It’s a Segula for Getting Married, part 3

Part 1

Part 2

Give to Kupat Ha’ir: Talk about a marketing ploy. There’s no overhead for producing miracles, and if it never happens you either never hear about it or you blame the victim.

<Addition>For example, someone once donated a healthy sum to Kupat Ha’ir on my behalf. Did it work? No. Is that Kupat Ha’ir’s problem? No. It’s probably because I’m unworthy in some way, or have to beg forgiveness at the grave of my 2nd grade teacher. </>

But seriously, this charity (which really needs to make the ‘ in their name larger),  has the backing of all the gedolim who live there (a considerable number), and they all extend their blessings to contributors. So if you need a miraculous matchmaking trick, they may be able to help. Of course, if you want blessings, why not just go right to the source?

Get brachos: A long time ago there were two types of Jews: the Chassidim who went to the rebbe for everything, and the misnagdim who didn’t. Misnagdim didn’t ask for brochos and their rabbis wouldn’t give them if they did. In our modern melting pot, believing in the power of brochos is an important aspect of frumkeit, so most people, litvaks and Chassidim alike, do some gadol-chasing at some point in their lives.

No time is riper for bracha collecting than between the ages of 17 and 25, when marriage is the hot-button issue, and most people feel so helpless that they want all the intervention they can get. So common is it for young singles to beg for a shidduch-related brocha,that most gedolim offer it up before the young visitor can even get a (possibly different) request out of his or her (mostly her) mouth.

This is one reason I abandoned brocha harvesting in seminary. The other reason I gave up was that not a single person ever got my name right, and hence, all the well-wishings were going to some other (presumably married) girl with a similar name.

The basis for this practice is the belief that the prayers of a gadol are more powerful than those of an ordinary person, because he (or she) has so many more zechusim.This little theory loses sight of the reason why we have things to pray about in the first place: so that we’ll pray.

Case in point: The Egyptians are closing in on the Jews who are fenced in along the Red Sea. They run to Moshe saying, “Do something! Talk to Hashem for us!”And what does Moshe reply? “What do you want me to do about it? Go talk to Hashem yourself!”

The purpose of nisyonos isn’t for us to find the most efficient way to get rid of them; it’s to force us to forge a stronger connection to Hashem (nope, not the rabbi). So that brings us right up to the last segula, which isn’t really a segula at all:

Daven: The thing about prayer is that it really doesn’t do any harm. It can be done anywhere without special equipment, it is approved across all sects and subgroups of Judaism, it doesn’t cost money, and there is nothing about it that is the faintest bit religiously iffy. Good stuff, prayer. The purpose of prayer, like conversation, is to forge a bond with another party, but with a rather more limited dialogue. So unlike many other segulos, if it isn’t effective, you aren’t in the hole for money or dignity. Instead, you come out ahead of the game, with a closer relationship to God. And hey – it never hurts to know people in high places.

As an addendum, praying for someone else to get engaged is supposed to work, source drawn from Rashi regarding Sarah’s giving birth to Yitzchok after davening for Avimelech. The theory is that if you care enough about someone else then Hashem will care extra about you. Of course, that turns this into a “trick” you’re employing for your own gain, not the other person’s. Pretending to be selfless for selfish reasons? Not sure it fools God.

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34 thoughts on “It’s a Segula for Getting Married, part 3

  1. Case in point: The Egyptians are closing in on the Jews who are fenced in along the Red Sea. They run to Moshe saying, “Do something! Talk to Hashem for us!” And what does Moshe reply? “What do you want me to do about it? Go talk to Hashem yourself!”

    Actually Moshe did daven to G-d, but G-d told him to stop davening and start doing. See Shemos Perek 14. The point of the passage seems to be there is a time to pray, but there also is a time to do.

  2. Agree with B4S. Brachas from gedolim and mystics certainly can’t hurt, but ain somchim al ha’neis (don’t rely on a miracle). Segulos sound harmless enough if it puts you in the right frame of mind, but don’t confuse this with religion.

