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I don't have much background on this question--it's simply that I've seen some married Chabad women wearing their rings on the right hand. Why?

Is it because the right hand is considered "preferable" by Judaism? ...Because the ring is put on the right hand under the chuppah? ...Because that is how rings were (and are) worn in Russia?

Also, who and which groups have this custom?

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It appears that the wedding ring worn on the right hand is originally a European custom. The custom at the chupah is to put the ring of the kallah's right pointing finger not the "ring finger". The "ring finger" on the right and left hand is a custom picked up from the nonJewish inhabitants of a local area.

How the Ring Is Given

Despite the fact that rings today are typically worn on the finger next to the pinky, the bride receives the ring from the groom on her right index finger. Many reasons are given for this long-standing tradition. The most straightforward reason is given by Rabbi Samuel Segal of Mezeritch, Poland, in the seventeenth century in his book Nachalat Shivah. He writes that since the index finger is the finger most commonly used to point to things, and therefore the finger most in the forefront and visible, this is the one we use for the giving of the ring before witnesses.

Why is the wedding ring placed on the right index finger?

The right index finger is the one that we point with, and the right side is considered one of love in Jewish mysticism.

The index finger of the right hand is utilized because the right hand is seen as having precedence in Judaism since a majority of people use their right hand dominantly. The right is also appropriate because in the Kabbalah, the right “side” of the divine is a reference to the characteristic of love. Additionally, many people suggest that in ancient times, rings, as is still the case in some eastern cultures, were worn on the index finger, and that this tradition may have just remained with us since that time.

Wedding ring

Depending on the local culture, it is worn on the base of the right or the left ring finger. The custom of wearing such a ring has spread widely beyond its origin in Europe.1

Wedding Ring on the Right Hand

According to Reader's Digest, the custom of wearing a wedding ring on the left ring finger is a fairly recent invention, even in English-speaking countries. In fact, before the 1700s, people frequently wore their wedding rings on their right ring fingers. An 1869 article entitled The Wedding Ring postulates that this right-hand wearing may have been changed to the left, or generally non-dominant, hand as a way for women to show deference to men, who did not wear wedding rings at that time.

Reader's Digest also asserts that the Romans wore wedding rings on their right hands. This may have been due to a cultural belief that the left hand was sinister or untrustworthy. Even today, when people make an important vow or take an oath, they place their left hand on a Bible and raise their right hand. This emphasis on the right hand as a symbol of honor may be related to the historical mistrust of the left hand.

According to Wedding Details, people in many central and northern European couples wear wedding rings on their right ring fingers. This is customary for couples from the following countries:

Norway
Austria
Denmark
Poland
Some parts of Belgium
Germany

German couples traditionally use a simple gold band as an engagement ring and place that band on the left finger before the wedding. After the wedding, they move the ring to the right ring finger, where they wear it as a symbol of their union. Russia and Surrounding Countries

Master Russia reports that Russians also wear their wedding rings on the right ring finger. According to Latvian jeweler Sudraba Nams, brides and grooms in many Eastern European countries also follow this tradition. These include Latvia, Bulgaria, and Ukraine. Greece

According to Greek Wedding Traditions, Greek brides and grooms have worn right-hand wedding rings for many years. Those who are Orthodox Christians continue this custom. However, modern Greek couples living in Western cultures often wear their rings on the left hand.

  • Thank you, but I'm not positive this adds to what was included in the question – SAH Nov 14 '14 at 18:56
  • @SAH You asked about the source of the custom of where a ring is worn. I put in what I found as to the sources. – sabbahillel Nov 14 '14 at 20:29

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