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Do any segulos work statistically?
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amother




OP


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 4:25 pm
I sometimes see someone post that they did a certain segulah and achieved the desired result. An example would be shidduchim. Obviously, many are doing the segulah and it isn't working. Many are not doing the segulah and hashem is giving them the desired result anyway.
Is there any segulah that people believe work from a statistical standpoint, and not just a "what do you have to lose standpoint"?
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youngishbear




 
 
 


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 4:46 pm
I think the minute you examine and scientize a segulah, the most important component is lost.

A Shrodinger's Segulah, if you will.
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iyar




 
 
 


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 7:29 pm
I never understood the story of shrodinger's famous cat, youngishbear. But I think I know what you're saying.
In any case, a segulah is not magic. It's not like saying alakazam! and your dh turns into a frog. Or your pet frog turns into your dream dh. Wishing for a segulah that works like magic won't help you.
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amother




OP


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 8:20 pm
iyar wrote:
I never understood the story of shrodinger's famous cat, youngishbear. But I think I know what you're saying.
In any case, a segulah is not magic. It's not like saying alakazam! and your dh turns into a frog. Or your pet frog turns into your dream dh. Wishing for a segulah that works like magic won't help you.


Actually, segulah's come pretty close to meeting the literal definition of magic. That is to say I can meaningfully influence an outcome by doing something that seemingly has very little to do with the outcome.

If you tell me that 1000 homes are infested with mice. Everyone calls an exterminator. However, 500 homes also hang pictures of reb shayele kerestir all over which is a segulah for getting rid of mice. If the homes with reb shayales picture got rid of the mice at a much better rate than the homes without his picture, well we call it a segulah, but it actually meets the definition of magic.
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youngishbear




 
 
 


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 8:34 pm
My point about the cat is that the act of observing it affects the outcome.

I think the idea of a segulah is to do an act of hishtadlus that may derive its power from emunas Hashem, emunas chachamim, or respecting mesorah. If we start examining its actual effects in a scientific way to verify whether it works or not, we are robbing it of the emunah peshutah or whatever it derives its power from.

I am personally not a segulah person, but I respect those who do them out of genuine emunah.
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iyar




 
 
 


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 8:38 pm
youngishbear wrote:
My point about the cat is that the act of observing it affects the outcome.

I think the idea of a segulah is to do an act of hishtadlus that may derive its power from emunas Hashem, emunas chachamim, or respecting mesorah. If we start examining its actual effects in a scientific way to verify whether it works or not, we are robbing it of the emunah peshutah or whatever it derives its power from.

I am personally not a segulah person, but I respect those who do them out of genuine emunah.


If the act of observing it affects the outcome isn't that the Heisenberg principle?
(Shrodinger's cat had something to do with quantum physics I think. Not my strong point.)
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mirror




 
 
 


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 8:51 pm
I have heard of two that work well. Based on Rashi by Avrohom Avinu. If you daven for someone else, and you need the same thing, Hashem will answer you first. Basically if Hashem is waiting to give you something and you are missing one zechus, then davening for someone else will bring you up a level and give you the zechus you lack. If for whatever reason Hashem decides that this thing would not help you reach your potential, then even if you daven day and night for hundreds of people it still won't "work". Hashem can still help you out in other areas of your life in this merit.

The second is if someone insults you and you don't answer back, this is the opportunity to daven for something you need. This works the same as above. If Hashem is waiting to give you something but you are missing a zechus, then getting insulted and not responding will bring you up to the level you need to deserve this thing. If Hashem decides this thing is not good for your path in life, then even if everyone insults you and you don't respond and you daven, it won't work for this particular thing. However, Hashem can help you in other areas of your life in this merit. I am very fortunate that someone insulted me recently. I used this opportunity to daven for my friend so I got 2 segulos in one! Wink


Last edited by mirror on Mon, May 20 2019, 8:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother




OP


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 8:54 pm
youngishbear wrote:
My point about the cat is that the act of observing it affects the outcome.

I think the idea of a segulah is to do an act of hishtadlus that may derive its power from emunas Hashem, emunas chachamim, or respecting mesorah. If we start examining its actual effects in a scientific way to verify whether it works or not, we are robbing it of the emunah peshutah or whatever it derives its power from.

I am personally not a segulah person, but I respect those who do them out of genuine emunah.


