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amother




OP
 

Post Fri, Aug 12 2022, 4:19 pm
In honor of Tu B'Av...

Everyone loves a good segula story, right? Especially when it "works", meaning, the desired yeshua came about in the time frame that you can proudly tell all and sundry- you see? I did xyz for 30 days or 40 days, and on the last day- we had a lechaim (or we found out we were expecting, or the lawsuit was dismissed, vechulei.)

There's nothing like a segula story to give you those feel-good vibes.

But did you ever wonder what happens to those people who try the segula and it doesn't work? You probably don't; why would you? People don't usually talk about it. Because, let's face it, they don't make for very interesting stories.

But I think all of us, even the most skeptical, even the most litvish- misnagdish, non emotional ones among us, likes a good Segula story.

So here's a story:
Many moons ago, around this time of year, I redt a shidduch. The boy was already 25, an only child, born after many years of childlessness. The mother of the boy, who I knew from my sister-in laws bungalow colony, was a very emotional, sensitive type.

When I thought up the shidduch, I first called my sister-in-law to ask her if she thought it was a good idea. I also wanted her to redt it, because I didn't think that lady would take me seriously (I was very young at the time.) She hemmed and hawed enough to let me know she thought it was a terrible idea. What she actually said was "look, it's probably a great idea, but since it was your idea, why don't YOU call her to redt it. You never know!"

I knew my sister in law well enough to know that if she thought it was a good idea, she would have been happy to redt it, especially since she dabbles in shidduchim and because she was the one who urged me to think of someone- anyone- for her friend's son. But it was clear that my sister-in-law thought it was way off but thought I might be hurt or something if she told me. Instead she gave me her friend's number (who I had maybe met once) and urged me to call her myself.

So I went out of my comfort zone and called the mother of the boy.

To my surprise, the lady listened to me very attentively. She took down the info (this was in the days before resumes) and asked for details. She called back several days later with a yes. The girl said yes as well. The couple went out once, twice. After the second time, the boy had this to say: "She is a fantastic girl, but I think she is too good for me."

That was creative, I thought. If you are going to reject a girl, just say she is too good for you. Both his mother and I urged him to give it another shot, and he reluctantly agreed.

After the third date, it was a Thursday night I remember, I got a call from the mother.
I picked up the phone and I heard sobbing. Yes, sobbing. She was bawling into the phone.

You can imagine that it was just a tad uncomfortable for a young shnook like me to be listening to a grown woman cry.

When she finally could get the words out, she told me that her son doesn't want to continue, and there was no changing his mind. I listened to her cry for a while and then I asked to speak to the young man. He came to the phone and continued to insist that there was no use contuing.. the girl was a tzadeikes, and he just was not.

The story actually gets super interesting, but I won't tell you how it goes because I'm afraid someone may recognize the people involved
Sorry, really.
All I will say is that they did eventually resume dating and then got engaged.

After the engagement, the mother shared with me why she took the news so hard when her son had said no.

What happened was that several days before I called to redt the shidduch, she was sitting in the bungalow colony circle when someone suggested that they take upon themselves to say tehillim for 40 days as a zechus for something. She took upon herself to say tehillim as a zechus for her son to get engaged.

4 days later, she gets a call from me redting her this shidduch. So, hey- this must be her segula at work! She was all ears. Even though maybe in the past she would have immediatly rejected such a suggestion, since she was actually expecting some sort of miracle, she took my suggestion seriously.

She had a gut feeling that THIS. WAS. IT.

Well, her son went out, one twice, three times and then wanted to call it off. That's why she fell apart. She had been so sure it was going to happen, becuase she was doing the segula! (There was more to the story about why she had it hard with her son, but again , I don't want to give too many details.)

BH, for all involved, the shidduch got back on track and they got engaged. They are married now with many kids and living happily ever after.

That's story number one.

Here's story number two.

A few weeks ago, I was lounging around on Shabbos afternoon when my sweet daughter handed me the Circle magazine, and, pointing to a story, said "read this". (For the uninitiated, the Circle Magazine is officially a kids' magazine, but many women and even men will admit that they read it weekly from cover to cover. I guess we are all kids at heart.)

There was a story in a column about emuna.

The story went like this:
There was an older bachur who got engaged. At the end of his vort, his younger brother, around 9 years old, pulled him to the side and said he wants to show him something. He showed him a small piece of paper he had tucked into his siddur. On the paper he had written, "I, Ploni Almoni, take upon myself to say the bedtime Krias shema from a siddur every night, with kavana -concentrating on the meaning of the words, for 30 days, as a zechus for my older brother, Menachem, to get engaged"

He wrote the Hebrew date he started and the date he would end.
The last day was that day- the day of the vort.

The brother was very moved by what his brother had done and he started spreading around the story, and, as all these things go, it was written up somewhere.

Another boy, let's call him Yosef, read the story and thought to himself, why don't I do the same for my older brother?

He wrote his kabbala on a small piece of paper, with the dates.

He started saying the shema, every night with great diligence. He never missed a night
Somehow, inexplicably, he forgot the last night. He woke up the last morning and realized that he had missed saying Shema the night before. He was distraught and burst out crying. His father asked him why, and he shared with him what he had done and what happened.

His father thought for a minute and said, "you know what? You said it every night, and you missed just one day. So maybe make it up tonight. Then you'll have 30 days. "

The father knew something that the son didnt, and that is that his older son was on the verge of getting engaged. He got engaged that night, the last of the 30 days.

That was story number two.

Now, here is my story:
So, being the wise mother that I am, I knew why my daughter wanted me to read it. She was hinting to me that maybe I should do that for my older daughter who is in shidduchim. I just smiled and thanked her but didn't say anything else.

Now, it's not that I don't believe in segulas. I think segulas are wonderful. But I don't actually believe that that's what is going to cause my daughter to get engaged. I think Hashem has a plan, and He will make events unfold in His own time.

Still. The story was a nice one, and by the time Shabbos was over, I decided that, shidduch or not, I can take a kabbala on myself. It's not like the segula involves pouring water on my head under a full moon while eating pomegranate seeds. This segula was about saying Krias shema from a siddur. It was a beautiful thing to accept.

Truth be told, I had stopped saying Shema from a siddur years ago, probably when sleep ceased to exist for me as a first-time mother. These days I basically mumble a shortened version of shema before falling asleep.

So this was a good kabbala for me, it seemed, though I knew it would be hard.

That very Motzaei shabbos, I sat down and wrote my kabbala on a small piece of paper, counted the days in the calendar and started saying shema, with kavana, from inside a siddur.

Did I really think my daughter would be engaged within 30 days? No, not really. But IF it DID happen, it would be a fun story to tell. And it COULD happen, right? Right?

It didn't take more than 3 nights of saying Shema inside, with kavana, to realize that I had taken on a very big commitment. Reason was that I was in middle of working on something that required a lot of concentration, and the only time of day I could have that kind of concentration was in the evening. So I would stay up working until the wee hours of the morning, every night. By the time I was done, my batteries were basically gone.

But I kept at it. Night after night. There were nights that I went to bed, only to remember that I hadn't said the shema, and I got out of bed, put on a robe and went to the couch to say it from a siddur. Did I have the best kavana? I think, as the days wore on, my kavana slackened, but I hoped it still counted.

But there was one thing I knew and that was that I wasn't going to continue this after the 30 day commitment. I had committed to 30 days, but I knew that any kabbala I took upon myself to do forever, had to be reasonable for my lifestyle. And I wasn't ready to commit, forever, to doing something that required me to be a human at 3 am, or whatever time I went to sleep.

