Rebbetzin Kanyevsky’s Favorite Tips

Rebbetzin Kanyevsky’s Favorite Tips

Every day, women would visit the Rebbetzin to request advice and to receive encouragement…Here are a few of her most frequent recommendations reprinted from the newly translated bestseller Tuesday at Dawn: Stories and Advice from Rebbetzin Batsheva Kanievsky A”H:

The Cure for Everything that Ails: The Rebbetzin was very careful to study each and every day two halachos of shemiras halashon, guarding one’s tongue. In her sweet, charming manner, she frequently advised the women who came to her to do the same. “I read this particular segulah in the world of Rav Segal of Manchester, and it is a very worthwhile practice to follow….”

For Success: The Rebbetzin did not only deal with blessings for sick people. Many came to her for a blessing asking for success, before taking a decisive step in their lives. She related to every request with her full attention and characteristic warmth. She would always add that the best advice for Heavenly help was to firmly declare: “Hashem Hu HaElokim—Ein Od Milvado” [God is the Lord—There is Nothing Else Besides Him.] This is a tried and proven auspicious practice from R. Chaim of Volozhin and is known to effect wonders.

For a General Boost: Not everyone had a specific request to make. Some women simply wanted a general boost, a chizuk—a suggestion on how to improve themselves. The Rebbetzin used to tell them, “Add another prayer each day, beyond what you are used to saying, and say it from the siddur. You will see yeshuos [salvations].”

READ THE INSPIRATIONAL STORY “FINDING LOST RELATIVES IN THE MERIT OF TSNIYUS” FROM THE NEW BOOK TUESDAY AT DAWN

For further information on the book Tuesday at Dawn, here is the official press release:

Shlishi B’Ashmores – the book on Rebbetzin Kanievsky a”h, now in English

The bestseller Shlishi B’Ashmores has long since passed the ten-thousand mark of books sold, having captured the hearts of readers young and old. It has quickly become a preferred text for educators, parents and children. Many passages are being quoted in lectures, seminars and at Shabbos tables, while numerous organizations and institutions have presented it as a gift to their donors and students.
It has earned the approbation and blessings of gedolei Yisrael shlita, foremost of whom is Hagaon R’ Chaim Kanievsky shlita, the Rebbetzin’s husband, who testified that “the stories here are true and they can instill much yiras Shamayim.”

This is primarily due to the fact that Shlishi B’Ashmores is actually the Rebbetzin’s book, and not just a book about the Rebbetzin!

Shlishi B’Ashmores is unique and authentic since the Rebbetzin herself was a full collaborator in its creation. She dictated its contents in her exalted and pure language early each Tuesday morning to one of her confidantes, Mrs. Ruth Attias, adding her own input of wise counsel and mussar to many of the stories. The Rebbetzin herself reviewed the prepared material before it went to print.

Now this work has been translated into English for the benefit of readers the world over. Tuesday at Dawn has the special distinction of being the first English work on Rebbetzin Kanievsky to hit the book shelves.

Rebbetzin Kanievsky was famous for her style of speaking and her gift of storytelling, whereby she was able to inspire her listeners through her deep-felt Jewish sensitivity and emotion.

This is, in fact, why the stories were written in the first person, with extreme accuracy, preserving the purity and impact of her messages in the exact manner that they issued from her mouth. Indeed, in his approbation, Hagaon R’ Zelig Braverman shlita wrote that the stories were transcribed so authentically that as he read them, he felt as if he was actually hearing them from the Rebbetzin herself.

Tuesday at Dawn is presented in an attractive, full-color layout and is replete with beautiful photos, many of which were supplied by the Kanievsky family. Included also is a chapter on the advice and the tried-and-tested segulos which the Rebbetzin dispensed frequently, for healing and relief. Many of these were transmitted directly to Mrs. Attias while others were told to her by members of the Rebbetzin’s family.

Distributed in Israel by Ohr Hachaim Publications (organizations and institutions can contact 03-5783888), and worldwide by Judaica Press.

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11 comments

  1. Man Performing Miracles

    By Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim

    The notion of a rebbe or a tzaddik performing miracles is becoming more and more prevalent. People in droves visit “rebbes” for his so called miracles, feeling he has greater powers than other men.

    When running for his life, being chased by his twin Esav, why didn’t Jacob perform a miracle to save his life? Why did he pray to God and prepare a bribe and ready himself for battle? If Jacob could not perform miracles, how does anyone have the gall to suggest that today’s lower members of the Jewish people can out-perform someone like Jacob, someone who God actually spoke to? It is truly astonishing that people actually believe their rebbes to be on a higher level than a Jacob, or a Moses.

