Someone was trying to explain to me how the five fingers are connected to the five senses... without much success. Is there a reputable source for this?


1 Answer 1


See Rabbeinu Bachaye on Vayikra 8:33:

וחכמי הטבע כתבו בספריהם כי כשם שכל אבר ואבר מאברי הגוף נברא לתועלת מיוחד בגוף, ויש ברובן שבכל אחד ואחד כלול שתים שלש תועליות ואין בו דבר לבטלה, כך חמש אצבעות שביד כל אחד ואחד מהם נברא לתועלת מיוחד, והוא כי כל אחד מהאצבעות הוא משרת לחוש אחד מחמשה חושים שבאדם שהם עיקר האדם, ובהם מתגלים כחות הנפש, הראשון משרת לקנוח הפה והוא שבו חוש הטעם, והשני תוך הנחירים שבו חוש הריח, והשלישי לחוש המשוש למשש בכל חלקי הגוף ולפיכך הוא ארוך מכולן, והרביעי לקנח העין, והחמישי לקנח האזן, והקב"ה ברא בגוף האדם חמשה חושים ומסר להם חמשה משרתים שהן האצבעות, וזהו שלמות הטבע, כי אין הטבע עושה דבר לבטלה ואנו רואין כי כל אחד ואחד מהאצבעות הולך לחוש שלו תמיד שלא בכוונה, יתברך ויתעלה היוצר, יוצר בראשית אשר יצר את האדם בחכמה.

Scientists have written that just as every organ in the human body has its specific function, many of them having been designed to perform multiple functions, so every one of the five fingers on the hand also has been created in order to perform a specific function. They believe that each of the five fingers has been assigned a task corresponding to one of our five senses, which between them account for most of man’s activities. The powers of the soul [invisible life-force, Ed.] are revealed by means of these five fingers. The first finger is meant to clean out the mouth, i.e. it corresponds to the sense of taste. The second one which is used in the nostrils corresponds to the sense of smell. The third one is used to touch things, i.e. to identify objects and people by means of the sense of touch. The fourth finger is designed to clean one’s eyes; in other words it corresponds to the sense of sight, whereas the fifth finger is designed to clean one’s ears, i.e. it corresponds to the sense of hearing. According to this theory G’d created man with five different senses and provided each of these senses with a specific outlet, i.e. one of his fingers. This is all part of the concept of the completeness of nature, i.e. a world in which everything has been assigned a specific function. We observe that each one of the five fingers performs its functions almost automatically, as if it were simply a reflex movement giving expression to the directives issuing from the respective senses. Blessed be the Lord, Creator, who has created man using so much intelligence in doing so (compare Berachot 60).

This is the only source I could find and he even states that this is a claim by "the scientists", so not necessarily a traditional source, but he seems to like it and go with it, based on his Torah belief that everything in creation reflects Hashem's wisdom, and Hashem created everything with meaning and purpose.

  • Yeah. That was it. Now I'm arguing with Rabbeinu Bachaye...
    – Shababnik
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 14:11
  • @Shababnik I would imagine that, while in general it is not recommended to argue with Rabbeinu Bachaye, in this case he probably wouldn't mind :) The main issue is are you arguing that Hashem seeds lots of intelligent design in His creation or not, and I would imagine a believing Jew wouldn't argue with that
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 14:13
  • I believe there is intelligence in the world. Though this is part of à biggest discussion of whether the science of yesteryear is applicable today concerning Torah. Or isvtheis concept of the fingers based on something else, and Rabbeinu Bachaye is just referencing the scientists?
    – Shababnik
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 14:28
  • 1
    @Shababnik I see no evidence that this is a traditional idea. It's just an application of a principle that Hashem bakes intelligence into His creation. Rabbeinu Bachaye knows what he is doing so that's where its value lies
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 15:05
  • He's using the scientists to argue on rashi's explanation
    – Shababnik
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 17:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .