I am left-handed, and my friend recently pointed out to me that everyone has a right to use my left arm. He proved it from Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 27:6, where it says (and they translated):

אטר... שמאלו שהוא ימין של כל אדם

A left-handed person... his left arm is the right of everyone else

I'm now stuck doing (uni)manual labour for my friend. Is there any way out of this before someone else comes along and takes up more of my time?

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.


4 Answers 4


Certainly a tough situation to be in, but there is a way out for you! The halacha there continues:

ואם שולט בשתי ידיו מניח בשמאל כל אדם

And if he rules over both of his hands, he can leave it to everyone else's left hand

If you let your friend use your right arm as well, so that he rules over both of your hands, then you can defer all of the work to everyone else's left hands, leaving you free to go about your business.

  • 3
    Are you sure that the "he" of "he rules over both of his hands" is not referring to the left-handed person? It seems to me that your argument should rather be that OP should learn to be ambidextrous. Feb 20, 2018 at 10:42
  • @PeterTaylor I interpreted the pronoun to be referring back to the previous subject, namely the כל אדם to whom his left hand is given over. Feb 20, 2018 at 18:14
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    (During PTIJ season I have an aversion to interpreting things to mean what they actually mean, so...) Feb 20, 2018 at 18:15

The good news is that Purim is coming up, when things are reversed (Vanahafoch Hu), and you will be able to use his right hand, as opposed to him using your left hand. This was in fact what happened between Avram and Lot, when Avram said:

אִם הַשְּׂמֹאל וְאֵימִנָה וְאִם הַיָּמִין וְאַשְׂמְאִילָה

Additionally, your friend should know that according to Shir Hashirim, he may only use your left hand as a pillow:

שְׂמֹאלוֹ֙ תַּ֣חַת לְרֹאשִׁ֔י

Rashi there Paskens that this only applies in the desert:

שמאלו תחת לראשי – במדבר.

So if you let him know of these sources, perhaps it will make things easier, but if not, at least you'll get the last laugh on Purim!


Actually, you have an obligation from the Torah not only to give your hand, but not to harden your heart (Deuteronomy 15:7).

לֹ֧א תְאַמֵּ֣ץ אֶת־לְבָבְךָ֗ וְלֹ֤א תִקְפֹּץ֙ אֶת־יָ֣דְךָ֔ מֵאָחִ֖יךָ הָאֶבְיֽוֹן׃

Don't harden your heart and don't withhold your hand from your poor brother!

(Regarding the heart, see PTIJ - Heart transplants for more information.)

However, since the obligation is only דֵּי מַחְסֹרוֹ (as much as he lacks), he can only demand your left hand if he himself lacks a left hand. And if you are forced to labor for him with your left hand, you are also considered to be lacking a left hand, and it is your right to demand the use of any other lefty's left hand.

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    There may be a follow-up question here about cholesterol... Feb 20, 2018 at 10:39

When you face the person to give him your left hand, it's on that person's right. That's what the phrase is saying. It's not that complicated.

You're not obligated to lend your hand to him, and if someone grabs your left hand and won't let go, he's overextending his right :-)

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