Posted by Yevgeni Kuritski on March 02, 2014
Chai (pronounced [xai], occasionally [ħai]) is a symbol and word that figures prominently in Jewish culture and consists of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet Het (ח) and Yod (י). In the Hebrew language, the word chai (חַי) spelled by these two letters means "living," is related to the term for "life," chaim, and also appears in the slogan "`am yisrael chai!" ("The nation of Israel lives!", referring to all Jews).
There have been various mystical numerological speculations about the fact that, according to the system of gematria, the letters of chai add up to 18 (see "Jewish use of the Tetragrammaton" and "Lamedvavniks"). For this reason, 18 is a lucky number in Judaism, and many Jews give gifts of money in multiples of 18 as a result.
References in culture
The Chai symbol is often worn by Jews as a medallion around the neck (along with the Star of David (Magen David) and the Hamsa). In Hebrew, the related word chaya means living thing or animal, derived from the Hebrew word chai (חי), meaning "life". Although rare, Chai can also be used as a boy's name. Chaya, derived from chai was a popular female name in Hebrew. The name "Chaim" is quite a common boy's name, particularly among Orthodox Jews and in Israel. Among all Jews, both religious and secular, the toast "l´chaim", which means "to life", is frequently used when celebrating something, such as one of the high holidays, birthdays, weddings etc. See also the article about "Etz Chaim", meaning "tree of life" for more related information.
Centuries ago, following the defeat of Greek ruler, King Antiochius, a Jewish priest named Judas Maccabbee reclaimed and rededicated the Second Temple of the Jewish people. Putting an end to the tyranny of the King was a grand feat. To purify the Temple during rededication, a single lamp was lit in the Temple, although there [...]
Tallit or the Jewish prayer shawl is one of the many important religious items used by the Jews. The Jews wear it over their outer clothes to cover heads during morning prayers, Shacharit, as well through the other prayers too. The textual reference of the shawl however suggests that the Tallit must be worn only [...]
The many holidays that the Jewish community celebrates year round are very much the part of Jewish religion. The holidays have both religious and cultural significance. Jewish holidays are full of rituals and Jews, as they stay very rooted to their culture, observe the holidays very solemnly.Jewish holidays can be categorized as major, minor and [...]
In the year 1945 a rabbi named Eliezer Silver was sent to Europe. His purpose was to help gather and collect any Jewish children that were hidden during the Holocaust. Typically, most of these children were hidden by being placed with non-Jewish families. Naturally, the biggest question that people ask when they hear this story [...]