    I was dragged to get a bracha *after* I got engaged, to make sure that I would have a happy marriage, ostensibly. I was amused when the rav tried to play Amazing Kreskin, and tried guessing my profession. (He guessed incorrectly.) But I guess his bracha didn’t do any harm because the marriage is working out just fine more than 10 years later.

  3. Get brachos

    As a kalte Litvak, I’m not really into the whole brachos thing.

    Last Purim, my cousin convinced me to come with him to Boro Park, and I was promised bracha from the Spinka Rebbe.

    Well, it’s been a almost a year and I’m still single. I guess getting a bracha from an accused felon doesn’t work.

  4. I could almost swear that I was taught in the dark ages that one major difference between Jews and Christians was that we did not and are forbidden to invest any special powers in those who are our religious leaders–Rav does not equate to “messenger of God” or “God’s favorite.” Why then should a brocha from a Rav have any special merit for anything? I was also taught that Jews require no intermediary in order to pray to God. I’ll agree that it is nice if other people have you in mind in their tefilos, that they pray that you should have a refuah or that you should find your zivug, but our own prayers on our behalf are equally meritorious.

  5. well I think we should distinguish between a rabbi (who is basicaly a lawyer) and a prophet, who is something else entirely, the latter would be reasonable to ask a bracha from, the former not so much.

    Presumably the prophet who has an actual ongoing diologue with hashem might be able to do something.

    likewise I think the cohen gadol was too.

    but yea, I’m not so big on getting a bracha either.

  6. It was annoying, really. Everywhere I want people gave me brochos for a shidduch. I wanted brochos for success. Honestly, being a successful single trumps being a deadbeat married.

  7. al tihey birchas hedyot kala beinecha – don’t take the brocha of a plain simple person lightly.

    well, I certainly qualify as a hedyot. I bless you that you find your true zivig soon. may you build a bayis neeman byisroel.

  8. I did all the “running to rabbis for brachos” bit and davening at Amukah and other gravesites – I believe that G-d listens to you wherever you pray and now I no longer go “grave-hopping” when I go to Israel. G-d will send me my husband in the right time.

  9. frumgirl1
    amen. Right now I’m a bit to worried about how I’ll pay off all my students loans by 2060 to go around getting blessings from rabbis. Besides, its not like the one about being a mensch worked, so why should I expect a marriage blessing to be any stronger?

  10. “not a single person ever got my name right”

    Gosh…what is so complicated with ‘bad4shidduchim’? 🙂

    I am of two minds when it comes to brachot. On the one hand, the spontaneous brachot that I seem to inspire in all and sundry drive me up a freaking wall. On the other hand, I do have this superstitious streak that believes that a bracha from a big rabbi might help me out.

    All I can tell you is that neither one seem to have done me any good. Nor has prayer, for that matter.

    I will agree with Frumgirl about the successful single bit….. Hey, if I am going to be single, may as well have the wherewithal to enjoy it, no?

  11. Anonymous (number 9) A bracha to be a mensch won’t work – ‘cos that’s reliant on you deciding to change. And deciding to become a mensch might help you find your zivug even more than blessing from Rabbonim/Rebbeim etc.

  12. Great post!

    Just a nitpick from a brainwashed Bais Yaakov girl – are comments still moderated? If so, I would venture to suggest that loshon hara should be off limits. Well, actually, it should be off-limits regardless.

  13. 12 –
    see that was an example of my underwhelming sense of humor, serving to end more dates than I can count without removing my socks

  14. “A long time ago there were two types of Jews: the Chassidim who went to the rebbe for everything, and the misnagdim who didn’t.”

