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What is a hamsa?

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A hamsa is a Jewish talisman shaped like a hand. It is used to deter the "evil eye," the source of all world evils that cause harm to humans, according to the Jewish Virtual Library. The name stems from the Hebrew word "hamesh," meaning five.

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A hamsa talisman consists of three fingers extended straight out with two symmetrical curved fingers on either side. Sometimes the two side fingers are simply shorter but not curved, and often an eye appears in the center of the hand. There are many theories about what the hamsa represents. Common theories include the five books of Torah, the Hand of Fatima (a daughter of Mohammed the Prophet) and the Hand of Miriam (sister of Moses), states About Religion.

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