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Do Jews Cross Fingers?

Do Jews Cross Fingers?

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Question:

Is it wrong for a Jew to say “I’m keeping my fingers crossed” for good luck? And if so, is there a Jewish equivalent to crossing fingers? I’m waiting to hear back about a job interview, and need all the luck I can get . . .

Answer:

Crossing fingers is a Christian practice. It originated in medieval England, when Christians believed that the cross symbol had the power to ward off evil and bring good fortune. If you bumped into a witch and didn’t have a cross handy, the easiest way to form one was by curling one finger over another.

These days, most finger-crossers don’t associate it with any religious belief. But it is still not a Jewish thing to do.

And I don’t think there is a Jewish version of crossing fingers. You could try twisting them into a Star of David, but that is more likely to bring arthritis than good luck. Besides, we don’t believe that good fortune comes from signs and gestures. We pray to G‑d, do good deeds and have faith in the future.

The language we use shapes the way we think. So rather than say “I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll get the job,” say “If G‑d wills it, I’ll get the job.” If it’s not meant to be, no finger contortion can change that. And if it is G‑d’s will, no “witch” can get in the way.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Hannah August 7, 2017

"Knock on wood is bad too" it comes from an old pagan practise of worshipping trees because they believed there were spirits therein Reply

Nicolas Argentina August 6, 2017

Do Jews cross fingers? Whenever I need to exteriorize the need of luck I keep pair of 2 fingers in line and separated from the other 2 (not considering the thumb in this practice), and pray the only prayer I know: "Baruch atá A'i, eloheinu melej aolam, asher kideshanu vemitsvotav, ve'imru. Amen.' Wrongful or not, it is fully from the heart and with good faith. Reply

Cybersavta Toronto August 6, 2017

I agree. How you speak shapes who you are, 100%, Reply

Jeanne Lunkowski Ormond Beach Florida March 13, 2017

Harold Kaminsky: When your book is finished and published, I hope you will let us know. I would be most interested in reading.
Shalom
Reply

Anonymous Los Angeles March 12, 2017

poor will If God wills it then I will the better choice for the job. Reply

M.H. Maerschalck Beverwijk Holland January 18, 2017

I believe in HaShem I am a Christian and belive in G'd. I know that He controls my life in all(!) matters. Not a witch and a simple sign. The God of Avraaham, Yitzak and Jaacov Reply

Yosef Leib FoHI, NY January 18, 2017

Funny, I always respond, can you "Star them please". I appreciate people's positive energy :-) Reply

Anonymous Texas January 17, 2017

Crossing Fingers I'm a Jew and I live in a world with lots of good people who are not. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It's an expression that I sometimes use and it doesn't have any other significance. Reply

Johanna Orlando October 12, 2015

People seem addicted to superstition, some of it apparently harmless, some of it definitely not. While we wait with breathless anticipation for Mr. Kaminski's book to explain it all to us for once and for all, we can comfort ourselves that the Bible is not as he describes it. He mistakes the actions of mankind for the actions of G-d. The Bible is many things, but not the work of Mr. Kaminski's peculiar personal god who would, he claims, never murder babies. This is the only thing he has said that is even remotely believeable. Indeed G-d does not murder babies. People do the murdering. G-d gave us the rules to live by and the Bible is the story of how people break those rules, and the consequences thereof. Reply

Chava Texas October 4, 2015

We have Segolot for Ayin Hara and other negative energy instead of crossed fingers "B'li ayn hara" is a spoken formula to protect against evil eye. Rashi's explanation for the Talmudic prohibition against standing in a neighbor's field when the crops are fully grown is because of Ayin Hara, the evil eye,

The Hamsa amulet and the color blue were used against the evil eye. Ramban had ten sukkim that were supposed to protect one if said every day, since there were 365 words in them,

A mezuza is also used in a similar way as protection against evil influences coming in a house.

