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Chai Symbol - what is the meaning?

Chai Symbol – what is the meaning?

You may often see Chai symbol on various jewelry items and a variety of ornaments.

What does it mean? It is aHebrew word “Chai” that means “life”.


This word in Hebrew consists of two letters: “Chet” and “Yud”.

Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has its numerical value.

The letter “Chet” corresponds to the number 8, and the letter “Yud” to the number 10.

Together these two letters make number 18. So, the Kabalistic numerical value of the word Chai is 18. According to the Jewish tradition, donations for the charitable purposes must be a multiple of 18.

blue mezuza with david star and chai


The Chai symbol became popular quite recently. In a form of an amulet it’s in use only since 20th century.

In the Judaism life is highly valued; therefore the word Chai is one of the most important words and concepts in the Jewish religion.

The famous prayer “Shemah Israel” also speaks about significance of the Chai.


The well-known Jewish toast in drinking to a person’s health and well-being is “L’chayim” – “for life!”

There are two common Jewish names that take their origin from the symbol Chai – it is Chaya for a woman, and Chayim for a man.


chai hamsa key chain


Although, this symbol does not bear any particular religious meaning, and, in fact, is nothing more than a souvenir or adornment, some people refer to it as to a kind of protecting amulet.

Chai pendants are often presented as a birthday gift for the eighteenth birthday.

We would like to conclude this article with the slogan  “ʿAm Israel Chai!” (עַם יִשְרָאֵל חַי, “The people of Israel lives!”)

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