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The reply is currently minimized ShowThe toast alludes to the nine Grand Originals mentioned in the catechism given at the Festive Board and who were associated with the First or Holy Lodge, the Second or Sacred Lodge and the Third or Grand and Royal Lodge.
As it is usual practice for the recipient of a toast to remain seated, and the Grand Originals cannot be present, we as their present day representatives remain seated.
As to the question of why we drink with the left hand,to quote from Harry Mendoza's "Fifty RA Questions Answered": (page 48).
"It has not been possible to establish when the idea was first mooted of holding the glass in the left hand whilst drinking this particular "toast". It is not universal practice; nor are there sound reasons for its use. There are many who find unsatisfactory the reasons usually given, namely because the heart is on the left side of the body, or because it is in the Royal Arch that the only sign given with the left hand is used. It is a harmless enough custom, but those advocating it should not be dogmatic about its use".
A further comment on this matter may be found in Nehemiah Ch 4 - it is verse 17 in the English but verse 11 in the Hebrew - reads
4:17 They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
If they were working with their right hands (which is the Biblical norm) then they would be holding a weapon in their left hands.
That is why the sash goes on the right hip, whereas most weapons are held on the left hip, to enable them to be drawn by the right hand. At one stage it was customary to fight duels with the sword in the right hand and a shorter stabbing implement in the left hand, so it is not unknown for weapons to be carried in the left hand.
If therefore the left hand in this instance is the sword hand, the toast is drunk with the left hand to indicate the absence of concealed weapons.
To quote from a website http://encyclopediaoffreemasonry.com/t/trowel-and-sword/ that
"In the Fifteenth Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, or the Knight of the East, which refers to the building of the Temple of Zerubbabel, we find this combination of the Trowel and the Sword adopted as a symbol."
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