Question:

My wife and I are both Ashkenazim and recently moved into a new apartment in Jerusalem.  When checking the klaf of our mezuzos we were told that they were beautiful and kosher klafim although they were written in the style and custom of the Sephardic. Should we specifically replace them with Ashkenazi style klafim?  What if money is a factor?

Answer:

The halacha is not discussed regarding a mezuzah. However, regarding a Sefer Torah the Tur1)Yoreh De’ah Siman 274, The Tshuvos HaRosh2)Klal 3 Siman 11, The Nodah Beyehudah3)First Edition Yoreh De’ah Siman 80; and Second Edition Yoreh De’ah Siman 171 and many other great achronim agree that as for the letter of the law an Ashkenazi can read and hear the reading from a Sefer Torah that is written in the style and custom of the Sephardim or Teimanim. There is a dissenting minority opinion within this topic that being the Birkei Yosef4)Sharei Teshuvah Orach Chaim Siman 36. Rav Vozner in Shut Shevet Halevi5)Vol 10 Siman 6 adds that it is still better as a hiddur to try and get a Sefer Torah that is written in the Ashkenazi mesorah.

If the above is true by Sefer Torah then all the more so it should be muttar for an Ashkenazi to use a Sephardic mezuzah based on the majority opinion. One reason why mezuzah should be more lenient than the Sefer Torah is that by a Sefer Torah there are a number of differences in what words and letters are actually written depending on whether the scribe is Ashkenazi or Sephardi. even still we allow one group to use the Sefer Torah of the other. On the other hand there are no differences in the letters of the sections written on the klaf that goes into the mezuzah.

Certainly, in a case where it would be a significant financial outlay and you have a kosher mezuzah (even though in a different style of writing) I would say you can be lenient. I will add that, assuming as you said that the mezuzah you have is actually quite “mehudar” (beautiful) within its own right, it would probably be better to leave it for that reason alone unless you were planning on replacing it with a mezuzah of equal hiddur written in the custom and style of Ashkenaz. Since that would certainly cost quite a bit of money I don’t see how you could be obligated to change.

References   [ + ]

1. Yoreh De’ah Siman 274
2. Klal 3 Siman 11
3. First Edition Yoreh De’ah Siman 80; and Second Edition Yoreh De’ah Siman 171
4. Sharei Teshuvah Orach Chaim Siman 36
5. Vol 10 Siman 6