Category Archive : Culture

Jewish Sayings (and symbols)

When trying to know more about Judaism and its people you will have to go through a lot of information to fully understand their traditions, meanings and their way of life. You would have to talk to many Jews in your life, read the Torah several times and visit on of their festivals, celebrations and holidays.

Unfortunately, not all of us have enough free time in our lives to commit so much just to learn about the Hebrew people and their religion. However, those that do not have that free time are in luck. There are various Jewish sayings and symbols that have been used throughout the history of Israel that can help you understand some things about Judaism through their meaning.

Here are some of their most famous symbols and sayings.

The Two Tablets or The Luchot

Image source: ou.org

You can see this symbol appear all around the country. Whether it is hospitals, schools, the uniforms of the country’s military forces. But, why is the Luchot so important that it is showcased on one of Israel’s most important buildings? Well, the Luchot is actually the two tablets that were given to Moses by God during the great pilgrimage to the promised land. These two tablets were pointers or reminders about the way of life God has intended.

These pointers are famously known as the Ten Commandments. To give you a bit of insight into the Jews way of life and their sayings, you should definitely know about all the commandments, so here they are:

Image source: chabad.org

  1. I am the Lord your God, the one who released you from bondage from the rulers from Egypt and will have no other gods before me. You shall not bow down to those other gods and you will not serve me. – God explains that he is a jealous God and that he wants the respect he deserves.
  2. You shall not use the name of the Lord in vain. – God here is trying to tell the Hebrew People that they should honor his name and never use it in vain. If they would believe in his power and his will, they should also respect his name with the same level of passion.
  3. To keep it holy, you mustn’t forget the Sabbath Day. – Shabbat or Sabbath is the seventh day of the week which requires Jews to take time off work to spend time with their family and honor God. Contrary to other parts of the world, the seventh day of the week for Israel is actually through the evening of Friday to the evening of Saturday instead of Sunday.
  4. Respect your mother and father. – To keep the Hebrew community closer than ever and to prevent it from ever splitting up again to fall under the rule of other nations, God asks for never-ending respect toward one’s parents.
  5. You shall not kill. – God claims that murder is one of the biggest sins and that repenting from such a sin is almost impossible. Killing anyone that is innocent is murder in the eyes of God.
  6. You shall not commit adultery. – Another very important part of the Ten Commandments is that God forbids adultery. In other words, having sex with someone else’s wife or husband or having sex while in a marriage with your own partner is completely forbidden. God also disallows people to have sex who are not in a marriage.
  7. You shall not steal. – This one is pretty straight forward and there’s no need for explanation. God sets a rule that stealing is unjust, no matter what the reason.
  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. – This one has been contemplated by experts many times, but most people believe that is directed towards lying. God believes that every human should always tell the truth and nothing but the truth.
  9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. – This one is quite similar to the sixth commandment but at a different angle. God forbids the people to have any kind of desire for immoral sex.
  10. You shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods. – A similar message like the seventh commandment. It basically means that a person should not take someone’s property by force.

Menorah

Image source: turbosquid.com

Another very commonly used symbol is the Menorah and it is probably one of the oldest ones in the Jewish religion. It is a candelabrum that has seven branches. It is believed that the Menorah is Israel’s symbol. The seven arms on the candelabrum represent the seven days of creation. If you are looking for a place to purchase a menorah, check out jewish shop.

Mezuzah

You have probably seen a Mezuzah at least once in your life if you have ever visited a Jews’ home. However, it is quite hard to notice because it is usually set onto a house’s entrance, on the doorpost to be specific. Many people believe that this is actually a way to keep the house blessed or for good luck, but it is actually placed to remind you of the constant presence of God.

Chai

Image source: sunset.com

Both a very common symbol and a Hebrew letter at the same time. You can often see it Jews wearing it around their neck as a pendant or on a hand bracelet. Chai can be interpreted in several different ways. Once believe that is a symbol of the Living God while others that are shows the importance of life. Whatever you believe its true meaning is, it definitely is a popular symbol in this culture.

Hamesh Hand

Another very popular choice as an accessory to a necklace or on a bracelet. Just go into any accessory shop in Israel and you will see the Hamesh Hand made from wood, iron, gold and sometimes even diamonds. There isn’t any direct correlation to God or the Jewish religion, but the Hamesh Hand has been used in Israel for many centuries in the past.

The Torah Scroll

The Torah usually refers to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. You can usually see the Torah Scroll l on logos, on the side of books and on buildings.