I am really lucky to have a wonderful family and a terrific set of friends from all walks of life. American, European, Asian, Hispanic, African American, Jewish, Christian, non-believers, young and older, and the list goes on… One thing they all have in common: They love my Red String.
Two years ago I began wearing a Red String around my wrist. “Why are you wearing a red string on your wrist?” I was constantly asked. You now are aware that I have very inquisitive friends and family. How lucky is that!
This is my response:
“I wear my red scarlet string around my wrist as a type of talisman, thought to have magic powers of protection and bring good luck. The string is made from thin wool thread and is worn as a bracelet on my left wrist with seven tiny knots, all having meaning.
The custom of wearing the red string dates back to Genesis 38 and is worn to ward off misfortune. The tradition is popularly thought to be associated with Judaism’s Kabbalah (the ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible). The string is left on my wrist until it falls off on its own accord, at which time I tie another red strong on my wrist. My last red string stayed on my wrist for exactly one year to the day.”
After explaining the meaning of the Red String, here are some questions I hear, as well as my responses:
- Do I have to be Jewish to wear a Red String? No.
- Do you have an extra Red String to tie on my wrist? I put them on people who mean a lot to me.
- Will it matter if I wear it on my right wrist? Yes. The left side of the body is the receiving side.
- How long will my Red String stay on my wrist if I am lucky enough to have one? There is no set time. It depends on the wearer.
- How will I replace my Red String when it falls off on its own? My Strings are from Jerusalem at the Wailing Wall in the Old City. The Red Strings are handed out to people by poor old ladies for a small donation of your choice. Personally, I will only wear Red Strings from Israel. But you can find them online too.
- How do you feel wearing your Red String? I feel protected by something bigger. And the rest of my feelings are very personal.
- Can I have an extra one for my son? Because you are my dear friend, yes.
Later on I receive emails or texts from family and friends that read, “My Red String fell off! I feel lost without it! Please, send another one soon, if you can.”
And if I can…I do. All from the Holy Land. Thank goodness I just returned from Israel with lots of “blessed Red Strings.”
Do Something GOOD Today: Share one of your favorite traditions with a fellow gramma.