What does the red string in Kabbalah mean?
Wearing a thin scarlet or crimson string as a type of talisman is a Jewish folk custom as a way to ward off misfortune brought about by the “evil eye”. The tradition is popularly thought to be associated with Kabbalah and religious forms of Judaism.
The red string itself is usually made from thin scarlet wool thread. It is worn as a bracelet or band on the left wrist of the wearer (understood in some Kabbalistic theory as the receiving side of the spiritual body), knotted seven times. The person has to knot it 7 times while saying the kabbalah bracelet prayer.back to menu ↑
In relation to traditional beliefs
Red strings around the wrist are common in many folk beliefs; for example the kalava is a Hindu version. There is no written mention in the Torah, Halacha, or Kabbala about tying a red string around the wrist. It seems to be a custom that has been around since at least the early 1900s.back to menu ↑
A scarlet thread, tied about the wrist, is mentioned in Genesis 38. Tamar becomes pregnant by her father-in-law, Judah, and gives birth to twin boys. The following verses about this event are taken from the King James Bible:
Genesis, chapter 38:
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27 – And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.
28 – And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.
29 – And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Perez.
30 – And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.
Today in Israel, it is common to see elderly women peddling scarlet thread for pilgrims and tourists, especially in the Old City of Jerusalem. Outside of Israel in the late 1990s the red string became popular with many celebrities, including many non-Jews. Led by Madonna and her children, and including Sasha Cohen,, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ariana Grande. The wider popularity is often linked to Philip Berg’s controversial Kabbalah Centre.