Question: Can a non-Jew put a Mezuzah on their house?
I am not Jewish but have long been an admirer and supporter of Judaism and my Jewish friends. I especially like the symbolism of the mezuzah and would like to affix one to my house as a reminder to myself, my wife, and my children that all our actions, at home and away, need to be guided by the Creator's commandments. But I don't want to use a mezuzah if doing so might be disrespectful or offensive to Jews. What do you think?
Answer: You say that you are a non-Jewish "admirer and supporter" of Judaism and you would like to know if it would be appropriate for you to put up a mezuzah on your house as a reminder of God's commandments.
I can't give you a definitive answer to this question. In traditional Jewish thought, the observance of laws -- like putting a mezuzah on a home -- is a matter of obligation, not fancy. As a non-Jew, you are not obligated. Even if you were most sincere in putting up the mezuzah to glorify God, it would be an action of very different character from that of a Jew who observed the mitzvah.
In general, I don't think its a good idea to imitate the observances of religions that are not ones own. For example, many Americans seem to admire some of the religious practices of Native Americans, like putting "dream catchers" up in their homes. But, I wonder: How do today's Native Americans feel about Americans of European descent copying this practices without really understanding the culture, history and belief behind it? Do they view it as something that makes light of their culture? It's something that I think you have to decide for yourself.
You should also be aware that the presence of a mezuzah on a house is generally considered by Jews to be a declaration that a house is the home of a Jewish family. That's a declaration that many Jews take quite seriously. To some Jews, a mezuzah on your house may be taken as a "false declaration." I would suggest that you ask your Jewish friends what they think.
Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser