Allegorical Nonsense

An allegory. Nonsense. Put them together. Okay, not really.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Holding our Fingers

My boss at work just called me to let me know that they are מחזיקים את האצבעות ("holding their fingers") for me, that I may do well in my exam tomorrow. While thanking him for the thought, I couldn't help thinking about this phrase, which I had heard previously, but never got around to writing about (and thought, unblogged, is such a fleeting thing, don't you find?).

The question is, I think, obvious - what is the relationship of the above to the phrase "crossing our fingers"? The wise web-page "Words to the Wise: Your Etymological Queries Answered" offers the far-less-certain-than-I-would-have-expected hypothesis that the latter is connected to the crucifixion of Jesus, with possible pagan precursors (cf. on both counts "touch wood" - see, for instance, this potentially unreliable resource which backs me up), which would then suggest that the Hebrew phrase is a modern spin-off with the deletion of the Christianity reference (cf. the "plus" sign used in some Israeli text-books, which is missing the "south" pointing axis, leaving it the shape of an inverted squat upper case "T").

And from here, I throw the floor open to anyone who can shed further light on the origin of the Hebrew phrase. I hope there are some interesting answers - otherwise, what a waste of a post (after all, blogspace is not cheap) ...



Post a Comment

<< Home