I also was aware, as the days wore on that more names than usual were being suggested for my daughter. Nothing too serious, but just more activity than usual. (We didn't get any "yesses", only names thrown at us, like, is this in the ballpark, type. )

But to think that an engagement can happen so fast...well, anything is possible. But we don't really do those instant shidduchim that some people do.

Two days before the 30 days were up, I got a call from a friend of mine. She had redt my daughter to a boy about 6 months ago, and they didn't seem interested. Suddenly they called back with a yes. It was really out of the blue, as she didn't know that the family was even looking into my daughter.

This was a nice surprise, to say the least, and I started doing my research. The more I researched, the more right it seemed. This boy had certain qualities that my daughter was specifically looking for, traits that were not necessarily typical. I had a very good feeling about it.

We gave a yes. Meanwhile, my 30 days had come to an end, and I stopped saying shema from inside a siddur.

My daughter went out with him, and came home very disappointed. Without getting into details, it was not a slam dunk. She did agree to a second date, but then ended it.

So that's my segula story.
Yeah, I know, you expected a happier ending. Sorry.

You may wonder, if I had kept at the Shema in the siddur thing, would it have ended differently? Who knows?

But I still believe Hashem has a plan, and the right one will come along at the right time.
And maybe I should start saying shema inside a siddur again. With kavana.
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amother




Trillium
 

Post Fri, Aug 12 2022, 4:48 pm
I love, love, love your attitude!!

A year and a half ago I did something tremendously difficult in the zchus that my dd should get engaged. And after that, we also had a lot of names redt and she even dated one guy many times and we thought they were getting engaged. And they didn't. And the names slowed down.

And I'm really, really angry at Hashem. Even though I know I have no right to be angry. But my dd isn't young, although she's not very old. And this was such a tremendous sacrifice. Much harder then saying shema every night. And she's still single. And it hurts. But you've just inspired me. So thank you!
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amother




OP
 

Post Sat, Aug 13 2022, 9:56 pm
amother [ Trillium ] wrote:
I love, love, love your attitude!!

A year and a half ago I did something tremendously difficult in the zchus that my dd should get engaged. And after that, we also had a lot of names redt and she even dated one guy many times and we thought they were getting engaged. And they didn't. And the names slowed down.

And I'm really, really angry at Hashem. Even though I know I have no right to be angry. But my dd isn't young, although she's not very old. And this was such a tremendous sacrifice. Much harder then saying shema every night. And she's still single. And it hurts. But you've just inspired me. So thank you!


My heart hurts from reading this. Thanks for sharing...I can't imagine how painful this must be for you.

And I think your story illustrates a little the risk of investing too much in a "segula" in order to get something out of it.

Segulos are hyped up to be something akin to one of those machines, where you put your money in, push some buttons, and out pops a can of soda or a snack. And when nothing comes out, you start shaking it and banging on it angrily.

And then the kabbala you made- or in your words, the "sacrifice" you made- seems like it was for nothing, and instead of bringing you closer to Hashem, actually makes you feel more distant. And that's really a shame.

I don't fully understand the nature of segulos. I know it's not all superstition because many gedolim have revealed to us certain segulas. But it clearly was never meant to be like a magical charm.

I think its just meant to be a pathway to bring us closer to Hashem, and sort of show Hashem that we are willing to go the extra mile. We hope that He will favor us with that thing we yearn for, becauae we assume that the thing we want is good for us. But maybe its not? Maybe the timing isnt right?

Obviously, nothing we do will override the Master plan, so we just have to continue davening and trust that Hashem is doing what is best for us.

