I know from Ben Ish Hai Shana Bet Parashat Pinehas siman 13 where he writes to make a Hamsa from wood. However, I am wondering if there any earlier sources to solidify the fact that this would probably be "minhag mevatel halacha"?


1 Answer 1


For an earlier pretext on making a Hamsa, see the Ḥida (1724-1806), who writes about protecting oneself by making the letter heh (because it's the letter for five, and a symbol for the hand, it's often associated with the hamsa--which also means "five"). In his book of discourses on the gemara, פתח עינים, originally written in 1790, the Ḥida discusses mystical concepts around the number and letter heh, before writing:

ודרך האמת אפשר דיעקב אביבנו ע"ה כיוין להמשיך מעינא דא"א שהוא עינא פקיחא עינא דאשגחותא עינא דהוא נטורא וכו׳ כמ״ש באדרא קדישא והוא פר׳ ה׳ זו״ן או״א א״א ולכן עין גי׳ ה׳ הויות להמשיך מא״א לאו״א וזו״ן ומתבטלים הדינין. ולזה בן פורת יוסף בן פורת הם ה׳ תיבות לכוין עלי עי״ן ה׳ הויות להשפיע מעינא דא״א ולכן נוהגי׳ לינצל מע״הר לעשות ה של כסף ואפשר לרמוז לה׳ פר׳ להשפיע מא״א שהוא רחמים גמורים וכסף רומז לחסד. וכן נוהגים לומר חמשה לינצל מעה״ר

...Therefore, to be to saved from the evil eye, it is the custom to make a heh out of silver (18b)

  • Going from all things heh and five to a hamsa is a jump. But the Ben Ish Hai is quoting a very similar Hida.
    – Mordechai
    Jun 10, 2021 at 21:06
  • @Mordechai I don't know, they both represent a hand and the number five and both used to protect against "the evil eye"...sounds pretty similar to me. I suppose the hamsa is more questionable as it appears throughout non-Jewish cultures. Still, I was looking for a pretext.
    – Aryeh
    Jun 10, 2021 at 21:21

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