What is that Jewish Hand bracelet that everyone wears as a necklace?
And some even choose to have it as art in their homes?
That is a Hamsa and we are going to explain to you the story behind it all...
What is a Jewish Hamsa?
As shown in the picture, a Jewish Hamsa is a photo or drawing of a hand.
Hamsa in Hebrew is Hamesh which is 5, corresponding to the 5 fingers.
Jews buy Hamsa jewelry and art for luck and protection.
Another reason is because a Hamsa is a Jewish Symbol so Jews will buy it as they want to connect to their Judaism.
Jewish Hamsa Meaning
A Jewish Hamsa has many different meanings.
One Meaning is: The Hand of G-d
Another meaning is The Hand represents blessing. Just like Jacob blesses his children with his hands. Women use their hands to cover their eyes when lighting Shabbat Candles. And all Jews cover their eyes with their hands during The Shema.
The Jewish Hamsa started very far back in Middle Eastern Pagan Societies.
According to academic articles, The Hamsa represented The Hand of Ishtar.
Jewish Hamsa Blessing vs. The Evil Eye
Some Hamsa's will have an eye on them or a blessing in the centre.
The idea is to ward off the evil eye and this spread into other religions who adopted the Hamsa such as Christians who called it 'The Hand of Mary' and Muslims who called it 'The Hand of Fatima'
THe Jewish Hamsa became very popular with Sephardic Jews which were in Middle Eastarn areas.
Jewish Hamsa Meaning
The Talmud says that you are not allowed to carry something that is not a vessel on Shabbat.
The Jewish Hamsa does not fall into that category because it has a magical purpose where it helps ward off bad spirits.
Jewish Hamsa Origin
The main Rabbi who made Jewish Hamsa's popular was the The Ben Ish Hai (Yosef Hayyim).
Today, the Jewish Hamsa is not used for magical purposes and rather as a way to connect to G-d
There you have it!
The Jewish Hamsa, a powerful beautiful symbol for luck and protection.
Till next time.
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