I give you a bracha that your daughter find her bashert quickly and smoothly, and that your anger towards Hashem turns to love.
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amother




Zinnia
 

Post Sat, Aug 13 2022, 10:46 pm
I was in shidduchim many years. I did all kind of segulas. Many people took upon things as a zechus for me. I did Perek Shira 40 days many many rounds, Shir Hashirim at netz. Completed tehillim without a break. I found that many times I completed a big thing, I got a new name. I never gave up. After lots of years and tries- my shidduch was redt on the 40th day of one cycle.
My good friend is still single and I've done lots of these things as a zechus for her. It's sad when they don't work, but I feel like it's the least I can do. On a recent round I decided to add on tefillos for an acquaintance who also needs a shidduch. She got engaged on the 40th day of my cycle. I don't have much to do with her, but it was very validating to feel like Hashem acknowledged my efforts. Obviously it's not the right time for my friend yet, but I believe my tefillos are helping bring the right one closer.
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amother




Saddlebrown
 

Post Sat, Aug 13 2022, 11:17 pm
The first story….I’m glad it worked out in the end, but I sure hope that mother had some more reasons to push her son to go out besides for just a “feeling” because she did her segula. I mean, Chas Veshalom imagine what could have happened if you pushed your daughter in the third story because you believed in your segula.
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amother




OP
 

Post Sat, Aug 13 2022, 11:26 pm
amother [ Saddlebrown ] wrote:
The first story….I’m glad it worked out in the end, but I sure hope that mother had some more reasons to push her son to go out besides for just a “feeling” because she did her segula. I mean, Chas Veshalom imagine what could have happened if you pushed your daughter in the third story because you believed in your segula.


Good point.

I think the mom probably paid more attention to my suggestion because she was open to something happening. On the surface, it didnt seem like the families were a match. But she still checked out the girl and felt she was right for her son.

But when the son said no after the third date, the mother could not change his mind. What actually happened, in short, is that he bumped into a rebbe of his who asked how things are going in shidduchim, and when the boy shared that he just finished a parsha, the rebbe advised him to try again with this girl. So he agreed to a fourth date because of his rebbe. And then things turned around.
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amother




Bluebell
 

Post Sat, Aug 13 2022, 11:34 pm
Op, do you think that segulos would pass a statistical test? Meaning if we compare a large sample of people who are doing segulos with a large sample of people who aren't that the first group would have better outcomes?


If not, then I believe that segulos are a hoax. They also mislead people and cause tremendous heartbreak when people are let down when they don't achieve their desired result.


I don't accept that "it gets us closer to hashem". A childless couple who takes on a segula that doesn't work is more likely to be pushed further from hashem.
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amother




OP
 

Post Sat, Aug 13 2022, 11:52 pm
amother [ Bluebell ] wrote:
Op, do you think that segulos would pass a statistical test? Meaning if we compare a large sample of people who are doing segulos with a large sample of people who aren't that the first group would have better outcomes?


If not, then I believe that segulos are a hoax. They also mislead people and cause tremendous heartbreak when people are let down when they don't achieve their desired result.


I don't accept that "it gets us closer to hashem". A childless couple who takes on a segula that doesn't work is more likely to be pushed further from hashem.


Honestly I have no idea. I know very little about the subject.

To my mind, there are three categories of "segulos"

1. The type of segula that tells you to jump 6 times while tapping your head, then eat a vegetable that was boiled with a rock and 5 cinnamon sticks. Like, it doesn't seem to make any rational sense.

2. The second type of segula is more like a kabbala that you take on that is meant to increase your avodas Hashem. Take on Shabbos early, say extra tehillim, bench from a siddur, etc. These make sense to me because essentially you are doing something you know will bring you closer to Hashem.

3. There are segulos that tell you to say tehillim in a certain order, for a certain number of days. Or to give a certain amount of tzedaka, no more and no less. This is kind of like a combination of one and two because we all know that tehillim and tzedaka work, but we don't know why we should do it precisely in that way.

The problem with dismissing it all as a hoax is that most if these segulos are brought down by holy people. They can be found in legitimate seforim. Dayan Fischer, zt"l was famous for his segula to turn around a breech baby. I know about it because I personally experienced it. It involved drinking water in a certain way from a specific stream of water outside of Yerushalayim.

