Hamsa

The Hand or Hamsa, is a sign of protection that also represents blessings, power, and strength, and is seen as potent in deflecting the evil eye.

 

In Judaism, the hamsa is a very respected, holy, and common symbol. It is used in the Ketubah, or marriage contracts, as well as items that dress the Torah such as pointers, and the Passover Haggadah. The use of the hand as images both in and out of the synagogue suggests the importance and relevance that the Jewish people associated with the hamsa. The hand-decorated some of the most religious and divine objects and has since emerged from its uncommon phase.

 

The Hamsa has become a symbol of everyday Israeli life, and to a degree, a symbol of Israel itself. 

 

Similar to the Western use of the phrase "knock on wood" or "touch wood", a common expression in Israel is "Hamsa, Hamsa, Hamsa, tfu, tfu, tfu", the sound for spitting, supposedly to spit out bad luck.