JERUSALEM (AP) _ The religious items were hot, but the reading material was was even hotter.

Two men who allegedly posed as rabbis to peddle stolen mezuzahs were uncovered Sunday when police found the traditional Jewish doorpost blessings in their car packed together with pornography.

A mezuzah is a blessing from the biblical book of Deuteronomy inscribed onto a scroll, rolled inside a decorative case and attached to a door frame.

''There were dozens of mezuzahs on one side of the briefcase and hardcore porn magazines on the other,'' said Superintendent Yehuda Cohen, police chief in the northern town of Safed. He said most of the mezuzahs had been stolen.

Police tracked the two down after several Safed residents complained they had been deceived by two men who had ''checked'' their mezuzahs, Cohen said.

The ''rabbis'' would tell victims that the mezuzahs were not kosher, Cohen said, and would offer to replace them with kosher blessings at a price.

The men, aged 29 and 19, were detained for five days. Both have denied wrongdoing.