Recently I received an email asking about left arm injuries and breaks and their significance: “Hello, I just want to know, from a Jewitch perspective, if there is any meaning behind a person who is constantly hurting their left arm. A friend of mine has had three breaks and three surgeries on their left arm. Please note: this person is right handed. Thanks.” To respond to this, we’ll delve into definitions, symbolism, angels, Kabbalah, tefillin, Jewish mysticism, the evil eye and the Torah.
Marks on heads, hands, arms, and on buildings are symbolically and spiritually significant. Arms and hands are symbols of strength. “Zeroah” is the Hebrew word for arm, meaning “the stretched out arm: force, help, mighty, power, shoulder, strength etc.”
From his inspirational book, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism, Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis writes: “The left side of the sefirot structure is the side of power and strict justice. It is also the female side, and represents the principles of separation and distinction. It signifies the fearsome awe of G-d. The unrestrained dominion of the left side gives rise to evil. The Sitra Achra, or “Other side” of the divine emanation, is the source of the demonic. Thus, the left can signify weakness, impurity or evil. The Zohar emphasizes that certain ritual acts, like washing the hands, should begin with the right hand. Chasidic pious customs expand this to include always starting any bodily act, such as lacing one’s shoes or taking one’s first step, from the right side to avoid making oneself vulnerable to the impure powers of the left side.”
A very important person sits or walks in the centre, the next in rank at his right hand side, and third in rank on the left.
Soldiers held the bow in their left hand and arrows in their right and were told to “break the arms” or “cut off the arms” of enemies.
The Torah is the right, the oral version is the left. The world is the right; the world to come is the left. The Torah says “Let thy left hand repulse and thy right attract.” Also “…man without a companion is like the left without the right”. “At thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left” (Eccl. x. 2). “Before you is the protective spirit, behind you is the protective goddess, at your right riches, at your left prosperity”.
- Symbolises Chesed (kindness)
- More important, and better, than the left
- Seen as lucky (good luck)
- A symbol of strength
- The location of honour
- The concept of majesty
- The defenders
- Sunnier, brighter side
- South (point of direction)
- The right hand of Hashem conquered Israel’s enemies etc. The right hand often symbolizes the huge power of Hashem (right hand means Mercy). The right side of a person is where Hashem walks and helps the person in a conflict.
- You use your right hand to point to the words of the Torah.
- The right hand was not to be utilised for impure or inappropriate functions.
- The Torah was presented with the right hand of G-d.
- The king’s (or Hashem’s) accomplices sit on the right side of the throne etc.
- Mitzvahs are usually conducted on the right side – mezuzahs on the right doorposts, yibum with the right foot, sacrificial duties with the right hand etc.
- Always attempt to turn right, to follow the correct path – just like Hebrew texts that move from right to left.
- The accusers
- The bleak, dark side
- Unlucky (bad luck)
- North (point of direction)
- Where evil is created.
- The left hand means judgement
- Left-handedness was seen as a weakness, a disorder.
- In Kabbalah, the left side symbolizes a more elevated, improved position. Since the left hand is nearer to the heart, it is more majestic and superior.
- In the Zohar, Eve symbolizes the left side of Adam.
- The left symbolizes Gevurah / Din (strictness and punishment).
- The angel Gavriel, is at our left, promoting judgement.
- The angel, Michael, is at our right, promoting good. Michael, on the right, is more in favor of Israel than Gabriel, who is on the left.
- While Samael (from “sem’ol” = “left”) is on the left, outside, as the antagonist of Israel.
- The “yeẓer-ṭob” (the angel whose influence is toward the good) is on the right side, and the “yeẓer ha-ra’ ” (the angel whose influence is toward wickedness) is on the left of every person.
Interestingly, tefillin is conducted with the left arm (the weaker arm). Black boxes containing The Shema are placed on the head (near the mind) and left arm (near the heart). The right hand dominates all Judaic teachings except for the tefillin. Kabbalistically, we have a responsibility to assist Hashem using our mind and emotions. Tefillin is placed on the left arm that is nearest (opposite) to the heart (the centre of our emotions), destined to assist Hashem, and is also placed on the head. This is in essence, surrendering our mind, heart and actions to Hashem as well as the principal of intellect over emotion.
Back to your friend’s situation:
According to the Kabbalah, the sphere of Severity (Geburah) comprises the left shoulder, arm, hand, upper-left back and breast. Injuries and pain in these sections of the body indicate traumas and crises over justice and how to cope with agitators. These agitators include moral or religious judgments towards others and oneself. Coping with your anger, punishment and revenge is vital. Not making moral judgments against anyone including yourself, is important in order for healing to occur for Geburah-related injuries. There may be a need to deal with a negative person in their life that is also causing this vibration.
In terms of healing, your friend could follow these rituals. In Kabbalah, there is a red string (a thin wool thread) worn as a bracelet on the left wrist. It is knotted 7 times, blessed with Hebrew prayers. The string protects against the evil eye, negative energies and from conscious and unconscious staring. The left symbolises the desire to “receive”, it is considered the “receiving” side of the body and spirit. Tell your friend to tie the red string to his/her left wrist, while reciting the Ana b’Koach prayer, metaphorically engraving potent protective energies within his/herself and stopping negativity. Tie the red string closely around his/her left wrist with a knot. Repeat by knotting the string six more times (seven knots in total). Abstain from negative thoughts and speech. Say the Ben Porat Prayer, preventing anyone from giving him/her the evil eye.
Also, a Hamsa is an amulet or good-luck-charm of an open right hand, a strong symbol of protection against the evil eye. This is helpful for your friend (and any Jewitch) to wear, carry or display around their homes!
So to sum up, let’s metaphorically try to push away the left and bring forward the right in our lives. In other words, be more generous and kind while minimizing the use of punishment.
Do you have a Jewitchy question, like the above, that you are curiously scratching your head about? Then please simply click on the Contact page and get in touch.
* The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism, Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis * http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0017_0_16755.html * http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/81814/jewish/Tefillin-and-Its-Significance.htm * www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Amulets.aspx * www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/features/essays/issue3/biblicalmarkings * www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12757-right-and-left * strangeside.com/right-side-versus-left-side/ * www.myjewishlearning.com/article/evil-eye-in-judaism * livingwisdom.kabbalah.com/red-string * spirit-alembic.com/geburah.html