The Hand of Protection

I remember that when my sister was in 6th grade her class made this beautiful piece of art. It was a funny shaped hand that was cut out of wrinkled tinfoil and then backed on a piece of solid black construction paper. In the center of the “hand” it said “Chai” (life) in Hebrew letters. Looking back it was nothing special, but as a six year old I felt as though it had a special meaning that only the “big kids” could understand. Continue reading

Will Evil Eye Jewelry Protect Me?

What is the Evil Eye?

There is a prevalent belief in a number of cultures that a malicious gaze can bring evil upon the target of the gaze. It is widely understood that some human beings possess powers that allow them to send what may be termed as destructive rays that can harm those they are envious of or simply dislike. An interesting question is how Judaism relates to such ideas. Continue reading

Hamsa Necklace: for Style and Protection

When purchasing lucky charm jewelry, it is important that you know the meaning attached to the specific sign because of the significance and the positive impact on the well-being of the wearer, a matter which not have been otherwise.

Owning and wearing a Hamsa necklace is a common and trendy wear among men and women. This type of necklace is exquisitely designed and is available in any of these metals: opal, gold and silver.  However, there is more to it than its beauty; it is popular among different cultures and its meaning is also significant.

What is the Hamsa hand?
Hamsa is a lucky charm which is shaped like the palm or the hand and is common in Jewish jewelry and accessories.  The Hamsa is represented by an open hand with a curved thumb on either side of the three extended fingers in the middle. It is used to denote blessings, fortification, strength and power, including protection against the evil eye.

In many communities across the world people believe the stare of the evil eye can result in bad luck or injury on whoever it is focused in such cases where persons are exhibiting signs of jealousy or any other dislikes, even though these negative emotions may not be intentional.

The Hamsa hand is also known as the Hand of Fatima, the Hand of Miriam and the Hand of Mary and has been popular throughout history and within different cultures. “Hamsa” is Arabic, which means “five” as is indicated by the five fingers of the hand. Many researchers are of the view that the Hamsa pre-existed Islam and Judaism, although there is no certainty of its true origin.

Throughout the years Jewish jewelry has been affected by local style and fashion, but it has been able to maintain its unique features. A hamsa necklace is the ideal gift for individuals who loves style as well as an confident outlook. You can find the right piece to match your tastes because it is available in any of the following style: casual, elegant and sophisticated.

When worn as a pendant, the Hamsa motif uniquely represents mysticism and the world of fashion. Hamsa necklaces are in demand worldwide because it is believed that they can be used to unify people of similar faith and offer protection to the wearer.

Hamsa

What is a Hamsa?
Hamsa is a hand-shaped charm. It commonly has three extended fingers in the middle and two shorter fingers on either side. It is well-recognized in the Middle East and North Africa. It is a shape often incorporated into jewelry and wall-hangings. It is believed to ward off the evil eye.

What is the source of the name Hamsa?
Hamsa is the Arabic word for five, in reference to the five fingers. The word Hamsa is closely related to the Hebrew word for five, Hamesh. Some Jewish people believe that the five represents the five books of the Pentateuch.

Alternative names for Hamsa are the hand of Fatima, in reference to Fatima the daughter of the prophet Mohammed and the hand of Miriam, referring to the sister of Moses.

Why is the Hamsa also called the hand of Fatima?
The story is told that Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed was stirring a pot when her husband entered with a new wife (Muslim men are allowed to marry up to four women). Fatima was overcome with sorrow and as a result did not notice that the ladle she had been using to stir the soup had slipped from her hand and she was using her own hand. Due to her intense grief she didn’t notice the pain. Ever since then Fatima’s hand has become a symbol for patience and faith.

What is the origin of the Hamsa?
Hands are a universal symbol of protection. Evidence of such can be seen in Mesopotamian artifacts, in teachings of Buddha and Christianity. Some claim that the Hamsa is connected to an ancient Egyptian two-fingered amulet that represented the protection of parents over a child.

The Hamsa is very strong in the Islamic world, believed to ward of the evil eye. It seemed to have made its way into Jewish culture via the Jewish communities who lived in Islamic countries.

Why is the Hamsa a popular item?
Due to the belief that it wards off the evil eye, the Hamsa made it into main-stream Israeli culture. Hamsa shapes are often hung from walls and worn on necklaces or bracelets. Judaism has its own signs of protection which are much more solidly based in valid Jewish sources such as the Mezuzah so the adoption of the Hamsa is somewhat strange. Having said that, the beautiful shape of the charm and the common incorporation of fish, a Jewish sign for good luck, in Hamsa-shaped pendants have made these items increasingly popular.

The Hamsa in Jewish Religion

What is the Hamsa?
Hamsa is Arabic for five. Other names for Hamsa are the “hand of Fatima” or “hand of Miriam”. It is a charm that enjoys much popularity in the East and Africa. It can often be found adorning jewelry or walls of houses as it is believed that it defends those who wear it or own it from the evil eye.

What is the evil eye?
The evil eye is a concept that is found in many different cultures and refers to a look that has the power to cause misfortune to the person it is directed at. Often, it is believed that if people look at someone enviously this can cause bad luck for that someone. Also, if someone looks upon someone with dislike or hate this too can cause a bad eye for the person being disliked/hated.

What is the source of the Hamsa?
There is archaeological evidence that proves that the Hamsa predates the monotheistic religions. It can be found universally as a sign of protection in many different cultures and religions. There are different theories that relate the Hamsa to ancient deities.

How Did the Hamsa makes it’s way into the Jewish religion?
The Hamsa is a symbol that is widely known in Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewish communities. The reason these communities adopted the Hamsa is believed to be related to the fact that they lived in the Islamic world and were influenced by their neighbors in the same way that Christians living in such countries were too.

What different forms of Hamsa exist?
There are countless designs of Hamsa on the market today, ranging from the traditional to the more modern designs in which the original hand shape can barely be identified. There are also many, many Hamsas that contain eye symbols and this is surely related to the idea of warning off the evil eye.

How has the use of the Hamsa changed in the history of the State of Israel?
When the State of Israel was established the use of the Hamsa was looked down upon as it was associated with “backwardness” by the dominant Western Ashkenazic stream. In recent years there has been a renewed awakening of interest in roots for Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews, leading to a pride in folklore and customs associated with them. Therefore, the Hamsa has once again become fashionable and is a symbol that has been adopted by all kinds of people in Israeli society. It can be seen often on jewelry, in homes, on greeting cards, on tiles etc.