I noticed a woman yesterday that had a very colorful and beautiful tattoo of a Chai and a hand on her right wrist. I looked up on the internet and found the hand was called Hamsa Hand. Of course, I am against tattoos as a Jew, however it really struck my attention. I don't know anything about the meaning of the Hamsa Hand and the Chai. Can anyone tell me a little about it? Is the right wrist important in any way? What does the Chai and the Hand symbolize?

The basic question is, I'm interested in learning about the Hamsa and the Chai.

It looked like this, but colorful: Click Here


  • 2
    @jkushner you want to know if there is some connection between the two symbols and what the meaning is of their connection? Or are these two separate questions: 1)What is the meaning of Chai? 2)What is the meaning of Hamsa?
    – Seth J
    Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 14:24
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  • @SethJ Anything you can tell me. I'm just interested in learning about it.
    – somejkuser
    Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 15:24
  • @CharlesKoppelman None of these specifically tell me the meaning of the Hamsa and the Chai.
    – somejkuser
    Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 15:26
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    Right. What I'm trying to get at is, what's the "it" you want to know about? They're two different symbols. If you want to know the meaning of them individually, that would be two separate questions. If you want to know why they may be joined together, you may not get a full answer on their specific meanings. So you may actually have three questions here: 1) and 2) above, and 3)Why might they be used together in artwork?
    – Seth J
    Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


The Ben Ish Chai (Pinchas 2:13) writes the hamsa is a spiritual protection from the evil eye –

והגאון חיד"א ז"ל כתב מנהג העולם לומר חמשה ולכן תולין עץ מצויר בו צורת כף שיש בו חמשה אצבעות וחקוק עליו אות ה' וכתב בכתר מלכות דמן הגמרא מוכח דאנשי בבל צריך להזהר ולשמור עצמן מן עין הרע טפי משאר מקומות.

Additionally, Aish explains

"Hamsa" is the Arabic word for five. It is customary for Arabs and Jews from the Middle East to raise their hand (five fingers) for good luck and against (Ayin Hara) an evil eye. In Exodus 17:11, we see that when Moses raised his hand, the Jews were successful in battle against Amalek. Conceivably, this is where it originated.

On the other hand (bad pun), "Chai" refers to 'life'.

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