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Unread 09-19-2004, 02:49 AM   #1
stwill
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Question clasping hands

Why is it considered undesirable to clasp hands, with interlacing fingers?

I read somewhere (kfar Chabad?) that the Rebbe made a comment to a person who had sent a picture in which his wife had her hands clasped.

Answers I've heard: a. It's a sign of Aveilus b. Something to do with Chesed and Gevurah.
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Unread 09-19-2004, 01:06 PM   #2
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Re: clasping hands

i heard 1) its a thing goyim do when they bow... 2) i also heard that one hand it Yud Key Vav Kay and the other is Aleph Daled Nun Yud so we dont want to mix it.
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Unread 09-19-2004, 01:12 PM   #3
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Re: clasping hands

Quote:
Originally Posted by BaisHamikdashBa
i heard ... that one hand it Yud Key Vav Kay and the other is Aleph Daled Nun Yud so we dont want to mix it.
Did you ever see a Sephardic siddur?!
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Unread 09-19-2004, 01:18 PM   #4
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Re: clasping hands

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Originally Posted by Yankel Nosson
Did you ever see a Sephardic siddur?!
what does that mean? i heard it from one of the Rebbes dr., i dont remember how it came into the farbrengen but it did...
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Unread 09-19-2004, 02:24 PM   #5
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Re: clasping hands

The story I remember was about a partially completed painting that was submitted to the Rebbe. In the painting, the Rebbe's fingers were "clasped".

The Rebbe said that he doen't hold his hands that way, and asked that it be corrected. It may be this was for Tifenbrun's famous black and white painting, but I'm not sure. (For this painting the Rebbe gave him mashke or wine to mix into the ink).

The Rebbe's practice was to flex his holy hands, often with the fingers partially intertwined during sichos and farbrengens. I heard that this was upon recommendation of his doctors to allieve arthritis.
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Unread 09-19-2004, 02:27 PM   #6
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Modeh Ani

Off topic: has the custom of holding ones hands together during modeh ani been disussed on CT?
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Unread 09-19-2004, 05:58 PM   #7
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Re: Modeh Ani

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Originally Posted by RavSiach
Off topic: has the custom of holding ones hands together during modeh ani been disussed on CT?
just to note, its a different type of holding.
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Unread 09-19-2004, 08:25 PM   #8
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Re: clasping hands

Quote:
Originally Posted by RavSiach
. It may be this was for Tifenbrun's famous black and white painting, but I'm not sure..
I have met the artist with whom this story took place, and it was not Tifenbrun [unless it happened with more than one person..].
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Unread 09-19-2004, 10:14 PM   #9
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Re: Modeh Ani

Quote:
Originally Posted by RavSiach
Off topic: has the custom of holding ones hands together during modeh ani been disussed on CT?
http://www.chabadtalk.com/forum/show...ht=mode%2A+ani
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Unread 09-20-2004, 12:07 PM   #10
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Re: clasping hands

The story took place in front of 770, when the artist Refael Nuriel unveiled his painting in front of the Rebbe.In the orignal painting the Rebbe's hands were not entirely crossed,as the two top fingers were not crossed. The Rebbe told him that since it is forbidden to have fingers crossed (the Rebbe showed him with his hands)and it looks like it is crossed, he should remove that part of the painting.
When he came back to the Rebbe after fixing the painting the Rebbe told him "It is better than the orignal".
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Unread 11-18-2007, 08:46 PM   #11
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Unread 12-13-2010, 06:21 PM   #12
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Thanks! It's printed in Me'otzar Hamelech, p. 234.
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Unread 12-19-2010, 11:48 PM   #13
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[quote=stwill;81258]Why is it considered undesirable to clasp hands, with interlacing fingers?[quote]

