Friday, July 25, 2008

Segulah's work if you believe

I'm always up for those segulah things. If someone wants I'll say shir hashirim in a group with 40 girls (I've done in a virtual group), or say it 40 days in a row keeping people in mind. I can't think of anything else, but generally I'm up for it if its not completely ridiculous.

Last year two days before Purim my friend called me up and told me that a bunch of single girls are commiting to say shir hashirim, and keep each other in mind at a certain time. She asked if I were willing to do it. They didn't have the 40 girls, and it would help if I joined them. So I agreed. Why not? Before Purim she called and sent an email to remind me to say it. I said it. I forgot I said it. I wasn't sitting around and waiting for a guy to call me or to miraculously fall from the sky, I just moved on with my life.

A few weeks ago, this same friend im's me and says "Theres a segulah if you say perek - I don't remember which- in tehillim for 40 days, you will find your beshert/zivug (don't remember the exact word she used)."

I guess I must of been in a bad mood or something but I decided to pick a fight. I was like "yea, and why don't you just actually GO OUT. What do you think will happen? You'll say the tehillim and someone will miraculously think of you? Or a guy will bump into you and you'll actually agree to talk to him even though you weren't formerly introduced by a shadchan. Or the fact that you didn't refrence him, will that somehow be ok because its day 41?"

I literally had no more patience. I told her "I can understand people who "compliment" their hishtadlus with segulahs, like the people who go out and who network, who constantly meet new people and try new things. But I cannot understand when a dumb little 19 year old feels she's doing her hishtadlus by having two shadchanim and going absolutely nowhere to potentially meet a guy on her own-{she goes to Touro, works as a teacher etc.} A segulah isn't going to help these people. Gd wouldn't give you a guy unless he already wanted to give him to you. You relying on this segulah is just such a stupid waste of time , and its frustrating to hear about it."

She was like "Thats what you think, if you beleive in segulah's then they'll come true"

I was like "really, what does that mean? If Hashem wanted to send me a guy, but I didnt actually believe he would just solely because of the segulah, he wouldn't send him anymore? But if Gd didn't want to send me the guy, for whatever reason, I'm not ready or he's not ready, or whatever, but I say the tehillim for 40 days, the guy WILL come if I beleive he will?"

She was like " Remember last year when we had all those girls say shir hashirim on Purim?"

Me: "Yes"

She: "Well, half of them are engaged! You see it worked!"

Me: "Wow, you totally have a point there, you mean half a group of FRUM girls in their high teens and low twenties got engaged in a year! WOW, totally must of been the segulah in action. Its like if 100 seminary girls said shir hashirim for forty days, and then when 25 of them get engaged by the September right after their return you say its the segulah. Its how the society is. Those girls are ready to be auctioned off before the parents even name them. "

She: "If you don't beleive it, don't do it"

Me: "Its not about belief, its about the irrationality to think that Judaism is magic. Its about the belief that hishtadlus is solely davening. I can do a million segulot about money, if I never actually enter the work force, I aint gonna get any!"

she: "whatever, call Mrs. H, talk to her, she'll explain it"

Anyway, she said she had to go, and the conversation ended there.

So remember dear readers, A segulah only works if you believe!


Dave said...

And all those diet pills they sell on late night TV work too...

When combined with a restricted calorie diet and lots of exercise!

frumskeptic said...

dave: I love the analogy!!

shoshanat ha'amakim said...

sounds like she has a wacked out understanding of what a segulah really means... a little bit towards the "avodah zara" end of the spectrum.

It seems to me the whole idea behind a segulah is to set aside time (zman kavua) and put certain kavanot into saying the particular tehila or shira. It is essentially a time of tephila and chazal tell us all the way through from the gemarah that tephila can change your mazal (tephila can even change your zivug that was "intended for you." whatever that means.)

point is, the reason why tephila works is because hopefully through tephila - להתפלל - which is a reflective process and is even seen grammatically, you somehow change yourself or maybe something in the world that would put you in a different position to be zoche to get what it is you're asking for. of course, sometimes the answer is just no.

but I kinda like the idea that segulah can be magic. can I get a magic wand to wave while I say it?

Jay said...

The human mind is a powerful tool and can accomplish the seemingly impossible. Segula is an amulet just like tefilin or talit katan. Hatians believe in Voodu and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, for that matter any rebbe is nothing more than The Wizzard of Oz. For crying out loud THE LION ALWAYS HAD COURAGE AND THE TIN MAN ALWAYS HAD A HEART. They just didn't know it. Wake up!

bankman said...

this reminds me of a trip we took to disney recently - the entire theme of Disney this year - and their big parade was Drems come true. They kept saying - "If you believe in dremas, then your dreams will come true!"

i was like - "only" if you beleive your dreams, then they will come true - but if you dont beleive in your dreams - then they are meaningless.

