Superstitions and Customs
Man has always believed in superstitions, which most of them stemmed from emotional needs and distresses. When any person is in distress, and there is no logical or practical solution available, the only way to deal with the problem is turn to faith, spells, amulets and virtues of all kinds.
Most of the time, only a strong faith, helps deal with the problem. Throughout history, man has invented all sorts of different beliefs, that over time became more sophisticated, and sometimes their origins unknown.
Here you will read about some of these superstitions, their origin partial known and others unknown.
A talisman/amulet shaped like a hand, also known as a protector against the evil eye. A talisman/amulet shaped like a hand, also known as a protector against the evil eye. its root in the Arab countries and has no connection to Judaism at all. Hamsa is also called “The Hand of Fatima”, Muhammad’s daughter. Hamsa symbolizes the five commandments of Islam, which are:
1. Walking to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.
2. Announcement of the Islam in public.
3. Giving charity.
4. Keeping the Ramadan fasting.
5. Prayer three times a day facing Mecca.
Hamsa came to remind every Muslim these five commandments, and promising him an entrance to heaven if he observes the commandments.
Originally, Hamsa served as a protection against ghosts and spirits. According to Muslim belief, ghosts and spirits have a tendency to dwell in abandoned places, therefore, Muslims tend to dip their hand in color (usually blue) and leave their hand print mark on their doors. This sign causes demons to understand, that this house is not abandoned, and people actually live there, This mark prevents ghosts and spirits to enter the house.
Hence, the Hamsa parallel to the mezuzah in Judaism – keeping the house and the people who resides there safe from harm.
North African Jews brought the Hamsa’s sign with them to Israel, as a protector against the evil eye and good luck charm.
This belief is widespread, especially amongst North African immigrants.
Today, you can find the Hamsa in every house, or any key chain.
May is the month of counting between Pesach and Shavuot. This date is considered as the time of mourning, therefore, in Judaism it is not acceptable to get married, or to open new business. This custom is acceptable to this very day. Some say, that in this period, the period of Bar Kochba War, Rabbi Akiva and his students died, and therefore, we should avoid any new beginning.
SCRAPING AND SUPERSTITIONS
During the middle ages, according to a popular belief, itchy body parts are a future prophecy. Judaism also adopted this belief. For example, scraping foot, you are about to go somewhere soon. scraping right hand, you are about to receive some money. scraping left hand, you are losing money. scraping right ear – good news. scraping left ear – bad news. scraping nose, you are about to argue with someone.
Witchcraft bride and groom
This belief of witchcraft bride and groom is accepted in Judaism and Christianity. It stems from the fact that when a couple get married, one of them may have left a loved one behind. The same loved one is able to cast the evil eye on the groom or bride, and thus disrupt their married life and even cause divorce. One of the virtues against this witchcraft, which is specific to the bride and groom on their wedding day, is the groom has to pee through his wedding ring at the end of the marriage celebration. Another accepted virtue in Judaism, is to bury the pieces of the wedding glass in the ground against the evil eye, or to put a blue stone in the groom’s pocket during the wedding.
Putting on the right shoe first
This custom in Judaism, is taken from the Romans. It has been related, that ceasar Aoktabeinuc, which put on his left shoe first, was notified about the rebellion against him on that day. The Talmud refers to the putting on the right shoe first as a requirement of every observant Jew, and even Shulchan Aruch refers to the putting on the right shoe first subject extensively. This custom stems from the fact that most people are right-wingers, and therefore, most actions are starting on the right side. When we change the natural form of behavior, we really bring bad luck on ourselves, so it is acceptable to wear the right shoe first.
Most nations tend to set the wedding date according to the moon. Moon Renewal date is a good time for a wedding, since this time apprises of success and happiness. Even in Judaism, the moon renewal date is a good time. Hence, the New Moon period is a good start. Therefore, it is acceptable during the new moon, besides a wedding, to enter into a new house, start a business, start various partnerships or purchase something new.
An empty baby crib
In the Middle Ages was a widespread belief that people who hold an empty baby crib in their house after the baby grows, or before he was born, will cause to the death of the newborn or the kid. This belief is widespread even today in some Jewish factions. Some people even do not buy products for the baby, but only after he was born.
A candle that went out
In Christianity believe that during the wedding if the groom or the bride candle turns off before it came to the middle, this is evidence that the person who his candle went out, will die first. Therefore, it is acceptable to put the bride and groom candle into a glass container, which will prevent the wind to turn them off.
Talk of the Devil and he is sure to appear (Do not open your mouth to Satan)
This belief is taken from Christianity, which believed that whoever laughs at a cripple will infect the same defect. Jews of Eastern Europe have adopted this faith in the belief that when we imitate, or laughing at a cripple, we actually, in a magical way, cast us mutilated. Therefore it is considered voice to the devil and an invitation to cast us mutilated.
The source of this belief is in the Middle Ages, when a person was sneezing. Sneeze operation requires a lungful of air aspiration. This was considered a disease or bacteria inhalation, and therefore, the listener always wished the person who sneezed, health. Over time, the act of sneezing has also become an approval of what is being said. When someone sneezes during a conversation, immediately we say to him “See? I’m right!”.
Forgot something? Do not go back
This is an acceptable custom in most nations. A person who leaves his home for an important event or important meeting, and forgot something at home, never coming back on his trail to take it. Back on the trail brings bad luck. But it also has a solution. For example, a Jew who forgot his prayer book at home, will turn around the house and then return to take the book. This way, he didn’t retrace his steps.
A black cat crosses your path – bad luck is lurking you. Step 3 steps back, then continue your way.
Killing a cat, any color of cat, causes to 7 unlucky years.
You broke a glass door? – upcoming two years of bad luck.
A bride with a red garment – would bring disaster or failure in business on her future husband.
Never throw away old shoes – bury or burn them. You can throw away the good luck with your old shoes.
As long as your show is upside down, it brings bad luck.
You turned back someone else’s upside down shoe – the good luck will smile at you.
Do not wear new clothing items, when you take part in funeral.
Sneezing while making a wish – the wish will come true very soon.
Itchy right hand, you are coming into money. Itchy left hand, you are losing money.
Burning of peanut shells in the doorway – brings financial success.
Advisable to hold a bill by the full moon light and ask for financial and material success.
Throwing few hair that was cut from the head, by the full moon light, against the moon – would bring health to a sick person.
Do not spend a coin, which was found on the street, at least 10 days from the day you found it. This coin is for luck and success.
Ate fish bones? – expect good luck, if you bury it and make a wish.
Exit through the window – causes bad luck.
A cricket or a frog who come into your house – bring luck and success.
A cat that his hair bristling against someone – it means there is the evil eye or witchcraft on that person.
Those who keeps money in their pocket on Rosh Hashanah, the more the better- will not miss penny in his pocket all year long.
You broke a mirror? – upcoming seven years of bad luck.
If a mirror falls and breaks for no reason, one of the family members is expected to disaster. Advisable to make a donation for penance to avoid the disaster.
Never use a dead man’s comb – it brings bad luck.
Colors that bring luck according to weekdays:
Sunday – White
Monday – Light blue
Tuesday – Blue
Wednesday – White or yellow
Thursday – Pink
Friday – Green
Thursday – Red
Any kind of these colored garment, on the right day, will bring luck.
You found a ring on the street? You must put it into salt water for an hour before wearing it.
Do not cut nails on Fridays and Saturdays – this action brings bad luck.