The Red String
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The Red String

Benjamin Malul
July 30, 2015

Question:

It says that we should tie a Red String as protection from the Evil Eye, on the left hand as it is the receiving side. I read that this custom does not appear in the Torah. So, I wonder what happens if the string is on the right hand? I would like to know as I have been wearing it for 30 years on the right hand. Does the right hand have a different meaning than the left hand? Thank you. ~PL

Answer:

Hello PL,

The Red String is not a precept (mitzvah) of the Torah. However, it is mentioned a few times in the Torah—for example, when Jacob put Red Strings on the children. In the Book of Joshua (chapter 2:18,21), Caleb and Pinchas spy the land of Israel for the last time, and reach the house of Rahab. As a tolken of appreciation Caleb and Pinchas tell Rahab that she should tie a Red String on her windowsill and when the Israelites conquer the land they will pass over that house and her family will be saved. Therefore, it is a tool that has been given to us, which is why we use it.

I’m sure that you must have read The Red String Book, which gives a lengthy explanation of the tool of the Red string. As it states, wearing the Red string is not just a tool to keep us from getting the evil eye from the outside, but it is also a reminder for ourselves to not give evil eye to others.

The benefit of wearing it on the left hand is not because it is better than the right. From a kabbalistic point of view, the left represents the Desire to Receive. As we know, Evil Eye is when someone Desires to Receive for the Self Alone. Evil Eye is the Desire to Receive for the Self Alone. Therefore, we put it on the left hand so that whenever we desire something, look at something, want something, we look at the Red String and use it as a filter or a reminder to restrict the Desire to Receive for the Self Alone.

The color red represents the Desire to Receive and the left represents Desire to Receive so, minus plus minus always gives us plus. No harm will happen when you put the Red String on the right hand, but kabbalistically, we would like to receive the maximum benefit from every action and every tool that we use, which is why we put it on the left.