Monday, June 29, 2009

this red monday: hai pendant

chai/hai (חי) means "living" in hebrew. it's related to the word chaya which refers to a living thing or an animal. both are related to the word chaim, meaning life. the jewish (hebrew) toast on happy occasions "lachaim" means "to life".

among jewish scholars there is a system of assigning numerical value to the hebrew alphabet called gematria. gematria is not only found in the "mainstream" rabbinical literature, but also playes a great role in the more mystical jewish kabbalah practice (yeah, that thing that gets madge groovin').

the letters spelling chai in hebrew is ח and י. according to gematria they make up the number 18, which has made it a spriritual number in judaism. i'm not exactly sure what you are to do with a spiritual number, but i guess you might feel you are about to have a lucky day, if you, say, dreamt you had 18 cupcakes for breakfast.

i know that i would feel like one lucky cupcake myself if i had the necklace pictured above from israeli designer anssi on sense of fashion. this red hai is made of perspex and she's got a red star of david too. but i like the chai - or hai - better.


other shades of red this monday are also to be found on sense of fashion, like this tribute to the ramones, handpainted red chucks from brazilian artist bruneca aka bruna veloso. she's got a lot more coolness going on, so check her chucks out. also awesome, but obviously not red at all, is the bang! necklace from british designer hoolala.


  1. yes 18 cupcakes for breakfast would be lucky... love this post. have a great week!

  2. So interesting! Hebrew/Jewish culture is endless. Love that!

  3. I love your stories from/about Israeli culture. Very very interesting.
    And the necklace is gorgeous!!

  4. Are you yourself a scholar? "lachaim" is a very meaningful thing to say when toasting.

  5. you are writing about this in such an accessible way - great! and so interesting. can i also book you to explain other things to me?! ;)

    love the necklace as well. hebrew script is so very beautiful and i really like the meaning!

    have a good day.

  6. Love the necklace and the meaning. Very beautiful! Thank you for sharing a piece of history. Have a golden day! xoxo

  7. The necklace is beautiful.
    All the years I've seen the Hebrew character and I never knew about the 18.
    You made my day, and brought some luck,
    my favorite number and the number of my birthday is 18.
    Le'chaim to you!

  8. i never realized there was a symbolic link! out of curiosity, i just lined up these letters with the numbers, and 'yud' is indeed the tenth letter of the alphabet, and 'chet' is the eighth. great cultural lesson - thank you!

  9. Beautiful and informative post. I never knew. Thank you for sharing.