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At the beginning of episode 2 of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, we see this drawing of two hands with inscriptions that use Hebrew letters. (Click for larger image.)

still from episode 2

This appears to originate from Kabbalah: I found a similar image on the Jewish Virtual Library, where at the very least, the assignment of יה and וה to different hands matches up.

image from JVL

However, I can't figure out if the text in the palm of the hand corresponds to something in real-life, and the letters on the fingers also don't seem to match up with those in the image I found from the Jewish Virtual Library. (It's of course possible that they do, and that I simply have too much difficulty reading them.) I also remember seeing a comment on Reddit saying that some Hebrew text in Fate/zero made no sense at all before, so I'm not discounting the possibility that the anime producers just made something up.

Can someone help shed light on the issue of whether the details of the hands shown in FMA:B have any real-life meaning?

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The way the hands are positioned is reminiscent of the priestly blessing, and יהוה (aka the tetragrammaton) is the holiest name for God in Judaism.

That being said, If you look really closely at the hands in the book from FMA, the letters inscribed in the fingers don't appear to be Hebrew letters at all, but Japanese kana:

The ones I could make out were の (hiragana no), カ (katakana ka), ヨ (katakana yo), ロ (katakana ro), つ (hirgana tsu), ヒ (katakana hi), ニ (katakana ni).

In all likelihood, whoever drew this scene saw the image from kabbalah and decided to adapt it into what we see here.

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    I also read somewhere recently that the animators for Evangelion decided to use imagery from Christianity and Jewish kabbalah simply because it looked cool. In this case, the imagery is somewhat relevant given the subject matter, but I have a feeling the same sentiment applies. – HotelCalifornia Feb 19 '17 at 0:24
  • One last note: the text is not actually in the palms of the hands (notice the positions of the thumbs!) :) – HotelCalifornia Feb 19 '17 at 0:28
  • Thanks for the suggestion about the Japanese characters: I was trying to read the characters (in the word processing sense of the word) as Hebrew and got confused, but did notice that one character looked a lot like ヒ. Note though that the tetragrammaton is יהוה, not והיה. – Maroon Feb 19 '17 at 1:29
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    With my comment on the palm, I was referring to what appears to be עלילנלו לגה. Though, looking at it again, a run through Google Translate gives me utter gibberish (nothing that even resembles English), so maybe it's something the creators made up. (Google Translate is hit or miss, but at the very least, if I run, say, the Hebrew text of the song "The Prettiest Girl in Kindergarten" through it, I'll get actual English words, even if they don't make much sense in combination.) – Maroon Feb 21 '17 at 1:30
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    looking at it again, I notice what looks to be a final letter (first row, second from the left) occupying a position that doesn't seem to be the last letter in the word, which adds credibility to the "creators made it up" theory – HotelCalifornia Feb 21 '17 at 1:50
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I'm a native Hebrew speaker, and it doesn't really have any meaning. There's also Hebrew in the 4th ending, and there are some real words in there but no actual sentences, so I'm 99% sure that it is incidental. Also the script in the palm of the hands in the picture above is in fact Hebrew, but like someone else has commented the fingers contain random scribbles and Japanese kana (I also speak Japanese lol). The script used in the picture from the Kabbalah is actually the exact same Hebrew font as the one from the other pic, just not the same letters. They use a font that is quite similar to the one used in religious texts.

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