| FYI |

Five things I wish you knew about… BEING LEFT-HANDED

What is cool, though, is that our brains are different: They are exact mirror images of a “righty” brain!

It is impossible to see from an X-ray or other test whether somebody is right-handed or left-handed. There are no noticeable differences between our bones, muscles, tendons, or anything else in the structure of our hands. What is cool, though, is that our brains are different: They are exact mirror images of a “righty” brain! That makes sense, because for righties, the left side of the brain is what controls their motor function (i.e., the use of our hands) and in lefties, it’s the right side.

Being left-handed can be complex for frum Jews. (Men even more so than women, as tefillin can be a complicated affair!) Things like washing netilas yadayim or holding a lulav and esrog…. We always need to think twice before we do anything with our right hands, because our left hands are stronger and more dominant, making it the automatic hand that we use. Oh, and let’s not forget the Shabbos seudah or any other meal! Righties and lefties sitting next to one another is a recipe for disaster. Our elbows will always bang into each other because I’m eating with my left hand and you’re eating with your right!

We lefties are a unique breed! Only about ten percent of the world’s population is left-handed. In our grade in school, this percentage is pretty precise: out of 76 girls, there are seven lefties.


Of course, there are exceptions to every rule (and this might not even be a rule! Just an unscientific observation?) but you’ll find that lefties have a harder time writing English than Hebrew (or Yiddish) and sometimes it’s sloppier because our hands and arms are going in the wrong direction — similar to righties having an easier time writing English because of the direction. We had a left-handed teacher who made all her checks on test papers “backward.” Try making a check with your left hand — you’ll see it’s easier to write from right-to-left than left-to-right. Also, writing in English with our left hands means that our hands will always get dirty from smudged ink as we rub against whatever we just wrote….

The world seems to produce things for righties. Musical instruments are a big one: We can’t just pick up a “righty” guitar and begin playing — for us it’s upside down! When you play drums, the right hand is generally dominant, so for a lefty to play well, we need to reverse the entire drum set. But even in daily life, this comes up all the time. Take a computer mouse, for example. Imagine if you (righties) had to use a mouse with your left hand all the time. Lots of things just take a little more practice to become habit, but for perfect results, we’d do better with specially designed things for lefties, like vegetable peelers and scissors, among other necessary items.


Have a unique circumstance you wish the world knew about? E-mail us at teenpages@mishpacha.com or fax us at 718-686-0404 with a short summary and your contact info.

Thank you to M.F., Yudit L., and Miri T.!

(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 822)

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