see ARSA end of siman 91.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 04:44 AM   #14
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The Zohar writes that when a harsh judgment is issued against a person, C'V, his fingers will unwittingly begin moving, and the fingers of his two hands will become interlocked. As interlocking hands is a sign of harsh judgment, it is improper for a person to intentionally hold his hands in this position. The Ben Ish Chai, in Parshas Pinhos, cites this Halacha in the name of the Arizal.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 09:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosheh5769 View Post
The Zohar writes that when a harsh judgment is issued against a person, C'V, his fingers will unwittingly begin moving, and the fingers of his two hands will become interlocked. As interlocking hands is a sign of harsh judgment, it is improper for a person to intentionally hold his hands in this position. The Ben Ish Chai, in Parshas Pinhos, cites this Halacha in the name of the Arizal.
Chillin brought ARSA 91, which only mentions that it is inappropriate to lock hands together during prayer, and suggests that the interlocking of fingers symbolizes harsh decrees and should therefore be avoided. I do not want to start an argument here, but one should be very careful before using the term "halachah" to describe anything based mostly on Kabbalah or even symbolism. The Alter Rebbe does not call the above a din in Shulchan Aruch; he just makes suggestions that are based in some part on Kabbalah. Even to call this "based on Kabbalah" perhaps ascribes undue significance; the symbolism is pretty clear: interlocking of fingers symbolizes bondage. This likely has more to do with adopting an attitude of Chesed and Cherus, rather than one of Din and Avdus, than with the appropriateness of interlocking your fingers. If that attitude of Cherus and Chesed so permeates your existence and your attention to detail that you refrain from symbolizing "bondage" by interlocking fingers, then all the better.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 10:37 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Malkizedek View Post
Chillin brought ARSA 91, which only mentions that it is inappropriate to lock hands together during prayer, and suggests that the interlocking of fingers symbolizes harsh decrees and should therefore be avoided. I do not want to start an argument here, but one should be very careful before using the term "halachah" to describe anything based mostly on Kabbalah or even symbolism. The Alter Rebbe does not call the above a din in Shulchan Aruch; he just makes suggestions that are based in some part on Kabbalah. Even to call this "based on Kabbalah" perhaps ascribes undue significance; the symbolism is pretty clear: interlocking of fingers symbolizes bondage. This likely has more to do with adopting an attitude of Chesed and Cherus, rather than one of Din and Avdus, than with the appropriateness of interlocking your fingers. If that attitude of Cherus and Chesed so permeates your existence and your attention to detail that you refrain from symbolizing "bondage" by interlocking fingers, then all the better.
I just quoted the Ben Ish Chaï who considered it as a Din, without expressing any opinion.

In the same reference, the Ben Ish Chai also says that one should not hold his hand behind his back. This is obvisouly something I do almost every day while walking in the street. I don't consider it as a din. I was just quoting what was his opinion (that it is a din), so to add to the discussion at hand.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 10:39 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Malkizedek View Post
one should be very careful before using the term "halachah" to describe anything based mostly on Kabbalah or even symbolism.
There are many chasidic customs which are mainly based on Divrei Kabboloh.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 10:50 AM   #18
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Quote:
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There are many chasidic customs which are mainly based on Divrei Kabboloh.
Of course. I only added that those customs are not halachah. But I am interested in what the Ben Ish Chai said. Could you tell me where he said it.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 01:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosheh5769 View Post
The Zohar writes that when a harsh judgment is issued against a person, C'V, his fingers will unwittingly begin moving, and the fingers of his two hands will become interlocked. As interlocking hands is a sign of harsh judgment, it is improper for a person to intentionally hold his hands in this position. The Ben Ish Chai, in Parshas Pinhos, cites this Halacha in the name of the Arizal.
What a "coincidence"....this went up today on this website:
http://www.dailyhalacha.com/display.asp
Quote:
Interlocking the Fingers of the Right Hand with the Fingers of the Left Hand