I recently heard a shiur from Rabbi Wallerstein where he read from a sefer and quoted a segula that involved standing outside and letting the rain drip on your head. (I can try to provide the link if anyone wants. )

But in all of these things, I don't think the segula was ever meant to be a gaurrantee. We don't control events or have a way to c"v manipulate Hashem into giving us what we want. I think they are just meant as a good thing to do to somehow open the pathway for the shefa bracha.
As long as the person keeps that in mind, she should hopefully not be hurt when things don't happen the way she hoped they would.
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amother




cornflower
 

Post Sun, Aug 14 2022, 3:48 am
I love your writing style! And I'm considering doing a segula for my older single sister now Wink
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amother




Lily
 

Post Sun, Aug 14 2022, 3:54 am
Two stories:

DH knows a man who got engaged and married later. One year, someone convinced him that he should go to uman for Rosh Hashanah and rabbi nachman would help him get engaged. He booked tickets, but last second he cancelled. That year he got engaged. He told dh that he is so grateful he didn't go to uman because he would have thought that uman is what made him get engaged.

Another story:
Dh has a female cousin who got engaged and married later. Her brother is close to a certain rav who lives near where dh and I live. This brother asked dh to go to the rav for a bracha. Dh has his own reasons why he doesn't like this rav so he hemmed and hawed. The sister got engaged anyway.

Moral of the stories:
Sometimes segulos seem to work, but the desired event would have happened anyway.

Make of that would you will.
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Aug 14 2022, 9:31 am
amother [ cornflower ] wrote:
I love your writing style! And I'm considering doing a segula for my older single sister now Wink


Thanks! Let us know how it goes:)
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Aug 14 2022, 9:56 am
amother [ Lily ] wrote:
Two stories:

DH knows a man who got engaged and married later. One year, someone convinced him that he should go to uman for Rosh Hashanah and rabbi nachman would help him get engaged. He booked tickets, but last second he cancelled. That year he got engaged. He told dh that he is so grateful he didn't go to uman because he would have thought that uman is what made him get engaged.

Another story:
Dh has a female cousin who got engaged and married later. Her brother is close to a certain rav who lives near where dh and I live. This brother asked dh to go to the rav for a bracha. Dh has his own reasons why he doesn't like this rav so he hemmed and hawed. The sister got engaged anyway.

Moral of the stories:
Sometimes segulos seem to work, but the desired event would have happened anyway.

Make of that would you will.


You make a good point.
I think that going to a tzaddik, or to the grave of a tzaddik, for a bracha or interference is a whole other ball of wax. Not exactly a segula.

What I wrote above about the different types of segulos boils down to taking on something that is hard work, or a way to improve in avodas Hashem vs. Doing something that is not explainable according to yiddishkeit or rationality.

And I think going to a tzaddik for a bracha, while a very acceptable and holy practice- does not require any change or work on the askers part. So in that way, it's the same as the first type of segula.

In fact, in most of the stories of Rav Chaim ztvk"l , I don't recall hearing that he gave a bracha and it was mekuyam. Rather, he advised people to increase in Torah learning or to take something else upon themselves as a way to generate a yeshua.
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freilich




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Aug 14 2022, 11:25 am
Hey I hope you don't mind me asking. But are you the potato kugel lady?
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Aug 14 2022, 12:16 pm
freilich wrote:
Hey I hope you don't mind me asking. But are you the potato kugel lady?
Hi

Btw, making potato kugel is a well known segula, did you know?
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amother




Begonia
 

Post Sun, Aug 14 2022, 12:24 pm
It's about the only segula story I've heard of that I like. I firmly believe we have challenges from Hashem and we should grow closer to Him from them. So take on personal kabbalas in your avodas Hashem for the sake of Hashem, get closer to Him, become a better person. When you're a new person Hashem may decide the new you doesn't need this pain and He'll remove it. But I hate prescribed segulos without a source. If there's a source brought down by chazal for a specific issue that makes sense to try. But yes always keep the attitude of doing what you should be doing for Hashem and hopefully as a result you'll also have your challenge eased. I very much want your daughter to get engaged quickly but I'm glad you shared this lack of a happy ending story. For every segula story that worked there's probably at least 100 that didn't, I find them extremely uninspiring. But thank you for sharing this one
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amother




Bluebell
 

Post Sun, Aug 14 2022, 12:37 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
You make a good point.
I think that going to a tzaddik, or to the grave of a tzaddik, for a bracha or interference is a whole other ball of wax. Not exactly a segula.