    This is an important observation, and it is relevant with regard to a whole host of minhagim and the like. Mass emigration of hasidim to the US particularly Hungarian Hasidim who survived the Holocaust to a large extent (Hungarian Jews were sent to the camps last – after 1943) has shaped a lot of jewish practice today – for good and bad. (I would say the latter with regards to this topic, though “al tehei birkas hadyos kal be-einecha,” according to the gemara. So i guess i should give you my brachah too and its worth just as much: I hope you find a wonderful ben torah who is curious about the world and can appreciate your uniqueness and with him you should be zocheh to build a bayis ne’eman be-yisrael. AMen.
    See there, now i’ve saved you the trip to the Spinka rebbe.)

    Maybe if we altogether or each individually give B4S a brachah it’ll work faster.
    (tell me if i’m wrong. i don’t exactly know how the spiritual mojo of brachos works. ein li eisek be-nistaros and ein li eisek bi-narishkeit.)

    (If anyone can tell us how to get the brachah mojo working please share. do we need to include Divine names, which we can scan with the eyes but not pronounce?)

  15. Funny how the splitting of the Red Sea is such a perfect analogy for the spouse search: the degree of difficulty of the miracle, being a slave to fashion during the dating process, the suitors in pursuit who didn’t know when to quit, the need for human effort, the leap of faith, separate dancing and loud music at a wedding . . .

  16. In your whole list, and in life in general, “Segulas” seem to fall into two categories:
    1. Mitzvah (e.g. daven, give tzedaka)
    2. Mishugah (e.g. pick wild lavender at midnight of a full moon)

    I pondered opening a third category for those ambiguous things like perek shirah that may not be a mitzvah but don’t hurt, but I realized that the purpose would send it into one of the above: If you’re doing it to improve your connection with Hashem, or whatever it’s supposed to accomplish, consider it like a mitzvah. If you’re doing it because it’s trendy or because someone swore that this incantation will get you a husband, consider it mishugas.

  17. About Uman-my uncle was there recently, and he said that beleive it or not there were some women there… Though how they sruvived I do not know….

    And about “convicted felon”- ahem ahem- believe it or not, two of my brothers actually go to that yeshiva. Now, I don’t know him personally, and I am also not a big fan of the fuss made about Chassidish Rebbes, since many of them are regular people who have been thrust into the spotlight by their Chassidim and there is a lot of bologna, propeganda, machlokes, and falseness and hypocrisy going on… But I did hear that the Spinker Rebbe in particular is a humble man who lives in a small modest apt and did not take a penny of the money for himself… Of course it’s not something that should be done, but -a- are we all prefect? -b- Jews in general have a lot to work on in terms of honesty on the tax returns: somehow we seem to think that lying about our income doesn’t fall under the category of Lo Signov… and -c- if you would say that the leaders have an added responsibility to be upright, that is true, but I assure you that corruption goes on in every segment of society and on every level. Not that that justifies it, but perhaps to make it better….

    And “brainwashed BY girl”- -a- Don’t refer to yourself as brainwashed. You could say that anyone who was told anything not pure fact is brainwashed- ie- “Don’t steal, it’s wrong.” There’s a lot you could say about By type thinking (or lack thereof- I went to BY- I should know) but don’t denigrate yourself. There are plenty of others who will do it for you.
    and -b- Lashon Hara is universal, not just for BY Mishmeres Heads.

  18. I have a friend who went around offering “segulah” jelly beans at a wedding. Total BS, but she was just being silly. You should’ve seen the way everyone flocked to her. “Let me have some for my daughters!”

  19. Actually, I bracha from a rasha has the oppposite effect… Chazal tell us that’s why Rivka was barren (she got a bracha from Lavan)…

  20. Mindy – It wasn’t meant as self-deprecating, just explaining where I’m coming from. I think most people’s brain could use a nice spring cleaning every so often. You’re right about the L”H – that’s why I was upset to see it on this blog.

    Re: Segulos – We had a teacher who used to say that it’s a pity yiras shamayim isn’t a segula or a lot more people would have it!

