Sew Jewish Book / Symbols

Hamsa: A Handful of Good Luck

Hamsa with Chai and Fish

Hamsa from the Sew Jewish book.


Probably the most popular Jewish good luck symbol today is the hamsa. It’s been around a long time–thousands of years. Here’s some background from the introduction to the hamsa project in the Sew Jewish book:

Hamsa

Your hand is strong. Your right hand, exalted. (Psalms 89:14)

A tiny falafel shop I used to frequent in London had a wall covered in hamsas in lots of different styles and materials. Every time I went in there I thought the shop needed one made from fabric. Like this one. The hamsa is an ancient symbol of good luck that comes to Jewish culture through the early Mizrahi and Sephardic communities of Mesopotamia and North Africa. It’s also known as the Hand of Miriam–after Moses’ sister–and represents God’s protective hand or a hand swatting away the evil eye. Here, the hamsa is paired with fish, another symbol of good luck, and the Hebrew word chai, for “life.”

Why are fish a Jewish symbol of good luck? This post has more…

Maria BywaterMaria Bywater is the author of Sew Jewish, available in paperback at Amazon.com and Etsy and available for instant download in PDF format on Etsy. She teaches hands-on Judaica sewing workshops.

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