Recently, a friend of mine became a makeup consultant for a beauty business. So, while our children happily played together, she brought out her kit and together we played. We tried on creams, colors and shades. She instructed me when I tried on under eye cream to use my fourth finger, because it is the gentlest. I had never heard of this before. I had always used my first finger, or pointer, for this job, but she explained that the skin under our eyes is sensitive, and that the fourth finger is the gentlest. She was right.

It made me think about the personality of all of my fingersIt made me think about the personality of all of my fingers, and how we talk with our hands—either literally or in other ways. The thumb is something that can be used with children as a nonverbal gesture. From across the room, one can give a “thumbs up,” saying “Great job!” The pointer is the strongest finger, and one often used to teach (“look at the moon”), write with, or maybe lecture a point. The middle finger is the tallest, and appropriately higher in stature, because the tefillin strap wraps around this finger, fulfilling this important mitzvah and and signifying our relationship with G‑d. The ring finger tells the world with a physical representation if one is engaged or married. Then there is the pinky, which is often associated with friendship—linking pinkies with a friend.

When we stand under the chuppah, the marriage canopy, our groom puts our wedding ring on our right index finger, not our ring finger. This is to signify our betrothal; later on in the ceremony, we are actually married. But why the first finger? There are various explanations, but one of the reasons is that the ring is placed on this finger because in our right index finger there is a vein that leads directly to our heart. We are under the chuppah, engaged and so passionately in love.

In our right index finger there is a vein that leads directly to our heartAfter the marriage ceremony, many brides move their ring to the fourth finger, our “ring finger.” Why? Why not keep our ring on our first finger? Our pointer may be our strongest and most passionate. But, our fourth finger, our ring finger, is our gentlest. So, although we should always feel passion and romantic love in our marriage, it is gentleness with which we should act towards each other. That should be our attitude towards our spouse. Instead of acting or reacting with our pointer, our strongest emotion, we should treat our spouse with our ring finger, joining our physical symbol of marriage with the personality of that finger, gentleness.

Another physical reminder is that our ring finger is our only finger that can’t really stand up alone. One might be able to hold it up a little, but it hurts. It is not meant to be standing alone. So, the next time you are having a discussion or difference of opinion with your spouse, glance down not only at your ring, but at your ring finger and all that it represents.