Reminded me of this same thing. Supposedly the ayin hara, and crap like, that was around with the chasidim, but the vilna gaon did not believe in that hokus pokus. and apparently it "went away" because he didnt believe.

Moshe said...

To play the devil's advocate, do you believe what you hear about Dashur and Seifu Glance?

dave, you just reminded me of 2 very funny diets I read about.
Some guy created a Lite Beer diet. He would drink a beer a day while eating less meat, more salads and jogging every day.
The other diet was, I think, created by a woman. It was the reverse diet. She would eat dinner at breakfast and breakfast at dinner. She also cut down on fats, ate more salads and exercised.
The funny thing is that both of those people believed that their diets were unique.

DYS said...

Davening or learning together or in tendem used to be organized to help someone who's sick or to help with a dangerous situation in Israel, etc. Now it's being used for girls to get married!?

One, it's a chutzpah for young girls to think that their getting married is on par with the safety of hostages or someone who's having brain surgery.

Two, thinking that way is symptomatic of the way they think - that they've bought the "shidduch crisis" nonsense hook, line, and sinker.

How about trying to become a better and more mature person instead of living in a desperate state about their single status. And what guy would want to marry a girl who has nothing in her head but getting married anyway?

Basically, these girls should get a life. And learn what real crisis means!

DYS said...

And no, FS, I don't think you think that way, I was just reacting to an aspect of what you were reporting on.

Moshe said...

dude, what's easier, becoming normal or continuing to do the same juvenile crap they did BY?

realistic viewer said...

I heard numerous time that Ayin Hara doesn't work if you don't believe in it. There is a lot to perception. In any case, I've said Shir Hashirim for 40 days (twice - I know very surprising!) and maybe its the mere fact that you are showing Hashem that you are making an effort.
Though personally, I don't know how reading ancient Hebrew texts counts as an effort for getting married. Women - if you want to show Hashem that you are making hishtadlut TAKE COOKING AND PSYCHOLOGY CLASSES.

DYS - you cant tell people that their personal fears, goals and desires are meaningless in the face of national situations. Am I not supposed to worry about my families finances because Iran can get nukes in six months? There are personal concerns and their are national concerns. Don't diminish peoples personal concerns just because they aren't your concerns.

David said...

Segulahs work if you believe, but, the best part is that, when you believe and they DON'T work anyway (like for the 50% of the girls in the example who didn't get engaged), you simply explain it away by saying that you didn't have enough kavanah (i.e., operator error). So, segulahs really work 100% of the time.

Moshe said...

Psychology classes?! What, there's no other "rabbinically approved" majors? Oh, right, if they take anything else, nobody gonna want to marry them, righ?

Are you seriously comparing the "shidduch crisis" urban legend with your family's finances?!

DYS said...

Everyone's concerns are real to themselves and they feel them keenly. what I think is problematic is their elevating those concerns to some sort of community crisis that warrants mass tehillim or segulot. It's that warped perspective that is harmful to these girls and harmful to the frum community as a whole.

FrummeYenta said...

My favorite story is that of the very lazy girl who told her friend that if she pours her a drink, it's a segulah for a shidduch. I could just imagine all the girls out there who heard this story and decided to try it, cuz you never know, and anyway, we're desperate!!

*shakes head*

Ophir said...

Isn't there another segulah, if you wear the kallahs jewelry during the chupah it helps get you married? I think the point of segulahs is that you do something to make yourself a better person and then maybe Gd says you are deserving to find a shidduch. I don't you have to do anything specific. If you say tehillim or perek shira or learn gemara its all the same.

realistic viewer said...

moshe you didn't understand my point. I meant everyones crisis is important to them at that moment. For example you may worry about getting you kids into a school and not being judged for being a BT while someone else would say - boy, moshe wastes his times and has nothing better to worry about.

And yes I think to understand the opposite sex acutely enough not to be overwhelmingly miserable your first few years of marriage requires some psychology classes and some glen livet wouldn't hurt either.

Oh and as I wrote in an earlier comment - I understand why people dont want to be single well into their twenties and even thirties. We judge them. When I see a frum (OR NOT FRUM) not married by 25-26 I judge. If its a guy I usually think commitment issues; if its a girl I think she is too picky.
Oh well :)(:

Moshe said...