  21. Anon (BY girl) you might as well change that to BJJ Girl. that’s Gv’ Leibowitz’s line 100%
    Good to know there are a few of us BJJ Girls who dare to speak our minds on a b4S blog. And don’t ever consider yourself brainwashed!

  22. im not saying Kupat Ha’ir does miricles but it happens to be that i gave money to them as a segulah that my sister should get engaged in the next 3 months. b”h 2 months later she was engaged. they are now happily married with a baby. dont be so fast to make fun of all these segulah’s

  23. Oh, and btw, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting a bracha from a Rav, or form anyone, for that matter. Why not? And greater people do have a greater power to bless people. It’s not soemthingnew that our generation has made up. Nor do I think we’ve taken it out of hand either.

  24. lets see, yaakov goes to yitzchak for a beracha and aisav wants to kill him for it…the shevatim all get a beracha from yaakov…moshe gives a beracha to klal yisrael and later to yehoshua pesonally…and heres my favorite example…hashem asks rav yishmael for a beracha(ayin the meharsha in berachot for explanation). so yea berachot from tzadikim work , it has nothing to do with being chassidish or litvish or sfardi or anything else, it has to do with being jewish. the power of berachot are passed down to a few individuals in every generation, avraham avinu was the first to be handed this power and it has passed selectively through his blood line since. the gemara is full of cases where different rabbanan give berachot and goes so far as chastising one amora for not answering “vchein lmar” (roughly translated “you too”) to a beracha. so yea…why shouldnt going to a rav you believe is a tzaddik that holds this power work? whats wrong with it? if there are people out there that wonder about this they are either ignorant or extremely cynical. sof sof berachot have an affect.

  25. Pingback: Segulos Revisited « Bad for Shidduchim

  26. Who to go to for a Bracha

    1. The best person to go to for a bracha is: a true Cohen.

    Hashem passes His Beracha to the Kohen. And only a true Kohen can pass the full Bracha from Hashem to all of Am Yisrael – for material and spiritual blessing.

    In ancient times, where there would be a difference of opinion between the Melech and the Cohen, the Melech, the King, would always have to defer to the Cohen.

    This demonstrates the extremely high stature of the Kohen.

    2. The Cohen has a specific function to act as an “interface” between Hashem and the Jewish People – and to bless them.

    This is done through the, “Birchat Cohanim”. No one else, other than a true Kohen, is permitted to recite the, “Birchat Kohanim.”
    (Parsha of Nasso – 6:22-27)

    The Cohanim are specifically commanded to bless the Jewish People, “Be’ahava” – “with Love”. The Shechinah, the Presence of Hashem, is only able to rest on the Cohen, as he is a true descendant of Aharon HaKohen, the first Cohen HaGadol.

  27. 3. Concerning:
    (a) Rabbis who are clearly not Kohanim and
    (b) Rabbis who are not true Cohanim, but who claim to be (this includes many of the ‘rabbanim’, ‘dayanim’ and ‘mekubalim’ of today) and
    (c) The ‘layman’ who is not a true Cohen, but who claims to be:

    Take note:-
    There are numerous people who fall into the above 3 categories. These people are regularly pronouncing the, “Birchat Kohanim”, or giving ‘brachot’ to the Jewish People.

    They have no right whatsoever, to do this.

    And they are actually “taking over” the role of the Cohen – for themselves.

    • This should be corrected speedily, so that the role of the Kohen to give brachot, is returned to him, and is no longer usurped by others.

    • Rabbis and rabbonim should have the humility to direct a person in need to a true Cohen.

    4. Those who need a brocha would be well advised to find someone who is known to be a true Cohen.

    Those seeking a bracha should be made aware, that the full Bracha from Hashem can only pass from Hashem, to His true Kohanim, and then to the Jewish People.

  28. Pingback: It’s a Segula for Getting Married, part 2 | Bad for Shidduchim

  29. Pingback: Monday Revisit: Segulos | Bad for Shidduchim

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