Monday, July 16, 2012

Segulah Glitch

We are in an age of segulos. But one thing people fail to realize:

When a segulah was first done, it wasn't done with any sort of expectation. The person was full of emunah, with faith, with love for Hashem, and did something to reflect that. If Hashem chose to answer his call, all the better. 

But nowadays we fail to take that emunah into consideration. No matter how selflessly we execute a segulah, there is always a percentage of our outlook which says: "That worked for him." That small voice turns the segulah from a selfless, religious gesture to a stunt.
So I offer an alternate; instead of following patented segulos, how about we invent our own? And since they haven't been test-run, there will be no expectations of success and our motivation will be pure, as it should be.  

I don't mean something without meaning like snipping off a lock of a kallah's hair and putting it into your face cream, or reciting Tehillim backwards, or starting an archeological expedition to find the exact location of the well where Yaakov first saw Rochel. I just heard one that made me cry: Hand-grating the potatoes instead of using a food processor for kugel.

A woman sent a story to the local paper stating her desire, as a married woman, to do something for her single friends. What did she do? Every segulah possible on her friends' behalf (mostly involving challah). There was no mention of, say, trying to set up her friends, or inviting them over so they can meet new people, or describing them to her own acquaintances on the possibility that they knew someone for them.  

We should focus more on helping others, yes, but by actually helping others. Rav Steinman said that miseries in life are occurring out of lack of bein adam l'chaveiro. I believe Hashem is more impressed by our interpersonal relationships than anything else, because: 
I sought my God and my God I could not find.
I sought my soul but my soul eluded me.
I sought my brother to serve him in his need,
and I found all three—my God, my soul, and thee.
(I first saw this in this Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb shiur.)

Other people don't take away from our relationship with the Eibishter. Au contraire, without them there would be no relationship at all. Just be kind and pleasant to everyone. It's the new proven segulah


Mystery Woman said...

lol@snipping off a lock of a kallah's hair and putting it into your face cream. Who else but you would think of something like that? :)

FrumGeek said...

I'm pretty sure it mentions in the Gemara somewhere a segula for making money. It's called 'working'. (no, that's not a joke)

Really, I don't understand why people refuse to take practical steps to solve their problems, but instead rely on old wives tales that have no basis in Halacha or anywhere else for that matter.

Sparrow said...

Why couldn't that have been a joke? It sounds like the right sense of humor.

At the end of the day, I see Hashem at work so often in my life that I'm a bit more worried about being worth the effort than about filing additional requests.

aminspiration said...

Whenever someone mentions a segula i get very skeptical. Most of these things are without sources and are mostly something someone said..and it just catches on because people are so desperate these days.

My opinion-Daven, talk to G-d. Thats the best segula.

MIghty Garnel Ironheart said...

Segulos are as old as Jewish culture and pretty much useless.
There was a recent article in The Jewish Press in which a rabbi shared his exasperation with segulos. Did you know that if you go to the mikveh while you're in labour the baby will come out healthier? And did you know that if you sleep with a copy of the Noam Elimelech under your pillow from the time of conception you'll have no complications during your delivery or pregnancy?
Segulos are shortcuts. I don't want to work (no, that funny line isn't in the gemara but a variation of it is) so I'll twirl my lightsabre (I have two, one for regular, one for Pesach) over my head three times each morning while humming the Battle Hymn of the Republic. It's a segula for wealth! So much easier to do.
Bottom line: Do your best to serve God and be a decent person to everyone. Best segula for success in life.

Meshugana said...

I think I saw the best response to segulas in the hebrew edition of the sefer "Nishmas Avraham." I believe it was in the introduction. I shall paraphrase if my memory serves me right.

Often people inquire about certain segulos. Whether it works or doesn't work, whether it is a segula or not. I don't have an answer, but I can tell you this. The torah says, "v'atem tiyihu li segula mekol ha'amim." [You shall be unto me a treasure (segula) above all nations.] All I know is that if you heed the Torah, that is the best segula.

Princess Lea said...

MW: I have a one track mind.

FG: When I saw "Ushpizin" I wanted to throw something at the screen. My whole family was screaming, "Get a job!"

Sparrow: I think exactly the way you do. I see the hand of Hashem so clearly that for me to claim that I know something better than Him makes me stay quiet. For the most part.

AmI: I find it so easy to converse with Him, so to speak, why would I resort to some hoodoo voodoo?

MGI: Ha! And here I am, stuck with a dinky blaster. And that's what it is. A shortcut with no effort.

Meshugana: I think everyone has just been mistranslating the word "segulah."