Decorative Archways

Decorative Archways

Question:

We enter our front garden through a beautiful archway in the form of a half-circle, cut into the perimeter fence. As we walk down the path to our home, we pass under two other identical archways which are free-standing. Do all of any of them need mezuzot?

Answer:

Your front archway is part of the perimeter fence, and consequently it deserves a mezuzah, without a berachah.

But the archways over the garden path are not within a structure and are therefore exempt according to many authorities.[1]  Other authorities recommend that even free-standing arches deserve a mezuzah, also without a berachah.[2]

However, your garden path archways are exempt for another reason: They are purely decorative. As such, even if they would be in the rectangular form of a normal doorway, and even if they would be indoors, they would not need a mezuzah. An example of this would be a long hallway that an architect has designed with repeated doorways for purely aesthetic rather than utilitarian purposes.[A] Another example would be a decorative archway, inside a room, that serves no real function[3][B]

On the same topic, if the a room is enterable by multiple archways that stand side by side,[C] they are considered one collective entrance, and only one mezuzah would be necessary, which would be placed on the far right side.[4]

[1] Kuntres HaMezuzah  287:16; Pitchei Shearim 287:52. Shevet HaLevi 2:157.

[2] Agur B’ohalecha 22:15:30, citing Chazon Ish Y.D. 170:2.

[3] Shulchan Aruch 286:21; Chovas HaDar 2:19; Shevet HaLevi 5:160; Agur B’ohalecha 23:24.

[4] Shulchan Aruch ibid.

Sketches

Sketches
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