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 . . .


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.