Segula Salesmen

To all such people, and everyone touting their own brand of segula or prayer by 40 kollel chassidim at the kever of a Tanah who was single until he was 64 and promised to personally walk down the aisle anyone who said Nishmas 40 times in 40 days at his kever—-

You. Repel. Me.

There are truckloads of reasons I’m still single. Just ask any of my relatives, or any of the shadchanim I’ve ever visited. Even my friends could probably name a few reasons, although they won’t, because friends can be unfriended.

But oh, wouldn’t it be tempting to believe that they’re all wrong—that the only thing standing between me and Prince Charming under a white canopy and a blue sky is 40 ba’alei teshuva saying the entire Tehillim 40 times in 40 days at the kevarim of 40 obscure Amora’im?

Oh please. That’s ridiculous. I know it’s ridiculous. You know it’s ridiculous. We all know it’s ridiculous.

Except the people in the glossy brochure. Chana* (*Name changed to protect her identity and her children’s shidduch chances), the 36-year-old who surely didn’t just happen to meet her man 2 years after writing off a check to this segula. And Dovid* (*name changed to prevent shame from falling on his family and yeshiva for producing such an alte bucher), who got married at the ripe old age of 28 – he seems to believe it works.  And Nechama* (*name changed so you can’t look her up and ask if she’s real), who was childless for years until she dropped a penny in the right pushka finally — she realizes the power of selective charity giving.

All these happy people with their happy stories. Deliverance!* (*Small processing fee may apply.)

All the things the  shadchanim want me to fix—those are difficult, if not downright impossible. I might still be working on them in a few years from now. But the segula? That’s easy. Quick and relatively painless. What’s a few dollars in the grand scheme of things? Besides, it’s going to a good cause: upkeep of a long-dead man’s gravestone and the printing of more glossy brochures. It’s tax and ma’aser deductible. Also, look at all these men with “Rav” in front of their name and “Shlita” after who signed the bottom.  I don’t know who they are, but surely they wouldn’t mislead me?

And, really, it’s only money… What can it hurt to try?

You can’t kill an idea. Not once it’s made a home in someone’s head.

So, pathetic, hopeful singles send you their money, and a small percentage even get engaged after. And you print them up in your next glossy brochure and distribute it to entrap more desperate hopefuls.

But who is compiling the brochure of failures? Where is the glossy book of people* (*names changed to protect them from the judgment that, really, they’re so traif even 40 holy men and a holy ghost can’t save them from themselves) who sent in their check and never got the implied (though not promised, as recommended by the lawyers) deliverance? Where are their stories?

An industry 0f parasites. A national epidemic of tapeworms.

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

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20 thoughts on “Segula Salesmen

  1. Ah you’ve hit on a longtime pet peeve of mine.

    It is absolutely SICK what they do. They perpetuate the fear.

    I’ve written about this as well, but, i hate to say – not as well as you just did! ;)

  2. This must strike a nerve, or you would ignore it, as you wisely ignore so much other idiocy. The question is, why does it strike a nerve?

  3. ok- so yeh, they play on people’s emotions….but the money is not going into their pockets- it still goes to help the poor… what bothers me is that the mindset behind giving tzedakah these days is “whats in it for me?” whether its one of these organizations, chinese auctions…

  4. Any organization that decides its ad campaign isn’t “Help the poor!” but rather “Your redemption lies in paying me!” is not a legitimate organization. It may claim that your generous check is being passed onto the needy, but I smell quite a few rats. A con, for one. A misrepresentation of Yiddishkeit, for two. Three and four is not far behind.

    I am also angry at those who “believe” these claims, that all the Eibishter wants from you (if the Eibishter is on the table at all) is not faith, or progress, or patience, but a shortcut.

    The people who sell this scam, and the people who buy into it . . . neither seem to remember why we are here after 2,000 years of exile. It certainly isn’t because we haven’t all done our fair share of shortcuts.

  5. @Tesyaa

    I’m guessing here, of course, but I’d say that bad4 gets a lot of “advice” in the way of suggestion she try various of these so-called segulohs. Probably ticks her off after the thousandth time.

  6. I often wonder how are some “segulas” are not deemed avodah zara.

    If one believes that davening to a gravestone will help them – how is that so different than idol worship?

  7. I don’t think that someone davening at a grave, asking the deceased to be a “melitz yashar” on his/her behalf is avoda zara. However, I am doubtful that all of the singles who flock to Amuka have that same intent…

  8. I am also sick of the segula salesmen. They’re worse than useless; they are, as Lea said above, con men. Preying on the fears and insecurities of people in various situations (not only singledom) and promising quick fixes…in exchange for the right dollar amount, of course. I am even less inclined to give to whatever tzedakahs the segula salesmen purport to be supporting when it comes with such an advertisement.

    I also agree with O; many people – if not most – do not make the distinction between davening that the deceased tzaddik should be a melitz yashar for them and davening *to* the deceased. I’ve even seen printed “official” tefillot that fail to make that distinction; how much more so, the general public.

  9. I don’t get too many segula suggestions (well, maybe a few) but I do see the ads and hear the latest get-married-quick scheme. Seeing one sent out via OnlySimchas no less (don’t they vet their ads?!) got me mad.

  10. BubbleBuster, Dishonesty is dishonesty. It is NOT ok just because it’s for a good cause. “Robin hood” is NOT a Jewish hero by any stretch of the imagination. On the contrary- Midvar Sheker Tirchak is a very strong charge to us. Think about it: we call Hashem “Emes”. So how can we think that selling baloney stories is an acceptable way to fund-raise?

  11. idk- k so its a little outa hand, but they will have people pray for you @ the promised locations… cant hurt- a prayer is never wasted, whether you get what you asked for or not….

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