. It should be sold, rented, or lent out to be used for a mitzvah.[16]


  1. An unfit mezuzah must be placed in geniza to be burial with honor.[17]
  2. The plastic saran wrap around the klaf of the mezuzah also needs geniza since it functions a holy article and is considered a tashmishei kedusha.[18]
  3. The mezuzah case that does not touch the actual klaf if it is just a simple case to house the mezuzah after it is finished being used can be discarded respectfully. If it is a nice case made to beautify the mezuzah the case is considered a tashmishei kedusha and needs geniza. Alternatively, if a case touches the klaf itself it is a tashmishei kedusha and needs geniza.[19]

Checking Mezuzot

See the Mezuzah#Having_One.27s_Mezuzot_Checked page.


Sefer Torah


  1. Agur Bohalecha 5:7
  2. Agur Bohalecha 5:25 based on Shulchan Aruch O.C. 656:1 and Mishna Brurah there.
  3. Agur Bohalecha 5:28
  4. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 288:5 writes that mezuzot needs to be made upon klaf that is made lishma. Agur Bohalecha 6:1 writes that the minhag is to use machine processed klaf but it is proper to be strict to use handmade klaf.
  5. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 288:4
  6. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 288:2
  7. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 288:6
  8. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 288:8 writes that a mezuzah without scoring, sirtut, is invalid.
  9. Agur Bohalecha 6:10
  10. Agur Bohalecha 6:13
  11. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 288:9
  12. Agur Bohalecha 6:12
  13. Agur Bohalecha 5:43 based on Shulchan Aruch O.C. 143:1
  14. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 153:10 cites two opinions about this matter. Agur Bohalecha 5:56 is strict.
  15. Agur Bohalecha 5:48
  16. Agur Bohalecha 4:33 writes that it is disrespectful to a mezuzah that it should be left unused for a mitzvah.
  17. Agur Bohalecha 4:35
  18. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 154:3
  19. Agur Bohalecha 9:26 based on Mishna Brurah 154:14