What do you mean you are "not a segulah" person?
I'm not either, and to me it means that if we take 100 sincere people full of bitochin and emunah. 50 of them do a certain segulah in order to achieve a certain result, and 50 don't do the segulah. It will be completely random with regard to who achieved their desired result and who didn't.
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youngishbear




 
 
 


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 9:15 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Actually, segulah's come pretty close to meeting the literal definition of magic. That is to say I can meaningfully influence an outcome by doing something that seemingly has very little to do with the outcome.

If you tell me that 1000 homes are infested with mice. Everyone calls an exterminator. However, 500 homes also hang pictures of reb shayele kerestir all over which is a segulah for getting rid of mice. If the homes with reb shayales picture got rid of the mice at a much better rate than the homes without his picture, well we call it a segulah, but it actually meets the definition of magic.


I don't agree with the bolded because technically tefilah also meets this definition.

And צדקה תציל ממוות...
And other outcomes that seem to be causally unrelated in the physical sense, but we know for a fact from the Torah and chazal that physical acts can have spiritual power.

To me it seems like segulos have become almost hocus-pocus, employing apparently random acts that don't seem to have spiritual significance, like hanging a picture, to effect physical changes. Nevertheless, if the person doing them does have spiritual intent, like emunas chachamim, who am I to discount its potential power?

And yet the scientific cynic in me wants more textual or empirical proof that these acts have value of any kind if/before I do them.

So I'm a segulah skeptic, but I acknowledge that other people might know something I don't.

"There are more things in heaven and earth... Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Which is why I said if we cynically start testing segulos to prove their validity, we may be losing the very thing that gives it power.

In addition to the fact that it is Impossible to determine objectively whether a particular segulah user had the proper spiritual intentions, etc.
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miami85




 
 
 


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 9:22 pm
I will say that the amount of times I have said "Amar R'Binyamin..." to the proximity of me finding my lost object, more often than not cannot be chalked up to pure coincidence.

I think of segulos like "vitamins"--they are not "regulated by FDA for effectiveness and potency..." but we take them to support what should be nutritious diet. We still need to daven, give tzedaka and do other mitzvos, but these can help bolster our avoda.

I heard it explained that "Amar R'Binyamin..." is the being aware of Hashem running the world and helping us SEE everything, that we are being aware of His control of the world and therefore saying even just the pasuk of "Hakol b'chezkas sumin." and bringing this awareness to your foreground can arouse His help to find a lost object.

We also have to remember that everything will happen in its time. I was an "older single" and I went to several "brachos parties" and I found it ironic that at the time I was seriously dating my husband was during the 9 days and I was invited to a brachos party where they davka couldn't have wine/grape juice. But still it was explained that even if we couldn't have that specific bracha to say amein to, "It's all good". and I got engaged shortly after tisha b'av.

Then by my wedding I wanted the special tefilla l'kallah, to say under the chuppah, but no one prepared it for me, and I was advised "Hashem knows what you need...you can say tehillim"
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mirror




 
 
 


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 9:23 pm
youngishbear wrote:

And צדקה תציל ממוות...
And other outcomes that seem to be causally unrelated in the physical sense, but we know for a fact from the Torah and chazal that physical acts can have spiritual power.


Hashem created this world combining nature and miracles. Within the natural order of the world there are loopholes. Davening is one such loophole. I recently met a gentile couple in the park. The black husband grew up in a bad neighborhood. He said most of his friends died of gunshots. He said he was also shot and showed me his bullet scar. I asked him how he survived. He said he prayed to G-d every day. He now drives a truck and has a wife and children.
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ectomorph




 
 
 


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 9:51 pm
youngishbear wrote:
My point about the cat is that the act of observing it affects the outcome.

I think the idea of a segulah is to do an act of hishtadlus that may derive its power from emunas Hashem, emunas chachamim, or respecting mesorah. If we start examining its actual effects in a scientific way to verify whether it works or not, we are robbing it of the emunah peshutah or whatever it derives its power from.

I am personally not a segulah person, but I respect those who do them out of genuine emunah.

Loved your analogy
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amother




OP


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 9:59 pm
mirror wrote:
Hashem created this world combining nature and miracles. Within the natural order of the world there are loopholes. Davening is one such loophole. I recently met a gentile couple in the park. The black husband grew up in a bad neighborhood. He said most of his friends died of gunshots. He said he was also shot and showed me his bullet scar. I asked him how he survived. He said he prayed to G-d every day. He now drives a truck and has a wife and children.



