Because of its rich and sometimes confusing heritage, kabbalah red string is worthy of special note. In the modern view, a kabbalah red bracelet indicates, first, a desire to identify as a
kabbalist, and second, a hope of protection from negativity and evil eye. Interpreting these motivations is both relatively accurate and absolutely incomplete.
Those who choose to display a kabbalah red bracelet indicate not a temporary attachment to a dependent principle such as beauty, but a lifelong commitment to God as God is revealed to oneself. Similarly, the hope of protection is not a wavering uncertainty, but an already established covenant. The kabbalah red string is not an automatic technique but a proclamation that any power of evil that may come will only work for the good of the one in covenant with the ultimate.
Our first knowledge of red kabbalah strings is of that worn by the patriarch Zerach ben-Yhudah at his birth. The
midwife tied what was essentially a kabbalah red string around his wrist, intending to signify his being the firstborn; but Zerach
withdrew his hand and his twin brother Perezh was born first. Among other things, this indicates that Zerach not only had the special gifts due to the firstborn by right, but also waived his right to these advantages in a reflexive act of selflessness: his brother Perezh received the privilege of being in the royal line leading to King David, and the coming Messiah as well.
Later, Rachav of Jericho was saved from the city’s destruction by tying a kabbalah red string in her window; her trust in the word of the Jewish spies and her physical act of proclamation led not only to her salvation but also to her becoming the mother of Boaz and mother-in-law of Ruth, placing her also in the line of Perezh and David. Still later, in Shir Hashirim, the wife of Solomon (who is also in the Davidic line) is said to have lips like a scarlet thread. By the interpretative method of remezh, these three illustrations indicate the kabbalah red string symbolizes having received a special covenant with the God of David, and a submission to the principle of malkhuth or kingdom, represented in both the olam hazeh (the current age) and the olam haba (the coming Messianic Age).
Because of this connection becoming popularly recognized, by Talmudic times it was considered both common and superstitious to see that “a man ties … a red thread on his finger”. This and similar practices were classed as drashei Emori (Amorite ways), to be scrupulously avoided. As it has been noted, if the intent is based on reason (such as if a string around one’s finger represents a covenant for someone to remember something else), it is permitted; if the intent is based on uncritical fear (such as if a bracelet is worn because everyone else wears them), it is forbidden.
In the modern view, the traditional meaning of covenant relationship has often been narrowed to only protection from evil eye. To be sure, the humble kabbalah red string does ward off the lust of the eyes from both oneself and others. Its deeper abilities to assist in dispelling negativity are related to the degree to which it is actively used and recognized as a means to experiencing God through proclamation of covenant.
One can either make or buy kabbalah red string, and both ways have their own benefits. It is possible to buy kabbalah red string that has previously been wound around the rock of Rachel’s tomb in Israel, although some such claims have been exposed as fraudulent. If extra efficacy or resonation with universal energy is obtained by this process, it would be consistent with kabbalah beliefs, but with a connection to Rachel’s tomb becoming something of a fad, it is not likely that most such kabbalah string actually absorbs sufficient extra energy or resonation through the potentially commercialized process. What is most essential to energy efficacy is the bracelet wearer’s ability to spread kabbalah by articulating the underlying covenant.