What Makes the Chai a Valuable Motif?
The word “chai’ translated from Hebrew to English means “life.” Within the Jewish faith, the word “chai” possesses both numerical and symbolic meaning.
THE NUMERICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF CHAI
In Judaism, the word “chai” is numerically significant and the number 18 is universally synonymous with this word. Numerically, the words consists of the eighth (8th) and tenth (10th) letters of the Hebrew alphabet Chet (ח) and Yud (י), adding up to eighteen the number 18, which is also the word “Chai”. According to Jewish traditions and scriptures there are prayers, including the Amidah, commonly referred to as “Shmoneh Esreh” (which translates to “the 18”) and refers to the eighteen individual prayers. There is a deep connection drawn upon the word ‘chai’, its meaning ‘life’ and the numerical value of the letters that comprise this word.
THE SYMBOLIC MEANING OF CHAI
Traditionally, the Jewish religion, similar to many other religions and cultures, place an emphasis on the significance of life. As such, the literal translation of the word “chai’ to ‘life is meaningful on its face.
In addition, individuals who observe Judaism or identify with the religion are generally guided by basic principals which include characteristics such as kindness, thoughtfulness, selflessness and remaining good natured, both morally and ethically during life on Earth. In addition to the number 18 or numerical significance, the “Chai” is a recognizable symbol commonly worn on necklaces and engraved on rings.