Psychology, even abnormal and behavioral, are not gonna help people understand the other sex. What may help is, a keg of beer for Americans or a 1L bottle of vodka for Russians.

frumskeptic said...

I agree with moshe, I dont think its possible to understand the opposite gender. In my family living class, the teacher made us understand one thing, men are all about ego.

I tested that out. My cousin was over our house and we decided to have tacos for lunch. My sister was cutting up the veggies, and I was taking care of the meat. My cousin wasn't doing anything. Then I got a phone call, that I needed to take. So I told my cousin to watch the meat. I told him what to do, and I said I'll be back as soon as I could.

When I was done (took longer than I thought), my cousin had the meat so tiny it was like hte perfect size for the tacos. So I was like "WOW, such a good job, I never have the patience to make it so small" and so, He got SUPER ego pleased, and now he thinks he's hte best taco maker ever, and never allows me or my sister to make taco's if he's in the house.

I got my dad to do a few things also with similar methods. BUT there is NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO way I understand him. I can be a super shrink and I'd never understand the workings of his mind. Its just impossible. And he's family! I doubt I'd understand a "stranger" that I'd end up married too.

frumskeptic said...

And a good segulah for getting married?


DYS said...

When I see a frum (OR NOT FRUM) not married by 25-26 I judge. If its a guy I usually think commitment issues; if its a girl I think she is too picky.

Wow, I guess it's all about perspectve. Trust me, when you get to your late 30's and you still feel young, you'll be amazed at all the 20-somethings thinking time is running out when you'll know that late 20's or even early 30's is in the prime of life and a fine time to get married.

But for most people the only way to get that perspective is to live those years, so I probably shouldn't even bother to try to convince you.

Moshe said...

The problem with marrying in your 30s is not that it's late and all your friends are marrying in their 20s, it's kids. Let's say you're 31. Let's say you get married before you're 32. If you don't have any problems, your first child will be born when you're 32. At least 18 years until marriage and you're 50, unless your child follows suit and then you're 64. You'll be a grandparent only at 65. By the time of bar mitzvah, you're 78 and hopefully still alive. By the time your first grandchild gets married, you're at least 83, if not 97. And this is only the first grandchild of your first child. Your other grandchildren are gonna end up not having grandparents because you were too picky or too afraid of commitment/settling down.
Is there a problem with marrying at 30? No. Is there a problem marrying at 40? No. 50? Go ahead. Buy will you be able to do as much with your children and grand children? No, you won't. You've spent those years being a child yourself and now your kids end up having grandparent instead of parents.

I read a news article about a 67 year old woman giving birth. This is what I call a selfish bitch. She wants to have kids to play with but who's gonna be their mother when they're in school? Some old woman in a wheelchair? What kind of childhood is that?

frumskeptic said...

Moshe: I agree with you. Its important to have children young enough so that you can give them a stable and happy childhood. However, thats not a reason to pressure girls (guys definitly do not get as much pressure) to get married the day they graduate HS.

Moshe said...

Not at 18. But past 25, it's quite appropriate.

Michelle said...


(btw, I'm new here)

DYS said...

The problem with marrying in your 30s is not that it's late and all your friends are marrying in their 20s, it's kids. Let's say you're 31. Let's say you get married before you're 32. If you don't have any problems, your first child will be born when you're 32. At least 18 years until marriage and you're 50, unless your child follows suit and then you're 64. You'll be a grandparent only at 65. By the time of bar mitzvah, you're 78 and hopefully still alive. By the time your first grandchild gets married, you're at least 83, if not 97.

Excuse me? Do you have a clue about what the reason to get married is?? Apparantly in your mind it's all about a race to see how many grandchildren you can have while still around. Extra opoints if you can be there at a great-grandchild's brit!

I agree that having kids when your health is too poor to give them a proper childhood is probably wrong. But the 1st generation you bring into thie world is where your responsibility ends. People should rush into marriage when they're not ready so they can add up the grandchildren on some scorecard? I've never heard such crap in all my life.

DYS said...

Frumskeptic: ...thats not a reason to pressure girls (guys definitly do not get as much pressure) to get married the day they graduate HS.

Moshe: Not at 18. But past 25, it's quite appropriate.

It's NEVER appropriate to PRESSURE anyone to get married. It's appropriate to HELP older singles meet other people. Biut pressure? That's what's wrong with the frum community. No one needs pressure. Almost all frum singles want to get married. Some need help getting there. But pressure just turns them off or forces them into bad marriages.