We Jews have plenty of stuff equal to crossed fingers, it just may be too close to our eyes to see it in the same light. Reply

David Rankin July 25, 2015

Request to Harold When your book is complete, would you please let me know. I would be very interested to read it. Reply

Harold Kaminsky July 23, 2015

Reply To David The second question is easy. I don't believe in Satan. With regard to the first my version of God is similar to yours . He is pure and perfect. But He doesn't murder innocent people, especially babies and infants. He gave us a set of rules to go by. Most of them are good rules and most civilized societies have adopted them. How could He expect us to obey those rules if He doesn't abide by them. You lead by example.
So the answer is He didn't do all those bad things that are written in the Bible. People wrote the Bible, lots of them. And like all indigenous cultures they have myths and legends that are passed down from generation to generation and facts change or get deleted. I am writing a book to explain all that. Reply

Evie Scottsdale July 21, 2015

I think that G-d doesn't kill anyone, it's just our time to go.
We have certain amount of time to understand, to learn and to do good deeds and repair our bad deeds...In each reincarnation we learn more and raise more sparks. This is a world of darkness and we have to find the light. G-D is hidden we must get closer to Him. How? By doing good deeds, helping other people, etc.(Tikkun Olam) and do or try at least to follow the Torah. Our good actions impact upon the universe. We most be in harmony with the universe. And make this a better world. Reply

Johanna Orlando July 21, 2015

*sigh* Reply

David Rankin New Zealand July 21, 2015

Two questions to Harold You have told Joanna that "Your God is a monster. My God wouldn't do that."
Would you please describe you G-d, what he would do, and what basis you have for thinking that. Secondly, would you please tell us what your view is on Satan, and his link - if any - with evil. Reply

Harold Kaminsky CA July 20, 2015

Reply to Joanna You seem to be reiterating my responses to you. Evil generates evil. The difference between us is that you take glory in the evil that God inflicts on mankind. You justify His actions in executing thousands of innocent babies and infants. Your God is a monster. My God wouldn't do that. Reply

Johanna Orlando July 20, 2015

Actions have consequences, Mr. Kaminski. Evil flows from evil, not from G-d. See Exodus 20:5. What the verse means is if men or women do evil, their children will suffer for generations. Evil flows from deliberately choosing to do it without regard for its consequences upon the innocent. All you have to do is watch the evening news to see how true this is. Pharoah chose to defy G-d, and all the subsequent evils that the Egyptians suffered flowed from that choice. Reply

Harold Kaminsky Ca July 18, 2015

Reply to Daniel Perhaps you never read any commentaries by rabbis and Biblical scholars. When Moses got the job he indicated that the people didn't know God and needed His name. God is omnipotent and He could make the pharaoh concede with just one plague. The reason He did ten, and then part the Red Sea, and do all those other miracles in the desert is to show the Israelites that He was a powerful God. And then one week later they built a golden calf. Pharaoh was a lot easier to handle than the Israelites. Reply

Harold Kaminsky Ca July 18, 2015

Reply to Joanna If we are commanded not to kill, innocent people or otherwise, and God kills innocent people by the thousands, God's ways are not our ways. Consider this. God sets a bad example for us to follow, and as a result evil and wickedness pervade our universe. Do you think that an example of love and kindness would work better? Just5 a thought. Reply

David Rankin New Zealand July 17, 2015

Reply to Harold If you read Exodus, chapters 7 to 12, you will see that your analogy of the kidnapper bears little resemblance to the situation in Egypt. G-d said that He would give Pharaoh a lesson because of his arrogance. However, in chapter 8, verses 15, 19, 32, and chapter 9 verse 7. Pharaoh is given the opportunity to change his stance, but he exercises his free will and rejects the windows of opportunity. Chapter 8 verse 34 says, (Pharaoh) sinned yet more, and hardened his heart ... This was not a lesson for the Israelites; it was a lesson for the Egyptians that their idols were impotent, and the true G-d was the G-d the Israelites worshiped.
Our only reason for existing is to give us the opportunity to decide whether we will spend eternity with G-d or away from Him.This may sound harsh to you, but those who choose to reject the kingship of God make themselves valueless in this world and the one to come. We can only trust G-d's justice and wait for the day of testing, to see how that works out Reply