Derech Eretz – Don’t Forget Normalcy and Good Sense

Real Segulot

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

The most important contribution that Jewish mysticism has made, especially in recent times, has been the proliferation of segulot — magical amulets, incantations, entities, tchotchkes, vials of water, red strings, etc. — among the people of Israel. We have thus been able to ascertain with great clarity the varying levels of reverence for G-d, knowledge of Torah, commitment to Mitzvot, and common sense that exist among our people. We have seen how, at one end of the spectrum, Judaism has become almost unrecognizable in its metamorphosis from a religion of reason and rationality, into a series of scams and gimmicks that rob people of a true connection to Hashem.

Almost as importantly, it has sparked a real interest in the genuine segulot — those tried and tested remedies that have come to us through the Torah and the words of Chazal — all of which are guaranteed to connect us to the Creator and bring us closer to His service. I was recently given this list below of segulot by one of my congregants, found in its original form at www.cross-currents.com, and offered here with some of my amendments and additions, which I urge all Jews who yearn for authentic spiritual growth, and a need to ameliorate pressing issues in their lives, to immediately implement.

How fortunate are we that the Creator of the Universe has granted us the secrets to a happy, fulfilling, meaningful and productive life.

Segulah for longevity (I) — lead a healthy lifestyle (Rambam, Hilchot De’ot 4:20)

Segulah for longevity (II) — charity and kindness (Mishlei 21:21)

Segulah for longevity (III) — do not speak lashon hara (Tehillim 34:13; Avoda Zara 19b)

Segulah for recovery from illness — go to a doctor (Berachot 60a, Bava Kamma 46b)

Segulah for marriage — go out and find a suitable wife (Kiddushin 2b)

Segulah for shalom bayit — love and patience (Sanhedrin 7a, Bava Metzia 59a)

Segulah for a happy wife — be a good husband (Rosh Hashana 6b)

Segulah for a happy husband — be a good wife (Shabbat 152a)

Segulah for children — prayer to Hashem (Breisheet 25:21; I Shmuel, Chapter I)

Segulah for Yir’at Shamayim — learning Torah (Avot 2:5)

Segulah for spirituality — learning Torah and observing mitzvot (Megila 6b)

Segulah for answered prayers — pray for someone else who has that same request (Bava Kamma 92a)

Segulah for kavanah in prayer — take it seriously (Berachot 5:1)

Segulah for averting evil decrees — repentance, prayer and charity (Musaf, Yamim Nora’im)

Segulah for avoiding sin — avoid temptation (Sanhedrin 107a)

Segulah for pure faith — don’t believe in segulot (Devarim 18:13)

Segulah for honest parnassah — learn a profession (Kiddushin 30a)

Segulah to prevent drowning — learn how to swim (ibid)

Segulah for happiness — seek out Hashem (Tehillim 105:3)

Segulah for children who will love to learn Torah — be a parent who loves to learn Torah (common sense)

Segulah for the coming of Moshiach today — listen to Hashem’s voice (Sanhedrin 98a)

Segulah for anything and everything — daven directly to Hashem! (Source: G-d; I Melachim 8:28; Yeshayahu 65:24)

From Mesora, here.

You Are Entitled To Your Own Opinions, Not Your Own Facts

Excerpted from here:

What Lithuanian yeshivas do or say makes a difference because they are the gold standard by which everything else is measured. Why do some groups learn? They have to show “we learn Torah too!”  Even Reform and Conservative have to measure themselves by means of the standard set by the Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews). If the Litvaks think something is kosher, that makes it kosher by definition. If they think it is not it makes it not kosher – by definition. Everything has to get past that hurdle. Nothing and no one is exempt, even if they don’t like it. Especially if they don’t like it.

You want to claim something is Jewish? You say the Chazon Ish said it was OK! Or Reb Moshe. Or Reb Aaron Kotler. You don’t say “They learn it in a Breslov yeshiva.” You don’t say some Reform Rabbi says it is OK.

For example when the Na Nach Breslov Chasidim want to show that the “petek” (letter that Reb Odesser thought he received from Reb Nachman) is kosher they go around plastering up copies of the letter of approval (Haskama) that Reb Moshe Feinstein gave to Reb Odesser. Just walk into the synagogue of Reb Nachman in Uman and you will find copies of Reb Moshe’s letter plastered all over the place–and most importantly right in the official notices section. That means if you want to say something is kosher you have to get approval of a Litvak Gadol. Without that nothing can even start.

No one says Reb Moshe is kosher because Breslov learns his books. If you want to say a person in Breslov like Rav Cheshin knows how to learn you say he learns at the Mir yeshiva. You don’t say someone knows how to learn because they learn in Breslov.

עולם כמנהגו נוהג

אופייה של יהדות-ההלכה הוא אנטי-מליצי, אנטי-פאתטי, אנטי-חזוני, ובעיקר – אנטי-אשלייתי.

Was Rabbi Aaron Kotler a Brisker?

A quote from here:

Reb Aharon and The Brisker Derech

I’m really astonished when I hear certain individuals say that Reb Aharon’sderech in learning was like the Brisker derech. It was not Brisker. Anyone who was in the shiur who has any brains at all cannot say that Reb Aharon was a Brisker. His style was altogether different. His style was binyan, and he told me personally that a svorah, you could say this way or that way, but you never know the truth. If you have a raya, then you know where you’re going. Then you know what the truth is. If you have a cheshbon and it fits together, then you know it’s true. But a svorah you can say any way you want. Svoras don’t mean anything. He was very much against stam sayingsvoras.

The Brisker way is a lot of saying svoras. Saying svoras this way, sayingsvoras that way. He was very much against that style. He wanted people to learn and to know and he just didn’t believe in it.

I once asked him when they were selling Reb Boruch Ber. I was very enamored with the sefer. You couldn’t get it at that time. Seforim were hard to come by. Now there’s a tremendous abundance of seforim.

But with that sefer, there was a shailah that the people who had originally printed it claimed that the new printer had no right to print it. But it was being sold and I asked the Rosh Yeshiva if I was allowed to buy it.

The Rosh Yeshiva said, “Yes, you’re allowed to buy it.” But he also said, “You shouldn’t look at it until after 11:00 at night.”

He held that you have to learn the Gemara, Rashi, the Rishonim, whatever you should learn, and listen to the shiurim, and that’s it. You want it? Look at it 11:00 at night. You want to look at another sefer? Okay. But basically, that’s what he held, and whoever told you otherwise, it’s just a story. No question about it.