Hamsa

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You've likely the symbol of an eye in an open palm before. Most likely, you would have seen it in a Judaica store or on a piece of jewelry. This symbol is known as the hamsa, and below is a brief introduction to it.

Hamsa Origins

Hamsa is derived from the Hebrew word "hamesh," which translates to "five." Of course, a palm has five fingers, and so the term "hamsa" is used here to refer to the five fingers that make up the symbol. However, the hamsa symbol is also believed to have originated as a reference to the five books of the Torah, which are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Note that there are some who refer to the hamsa symbol as the hand of Miriam. This is a reference to the sister of Moses.

What Does the Hamsa Symbol Mean?

There are different groups of people around the world who have all given different meanings to the hamsa symbol. However, there is some common ground that can be used to establish a more definitive sense of the symbol.

The overarching premise is that it is a symbol of happiness, health, and good fortune. On the flip side, it is meant to be a symbol of fighting against evil and any negative feelings.

The meaning can be alternated based on the way that the hand is facing. If it faces upwards, then it is said to be a symbol that is against negative feelings, such as greed, envy, and hatred. If the emblem faces downwards, on the other hand, it is said to have more positive meanings such as goodness and abundance.

Jewish Beliefs about Hamsas

It is an accepted practice for Jews and Arabs of the Middle East to raise their five fingers against an evil eye and for good luck. Even so, there are many Jews who are not too keen on owning any item that reflects the hamsa symbol. This is because it is branded by some as a superstitious practice.

Such practices are believed to be outside of the scope of Jewish origin. Additionally, there are some who believe that by owning such items, the potential for idolatry creeps in.

Be that as it may, many Jews who do own and support hamsas cling to the positive meanings and the repelling of negative feelings.

The Hamsa Today

Today, the hamsa symbol appears on many charms on trinkets. There are necklaces, key rings, etc., that all feature the emblem. It is a trendy item among many of Jewish faith. Depending on the origin of the article, the hamsa may appear in one of two forms.

One style is designed with fingers of similar lengths at both ends. The second style clearly defines the pinky finger and the thumb. Both forms are widely used, and there may be symbols, such as the eye at the center.

Regardless of what the aesthetic may be, the belief in the use of the symbol remains the same. It has transcended being a piece of jewelry, and it has become a reference to both peace and hope in modern times.

Hamsa Jewelry

Apart from key chains, paintings, and other household elements, the hamsa symbol is a prevalent one where jewelry is concerned. There are earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc., that are widely available and contain the symbol in some form.

Though it is a symbol of protection, the hamsa also makes for some trendy pieces. For example, this Hamsa gold pendant, and this Hamsa silver pendant, are well-designed pieces that incorporate it. Both articles make use of the symmetrical finger design, and they bear a Star of David that encases the most profound part of the Shema.