What does a Chamsa symbolize in Orthodox judiasm? ✋

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    Shopping613 🌠

    This has been on my mind after bumping into multiple seminary girls wearing the familiar chamsa blue necklaces. They say it’s cool, and it’s supposed to symbolize peace or love or something cute and sappy like that. They ask me why I don’t have any chamsa jewelry…and honestly, I just don’t because I’m not sure what a chamsa actually represents and I’m not into wearing symbols and ideas that I don’t understand.

    SO, can anyone tell me if it has any significance in orthodox Jewish history? Or any information or sources about such a symbol?


    This is the first I’ve heard of this and the way you’re describing it sounds like it is borderline Avoda Zora.


    I’ve heard that it has roots in avodah zara.

    I just read the Wikipedia article. The origins aren’t totally clear, but it seems very likely that it does in fact have origins in avodah zara. I certainly wouldn’t want to take a chance with it just to be “cute and sappy”.

    Shopping613 🌠

    It’s really funny, you guys must come to Israel. Many mainstream BY girls were them without having any idea what it means….it’s like a style thing, one of those things you buy in Israel. A chamsa necklace (usually blue), a IDF sweater, and a Hodaya necklace. Any seminary girl has at least of these 3 things.

    It’s a symbol, much like the star of David…many people consider it to be from the Zohar or something but no one can provide me with a source.


    I’m pretty sure it’s not avodah Zara especially since these things are sold at some of the holiest sites in Israel. Probably Rabbonim and ones in charge of maintaining the sites wouldn’t allow it since they do have control over these things and what is sold there. Besides, before speaking about something you know nothing about do some research and check aish or other sites to see what they have to say about it.


    I’ve seen different places that says it’s origins are from Islam hand of Fatima. But also may have other origins. Also supposed to protect from the evil eye and you’ll see some times there is an eye in the palm of the hand.


    Shopping: Mainstream seminary girls don’t have IDF sweaters.

    not sure why this post went through


    @joseph-Islam came after Judaism so they can call whatever they copied from us however they want.
    So IDF is a symbol of avoda zara now is it? Id like to see you in a situation being threatened by an arab with an israeli soldier standing by. I wonder who you would call for help or if you would refrain from anyone condoning “avoda zara”.
    IDF is a nationalistic symbol and obviously Hashem wanted Israel to exist since HE himself battled and won Israels wars.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    “@joseph-Islam came after Judaism so they can call whatever they copied from us however they want.”

    I don’t think there’s any evidence that they existed as a “Jewish” thing before Islam though, so, in this case, it might be something we stole. It’s especially suspicious that they only seem to be a thing in middle eastern areas.


    Neville- check the Aish article regarding Moshe Rabbeinu. Also check other reliable Jewish sources. They are pretty easy to find on this topic.
    It could be a thing in middle eastern areas since thats where it originated? Thats where bnei Yisroel came from? And if taken from Jews by Islam then it all makes sense since they were living in the same areas?
    Besides its likely a Kabbalistic thing.


    I know that the hamsa looks like a hand with two thumbs, but I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be a lily.


    The source brought above, from the Ben Ish Chai, Parshat Pinchas Shanah Beit 13, states (among other tikkunim to protect one from ayin har-ah): “and the sage the Chida”h z”l writes: [a] custom of the World [is] to say ‘Chamsah,’ therefore [we] hang [a] wood [thing/pendant] drawn in it the form of a hand, that has in it five fingers and carved on it letter hei.

    That’s what I have here, but the girsah (version) he posted above replaces the word ‘eitz’ (wood [thing] ,here probably pendant) with ayin (eye).

    Shopping613 🌠

    1. Joseph I hear your point, and generally you are right- but in this case, you aren’t. Leave it to the girls to know what girls wear, ok? I have seen many many BY girls who have such sweaters, of course a PROPER BY girl would only wear such a sweater in a camp setting or as pajamas, never never publicly outside. Many of them are from the USA and are like me before I moved here. I wasn’t particularly for the army nor against it, I didn’t really know anything about it at all, but sweaters were cool and in. Fashion doesn’t really care about your values or hashkafa. If you ask girls who have them for pajamas they will say they don’t know if they should support or be against the army…but it’s just an “in” thing and a “cool” thing to have a sweater.

    Although I will admit that fashion has gone out a bit…I see much less of them in recent years.
    I’ve been to a few mainstream BY camps though….filled with IDF sweaters. But again, I haven’t been to any in the past 3 years, so fashion might of changed.

    In any case, about the Chamsa’s I still don’t understand DaasYochid’s post. Anyone want to try to explain?


    My sister was a “mainstream seminary girl,” and she still has her IDF sweater.

    Avi K

    Both the Chatam Sofer and Rav Ovadia say that the evil eye only works id\f someone thinks it does as with pairs (Pesachim 110a). Moroever, statistically we are all somehow descended from Yosef.


    From what I understand it’s a general symbol in the middle east mean to ward off ayin hara. That’s why there is often the shape of an eyeball in the middle of it. My Moroccan mother in law often says “chamsa chamsa” as an alternative to “bli ayin hara” or “pu pu pu”

    Reb Eliezer

    The Yabia Omer says that there is a segula against ayin hora, red cabbage which is found in the mishneh in sheviis beginning of the 9th Perek, הפיגם as translated by the Tiferes Yisrael, being a dangerous word in reverse.


    Just my conjecture, but I thought it supposedly wards off an Ayin Hara because it is a way (some) people hold their hand on their face when saying Kiriat Sh’ma. That reminds one to trust in Hashem. We say Hashem is one meaning the only one that can do anything.
    The blue, like Techelet, reminds us of Shamayim.

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