In many societies, efforts are made to "convert" children who are naturally left-handed to using their right hands. As I understand it, modern neurology strongly frowns upon this practice.

I recall stories of my (Polish) great-grandmother insisting on her grandchildren writing with their right hands; how much of that was Jewish, vs. Polish, vs. superstitious?

Was it more, less, or equally prevalent in Jewish societies vs. their hosts?

There are plenty of halachic discussions about left-handed people (with regards to all sorts of mitzvahs that specify a hand); at any point did our sources discuss this "correcting" practice?

  • As a practical note, it's much easier to determine on which hand a Jew should lay his tefilin if he is uniform in his hand preference. Someone who does some stuff one way and some stuff the other way can sometimes have halachik problems determining which is halachically his dominant hand.
    – Double AA
    Mar 6, 2014 at 20:22
  • While it may appear that this question is off topic because it's about "history of the Jews" (and is collecting close votes for that reason), I'm pretty sure it's on topic because it seeks citations in "our sources" = Judaica. (Although maybe the question should be edited to reflect that more clearly.)
    – MTL
    Apr 14, 2017 at 22:44

2 Answers 2


I would note that Ehud ben Gera the Shofet (Shoftim 3:15) was a lefty and this allowed him to save Am Yisrael by killing King Eglon of Moab.

There is an idea that the right hand is superior to the left in various ways because of the references to G-d's 'right hand' in the Torah, but as far as I know in Halachah the approach is 'What should a lefty do?' rather than 'He shouldn't be a lefty.'

  • I seem to recall from some commentary though that Ehud's was also a case of "correction": he made himself a lefty so he could stab Eglon.
    – msh210
    Oct 6, 2011 at 15:26
  • If so, that would strengthen the point. "correcting" a lefty to make him a righty was clearly not preferred if in this case he did the exact opposite.
    – follick
    Oct 7, 2011 at 3:17
  • Quite right, unless it was es laasos lashem or the like.
    – msh210
    Oct 7, 2011 at 16:51

I remember having a friend who his father forced him to write with his right hand. It caused him to stutter, and his father regretted it.

  • Such stories are not uncommon. (For the movie-watching crowd out there, this appears in "The King's Speech" too.)
    – Shalom
    Oct 3, 2011 at 20:52
  • Although this does not prove that all Jews did this, there are for sure some that do. Oct 3, 2011 at 20:54
  • Is there a way to demonstrate that the forced change from left to right hand caused the stutter?
    – Seth J
    Oct 4, 2011 at 17:57
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Oct 4, 2011 at 17:59
  • I saw that. Psychological studies that predate the Second World War tend to be slightly suspect, I think. Anything more recent?
    – Seth J
    Oct 4, 2011 at 18:06

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