which means "Life" is one of the most recognizable
symbols of Judaism. Comprised of the letters Chet and Yud, together they form
the word "Chai" - a word that reflects the importance of life in Judaism.
The "ch" in Chai is pronounced like the -ch in the word, "Bach"
and NOT like the "ch" in the word "choo-choo."
According to the Gematria, a Jewish mystical tradition that assigns a numerological
value to Hebrew letters, the Chet has a value of 8 and the Yud has a value of
10, adding up to the number 18 (Hebrew is read from right to left). Because
of this, the number 18 represents good luck and gifts are often given in multiples
of Chai, or 18. It symbolizes giving the recipient the gift of "life" or luck.
The Chai symbol is often worn on a necklace, like other Jewish symbols such
as the Star of David and the hamsa. It is a popular symbol also seen in sculptures,
paintings, plaques, and tapestries.
A celebratory Jewish toast is "L'chaim!," which means, "To life!" Below is
a clip from the classic movie, "Fiddler on the Roof" where the song,
"L'Chaim" is sung to celebrate an upcoming planned marriage (which
L'Chaim! from "Fiddler on the Roof"
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