What I wrote above about the different types of segulos boils down to taking on something that is hard work, or a way to improve in avodas Hashem vs. Doing something that is not explainable according to yiddishkeit or rationality.

And I think going to a tzaddik for a bracha, while a very acceptable and holy practice- does not require any change or work on the askers part. So in that way, it's the same as the first type of segula.

In fact, in most of the stories of Rav Chaim ztvk"l , I don't recall hearing that he gave a bracha and it was mekuyam. Rather, he advised people to increase in Torah learning or to take something else upon themselves as a way to generate a yeshua.



Since when does hard work and avodas hashem lead to tangible results in this world? If anything the righteous are often suffering down here.

Do you think for example tzadikim didn't get covid as much as others? Do you think because they work hard and dedicate their lives to doing avodas hashem that this translates into good things happening or avoiding bad things?
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Aug 14 2022, 4:34 pm
Ok these are loaded questions which I am not qualified to answer. But since no one else did, I'll attempt to share my perspective. Maybe others can chime in with better answers.

I think it's basic Jewish philosophy that Hashem promises us good in this world and in the next if we live our lives according to the Torah.

The Torah and gemara are full of statements saying that if we do certain things, we will see good in our lives. Give Maaser, you won't lack parnassa. Honor your parents and you will live long years. Being careful with tznius is supposed to give physical protection.

Jewish lore is filled with stories about people who were careful with certain mitzvos and saw revealed miracles as a result.

And yet we also see tzaddik Vera lo, and rasha vetov lo all the time.

So obviously every individual has their journey. And Hashem wants different things from each person, according to his level.
It says about the Imahos that Hashem made them barren because He desires their tefillos, which the commentators explain was a vehicle by which they could create a more intimate relationship with Hashem. Because when you lack something fundamental like a child, it spurs you on to seek out a closer relationship with the Creator of all things through tefilla.

I think many of us can relate to the idea of feeling more connected with tefilla when we were going through difficult times in our lives.

So to answer your question, yes, I do think that increasing in tefila and hard work in avodas Hasem can lead to tangible results in this world.

To quote Rav Chaim again, there was a famous story in which he advised a childless couple to seek out someone who was insulted and did not answer back. The bracha from such a person would be effectiv, he said. . That's hard work.

And someone who does the work often is able to tear up the terrible decree. Along with teshuva, tefilla and tzedaka which are given as tools to change a bad decree.
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amother




Mintcream
 

Post Sun, Aug 14 2022, 8:13 pm
Here's my question: What about all of the people who got engaged without ever doing a segula?
Where do they fit into everything?
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Aug 14 2022, 8:31 pm
amother [ Mintcream ] wrote:
Here's my question: What about all of the people who got engaged without ever doing a segula?
Where do they fit into everything?


And people who get pregnant immediatly, and people who have amazing shalom bayis effortlessly, and people who have very easy parnassa.....

Everyone has their own challenges. Everyone. Literally no one is exempt. And even if you don't see them, they are there.

So if someone got engaged easily and quickly, that was not their area of challenge.

And each person has their own way of dealing with their challenges. Some will unfortunately allow their challenge to make them bitter. Many will go the segula route. And many will use their challenges as an impetus for self-reflection and growth in avodas Hashem.
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amother




Blueberry
 

Post Sun, Aug 14 2022, 9:08 pm
Freilich,

You asked the question on my mind that I was too hesitant to ask!! : )
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