Hebrew Death Hands

Yon is a student at USC who I am close friends with. He is originally from Israel, and this is his first year in America. He speaks with a thick Israeli accent, and jumped at the opportunity to share his culture’s folklore with me.


Performance: “Ok so we have this thing where you cross your hands like this.” Yon then places his hands out, palms towards himself, and overlaps his lightly spread fingers at a diagonal angle. “It spells death in hebrew. Ma-vet. Yeah. The lines in your hands SPELL mavet, which means death.”

And you do it why? because it’s creepy? Because it’s cool?

“Yeah, we just do it.”


Response: This was a very interesting piece of folklore. When you hold your hands at a certain angle, the creases and lines on your palms spell out the Hebrew word for death. Yon didn’t seem to really understand why I was asking why they did it, he said that they simply do. I think this is an example of a cool piece of identity which those who speak hebrew have with the human body. If I looked down at my hands from a certain angle and saw the english word “death” I would think it was pretty cool too.