“Torah Kissing Before a Journey”


We have a fancy book of Torah from Iran in our house that we keep near the door. Everytime one of us is going on a trip or somewhere particularly important we do this thing where someone holds the book over your head at the doorway and you walk under it, turn around and come back inside under it, kiss the book and then exit the house from under it. You’re not supposed to turn around and look at the house again until you come home. It’s symbolic and about going back to honor your traditions and having the Torah be the last thing you see or do before going somewhere.


My mom was the one who first taught me about it when I was really little. The first time I remember her teaching it to me was when we were going to the hospital for my little brother to be born. I was three years old. I like the tradition a lot because it makes me feel protected somehow. I don’t think of myself as really superstitious, and I’ve never noticed a correlation of like amazing outcomes for events with this ritual, but it always made me feel better somehow. Especially since the book came from Iran, I think I liked that part best, cuz it made me feel like my ancestors had my back or something.


We do it whenever something significant is happening. I don’t think there are like specific guidelines – it’s kinda like knocking on wood for good luck right? You just kinda feel it out and decide what you want to do it for. I did this before I took my SAT’s, before leaving for college, and other important events like that. It was also for events like my brothers being born, so it’s not just a personal thing I guess – you can do it to wish luck on someone else if you’re going to an event that you want to go well in general.

My Thoughts:

I think it was cool my informant made the comparison to knocking on wood because while she was telling me the story, I was pretty forcefully reminded of that ritual because my family practices it. I really appreciate that this version creates a strong connection to ancestors and faith in family. By participating in it, my informant both draws upon her personal family history and contributes to it for future generations.