Most non-Jews know the phrase "L'chaim", but not many know precisely what the
term means. It is a Hebrew phrase that means "to life", and it is frequently
confused with the word "chai" by non-Hebrew speakers. While both words relate to
life, "L'chaim" means "to life" but "chai" means "alive".
Chai forms the basis of common names given to many Jewish children: Chaim for
boys and Chaya for girls.
Chai is immediately recognized in its written form, but many think of it more as
a symbol rather than a specific word. This could be in part due to the
numerological associations that many attach to it. The word is formed by
combining the letters "chet"' and "yod" and actually creates a very fluid
symbol. This is why it so frequently appears on jewelry. While you will often
see it appearing on its own as a pendant dangling from a chain, it is also a
figure that is used as a base for Hebrew text or as a symbol with another sort
For instance, you might see the famous Hamsa, which is a hand symbol that is
used to ward off the evil eye, with the Chai in the palm area of the hand
itself. You will also see filigree designs that form the word Chai, and which
are often made of silver or gold. Chai is also frequently placed inside of a
heart, atop small disks or figures made of gold or silver, or even shaped
entirely of diamonds or other gemstones.
It is found in both the biblical or ancient Hebrew lettering as well as in the
more modern Hebrew scripts too. This makes it an easily recognizable and yet
very flexible sort of jewelry to choose. Whether given as a gift or selected as
one of your preferred pieces, Chai jewelry from the Judaica Webstore is very
unique and stylish.