I've always went with the theory that the ways of hashem are mysterious. It's easy to look at a story in retrospect and figure out the puzzle. The reality though is that we don't find that people who daven live longer, avoid tragedies, or literally any metric you can think of that can be labled as good. That just seems to be the way the world works. If there is a single thing you can point to in this world, where people that daven are on one side, and those that don't are on the other side, I'd love for you to tell me.
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ectomorph




 
 
 


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 10:04 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I've always went with the theory that the ways of hashem are mysterious. It's easy to look at a story in retrospect and figure out the puzzle. The reality though is that we don't find that people who daven live longer, avoid tragedies, or literally any metric you can think of that can be labled as good. That just seems to be the way the world works. If there is a single thing you can point to in this world, where people that daven are on one side, and those that don't are on the other side, I'd love for you to tell me.


Many studies show that people who pray live longer

https://www.google.com/amp/tim.....3famp=true
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MitzadSheini




 
 
 


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 10:20 pm
I think the premise of the question is all wrong.

We are not here to get what we want.

We are here to serve Hashem, iow to mould what we want to the Ratzon of Hashem. (and then btw we do end up getting what we want).

So the reason that the segulah for finding lost objects that is brought down in the gemara is "ok" is because it opens your eyes to the way that Hashem runs and is in charge of the world. If done correctly I think you are left with a feeling if "I'm so glad that I lost this object because it has given me an opportunity to reconect with Hashem, and to give tzeddaka which I wouldn't have done otherwise. It doesn't even matter if I don't find the object, finding it will just be a nice bonus".

My experience is that most segulahs don't work like that. They are about instrumentalising Hashem, trying to get Him to do what WE want. That's why they are very peoblematic/assur.
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MitzadSheini




 
 
 


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 10:27 pm
Adding- it depends what you mean by "work". If the measure if whether a segula "works" is "did I get what I was asking for?" then I would say it was not a kosher segula to begin with. But if by "did it work" you mean"did the segula help bring my will closer to Hashem's Ratzon,?" , then I think the segula is more likely to be ok, and that is a conversation worth having.
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amother




OP


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 10:31 pm
ectomorph wrote:
Many studies show that people who pray live longer

https://www.google.com/amp/tim.....3famp=true



Fair enough. I don't want to get this into apikorsis territory, but the reason religious people who pray live longer is because they feel their life has meaning. They also are happier because they are able to rationalize bad things by saying gd has a plan that we don't understand. I don't think you can say that it is a reward from gd. Do frum jews have in the US or Israel who daven to hashem live longer on average than Buddhist people in Japan who pray to a completely fictitious made up gd?
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smileforamile




 
 
 


Post  Mon, May 20 2019, 11:55 pm
I'm a segula cynic. You want a segula?

Focus more on your davening. Say extra tehillim. Be careful with how you treat other people. Work on emunah. Work on your marriage. Parent your kids with more patience.

(Come to think of it, these are good ideas for me. Very much in need of an overall yeshua.)

המבקש רחמים על חבירו והוא צריך לאותו דבר הוא נענה תחלה - I don't like the whole "daven for me and I'll daven for you" thing. It seems so selfish: I'm davening for you so I'll be answered first.
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Tue, May 21 2019, 12:04 am
I can't imagine any segula holding up to scrutiny.

Don't forget the role of confirmation bias. If you expect that wearing a blue coat will cause you to get to work on time then you only remember the times that you wore the coat and it worked, not the times it didn't work.

If a segula doesn't violate halacha, doesn't hurt anyone and doesn't cost money, I don't think there's a downside. The placebo effect is real, and if people want to feel good, then go ahead. Just don't ask me to go to along with it.
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agreer




 
 
 


Post  Tue, May 21 2019, 12:43 am
smileforamile wrote:
I'm a segula cynic. You want a segula?

Focus more on your davening. Say extra tehillim. Be careful with how you treat other people. Work on emunah. Work on your marriage. Parent your kids with more patience.

(Come to think of it, these are good ideas for me. Very much in need of an overall yeshua.)

המבקש רחמים על חבירו והוא צריך לאותו דבר הוא נענה תחלה - I don't like the whole "daven for me and I'll daven for you" thing. It seems so selfish: I'm davening for you so I'll be answered first.


I once heard a really beautiful dvar torah on this thought, but I don't remember who said it. The rabbi said that this segulah works even though you know "why" you're doing it. Even if it is selfish, and even if the only reason you daven for someone else is so you'll get what you want, you should still daven for someone else, because that's how important davening is. It was a lovely message.

Another "proven" segulah is giving maaser and then gaining wealth. Hashem says "Test Me" and doesn't "mind" if you only give maaser to get rich. He's happy to help you. I've heard this over and over from so many people in the business world.
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