The Zohar Hakadosh, in Vayikra (p. 24), writes that when a harsh judgment is issued against a person, Heaven forbid, his fingers will unwittingly begin moving, and the fingers of his two hands will become interlocked. As interlocking hands is a sign of harsh judgment, it is improper for a person to intentionally hold his hands in this position. The Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909), in Parashat Pinhas (18), cites this Halacha in the name of the Arizal (Rav Yishak Luria of Safed, 1534-1572). This is mentioned in other sources, as well, including the Sefer Hahasidim (by Rabbenu Yehuda Hahasid, Germany, d. 1217) and the Kaf Hahaim (Rav Yaakob Haim Sofer, Baghdad-Israel, 1870-1939). Thus, while it is permissible to place one hand on top of the other, one should not interlock the fingers of the two hands.

The Ben Ish Hai goes even further, writing that one should never place his hands behind his back, and should rather keep them in front of him at all times. Indeed, there are different kinds of spiritual powers associated with the positioning of ones hands and fingers, as Rabbenu Bahya discusses at length.

The Sefer Hazechira mentions that those who are accustomed to interlocking their fingers run the risk of experiencing extreme anxiety, Heaven forbid.

There are many warnings of this kind that we hear as children, and many people are unable to distinguish between those that stem from folklore and superstition, and those which have a clear basis in Jewish tradition. When it comes to interlocking fingers, this is a well-documented warning that originates already from the Zohar and the teachings of the Arizal.

Summary: According to Kabbalistic tradition, one should not merge his hands together such that the fingers of the two hands interlock. According to some sources, one should also refrain from placing his hands behind his back.
See also here - seems Litvaks are not into this...
http://www.bhol.co.il/forums/topic.a...4&forum_id=771

Last edited by Torah613; 08-16-2011 at 06:14 PM.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 05:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malkizedek View Post
I am interested in what the Ben Ish Chai said. Could you tell me where he said it.
See here, at the bottom of the page, at paragraph .
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Unread 08-16-2011, 06:15 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosheh5769 View Post
There are many chasidic customs which are mainly based on Divrei Kabboloh.
Why is this referred to as a "chasidic" custom. Many have this custom, nothing to do with Chasidim.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 06:58 PM   #22
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Why is this referred to as a "chasidic" custom. Many have this custom, nothing to do with Chasidim.
Right!
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Unread 08-21-2011, 08:38 PM   #23
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http://parsha.blogspot.com/2011/08/c...-together.html

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Unread 08-24-2011, 01:43 PM   #24
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That's pretty strong...

Quote:
The Chasam Sofer in Tshuva (OC 51) writes that anyone who mixes Kabbala and Halacha is like mixing wheat and grapes which is an issur of Klei HaKerem that must be burned. Despite the strong language, the Mincha Eluzer says that the Chasam Sofer definitely did not mean this, and he just contrasted it with something else he said for comparison purposes. However with a closer reading of the tshuva it seems clear that the Chasam Sofer did mean what he said. Yet on the other hand we find that the Bais Yosef and the Mogen Avrohom quote Zohar in paskening Halacha. How can this all be reconciled?

Rav Vosner (Shevet HaLevi 1:2) says that the Chasam Sofer's words must be taken at face value. Moreover not only is it assur to mix halacha and kabbala but it is also assur to to mix kabbala of various sources like the Arizal and the Ramak. The reason is because there are many levels and spheres in Kabbala and we do not know what are fair comparisons and what are off the mark.

However if the earlier gedolim relied on Kabbala or used it to pasken in certain places, then we can fully rely on their greatness and it is a mitzva to heed their words. Even the Chasam Sofer (YD 287) himself who spoke critically about mixing kabbala and halacha, paskens a halacha based on a kabbalistic Ramban. But for us to read something in kabbala and try to apply it would only cause destruction and be an aveira.
Also, see this fun discussion: http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2011/0...ha-versus.html

Last edited by FlyingAxe; 08-24-2011 at 09:48 PM.
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Unread 08-24-2011, 04:13 PM   #25
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Also, it seems that the Rebbe placed his hands behind his back (at least when he walked home).
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