And in the extremely few cases where someone doesn't really want to get married - then that's their personal choice. Presumably they're aware that not getting married will make them not fit into the frum community, but personal decisions should be respected.

Moshe said...

Help? Go see a shrink. You can't help someone who's picky or can't commit. Either they figure out they have a problem or they end up always being single.

You know what happens when people marry after 40? When their kids are in their 20s, their parents are in their 60s. One of my friend's parents married very late. Let me tell you something, not a very happy family and to make things worse he's an only child.

btw, do you know what the reason to get married is?
You don't want to have grand-kids at an age when you can still play with them? Do you want to have kids? Maybe you shouldn't breed at all.

DYS said...


Your perspective is so warped, that I don't even think we're even thinking on the same planet. I have nothing to add to what I wrote above - read it again and this time try to think not just spout nonsense.

The Babysitter said...

"...if you beleive in segulah's then they'll come true" "
That is the way it works with ayin hora's. If a mother is pregnant some believe that if you buy stuff for the baby before its born then its an ayin hora and something may happen to the baby, so those people have to worry about it because they believe in it. If you don't believe in it, then there's no reason to not buy baby stuff before the baby is born.

I'm not so sure about the whole segulah thing, but I will say that its not that by saying tehillim by magic you will get engaged, but more that the tehillim/davening/shir hashirim will change you into a different person and therefore be at the place where you are supposed to be to get your match.

Anonymous said...

Umm, this is crazy.

Getting married at 25-26 is wierd? In the non-frum world too?

Well, I personally think that it's better to get married when you are no longer a child. And for many, early twenties is still like "a child."

Also, wouldn't you rather have children when you are financially prepared for them. Now that's what I call responsiblity.

I know a girl in med. school who is 25 and unmarried. Are you gonna turn your nose down on her? She is trying to make a good life for her future generations.

Joodah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joodah said...

"You know what happens when people marry after 40? When their kids are in their 20s, their parents are in their 60s."

So what? When you're older, you are more equipped to deal with the stresses of marriage, you have more patience, (hopefully) a more steady job, you're more comfortable in your relationships, and you have more of a tolerance for frustrated kids,You are mature. when i was having issues with my parents, my grandparents were always there to talk it out, I couldn't help but notice that they always looked at my familial altercations in a more worldly and broad perspective. "yes she said that, but what's more important? that, or how much your mother really loves you?" My grandparents are in their 70-80's, so having a kid at 40 doesn't seem so bad to me. My 73 year old grandmother still drives my other grandmother cross-country skiis. you make it sound like when you hit 65, you turn into a wheel-chair, bed-ridden invalid. Not so.

Now look at parents who have kids at 22-23 (like my parents). They've just graduated college, are still figuring things out, are DEFENITELY not fully matured yet. Many of those relationships go on to be long-lasting and successful, but i wouldn't be suprised to see younger marriages fail more frequently, especially do to inability to deal with the stresses of marriage.

I'm not saying not to get married when you're in your early 20's. What i am saying is a little life experience post-college never hurt anyone

frumskeptic said...

joodah- You may be more financially ready and more patient, but you will not have the same amount of energy to devote to the child if you're an older parent.

it IS selfish to have a kid when you are to old to give them any attention.

A lady at my shul is in her high 40's and she had a 4.5 yr old daughter. She even admits she cannot give the kid as much attention as she did her 16 yr-old. She even noticed that with her 10 year old she was tired.

Just having a bit more money doesnt necessarily ensure better parenting.

Either way, I think that having a child should be up to the couple in question, not the communities they are a part of. Whether it is having a child at 18 or 35.

The Babysitter said...

FrumSkeptic: One of my to do list of blog posts is "having a baby in old age" because I know someone who just had a baby at 45, so I was gonna write about it. Maybe I'll choose to post that one next. So I don't have to get all into it now. But I don't think its so bad. I didn't read the context of where Joodah's comment came up, I was just reading your response to it.

frumskeptic said...

babysitter: I dont think its "so bad" to have the kid at the old age. Just that energy (or lack of) is something that should be taken into consideration.

Or how about the fact that the risk for down syndrome rises as the woman ages?

Read somewhere how the older the father is the more chances the kid will be bipolar.

I don't want to get into this, Just a thought. I don't even think Joodah was promoting waiting till 45, He was just making the point of waiting till older than 19 is not the end of the world type of thing.

Or atleast that is what I understood.

Either way, looking forward to your post. So I can repeat myself. lol. :-)

The Babysitter said...

FrumSkeptic: Ok, I posted, I took into account what you just commented before. So perhaps you will agree with it?