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.