Rabbi Perl Poses for a Lunch & Learn Selfieselfie.jpg

Every Wednesday a Lunch & Learn Lecture is led by Rabbi Anchelle Perl at Chabad of Mineola NY. At the beginning of each class the rabbi pauses to consider a deeper lesson in life from a current news topic.

With the Obama-Castro handshake making headlines, the rabbi discussed the Five + Five: The Meaning of a Handshake.

In an address by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to disabled Israeli soldiers and Paralympics on Aug. 19, 1976, the Rebbe explained the meaning of a handshake and why he would be honored to greet each one individually and shake each of their hands.  

When Jews meet, they take one-another’s hand, expressing the fact that they are one.  This is alluded to through Torah: When the Ten Commandments were given, five were engraved on one Tablet and five on the other. Likewise, when two Jews shake hands, the five fingers of one person meet the five fingers of the other.

Together, they reflect the Ten Commandments, and also the Ten Divine Utterances by which G‑d created the world, which show G‑d’s Divine Providence over every single individual, wherever they may be.

The Power in a Handshake

The Hebrew word for hand-yad, has a numeric value of 14, (yud=10; dalet=4). This coincides with the 14 bones (phalanges) in the fingers of each hand. Thus, in the two hands there are twenty eight (2x14) such bones, so that when two people shake hands they create a bond of 28, which is to say that they fortify each other, 28 being the numeric value of koach, power.