    What is the Torah’s view on man’s powers? I will quote a few statements and Torah passages so you may learn for yourself, using your own reason, arriving at that one conclusion that the Torah clearly denies that mankind has any power outside his own muscular abilities. Be careful not to feel intimidated by the masses who blindly accept and even wish for miracles. “Bkol darkecha da-ay-hu”, “In all areas know Him (God)”, meaning, use your mind in all areas.

    Saadia Gaon – “Emunos v’Daos”
    “I say also that it was for this very reason that God made the prophets equal to all other human beings in so far as death was concerned, lest man get the idea (and say wrongly to himself) “just as these prophets were capable of living forever, in contradistinction to them, so were they also able to perform marvels in contradistinction to them.”
    Saadia Gaon says clearly that even prophets had no powers.

    Rav Moshe Feinstein
    When asked to give a blessing, Rav Moshe responded, “If you are learning, you have the greatest blessing of all, if you are not, there is nothing I can give you.”

    Moshe, Joshua , David HaMelech, Shlomo HaMelech
    We do not see the Jews ever requesting blessings from Moshe Rabbeinu, from Joshua, Kings David, or King Solomon. This phenomena of seeking blessings was not practiced.

    Moshe
    Upon Pharoah’s request to end the plagues, Moshe left the city and prayed to God to halt the plagues. He did not do so himself, the wisest man to live, Moshe, understood well that man has no powers.

    Additionally, Moshe praised God as the sole, source of power. Why would Moshe do this is he too had powers?

    Jacob
    When Rachel asked Yaakov for children, Yaakov said, “Am I in G-d’s stead?”. Yaakov attested to the fact that he had no power to give her children. If people have powers, why did Jacob respond this way? It is clear that Jacob understood that no one is able to do what G-d does. Those were his very words, ” Am I in G-d’s stead?”

    Elisha the prophet
    When Naaman requested Elisha to rid him of his leprosy, Elisha did not leave the house, but rather, he sent a messenger to instruct Naaman to bathe, and this would remove his ailment. Naaman was upset with Elisha, that he did not come out, call upon G-d’s name, and “wave his hand over the place of the leprosy and remove it”. A friend suggested wisely, that Elisha desired that G-d retain the grandeur for such a miracle, therefore, Elisha did not leave the house. He avoided the spotlight, as Elisha knew that G-d was the performer of all miracles, and did not want to mislead Naaman. Elisha was aware that people desire to believe in man as a miracle worker. Elisha therefore avoided credit for that which man has no connection with.

    Daily Prayers
    In L’ale Baruch Neimos we read, “Hu livado poale gvuros”, “He alone performs wonders….(He is) the Creator of healings, the Master of wonders”. Our prayer says clearly, “God alone performs miracles.”

    Tosefta Sabbath, Chapter 7
    The wearing of red threads on fingers is considered “ways of the Emorites”. Against Judaism. (This clearly denounces the popular red bendels.)

    Why then do rebbes and followers claim that rebbes perform miracles?
    This should be of no consequence to us. Claims from anyone, even from “rabbis”, must not weigh more than the words of the Torah. People can and do err, including rabbis. Their followers are apparently devoted to sustaining false claims of their rebbes’ reputation as a miracle worker, even if it opposes Torah. To them, man is more central than God.

    Unfortunately, these rebbes are the individuals to whom communities look for Torah leadership, and they are doing the opposite by desiring self aggrandizement through malicious claims of miraculous powers. Rebbe’s doing miracles, keys in challas, red bendels, checking mezuzot, and all such beliefs stem from a great insecurity in one’s own life, and an underlying, disbelief in God’s abilities outside physical objects.
    “God alone performs wonders”. We read this each day.

    We must note that sometimes the rebbe himself does not start or support such claims, but it is the insecure followers who have a need to deify their rav, so they start the claims. Such a rebbe would be equally in the wrong, if he did not dispel such lies. He thereby leads his flock astray by his silence.

    Man is created and terminated through God’s will alone.
    Man cannot alter a single natural law or control his own fate.
    Man came after the laws were created and guided exclusively by God.

    If God guides the world’s laws, it is not man.

    • I truly pity the enormous efforts you went to to try to take “emunat chachamim” out of an am sgula…it is impossible, my dear…am yisrarl from the get go always had a leader, agadol, a tzadik for every generation to whom they could pray to Hashem in the tzadiks zchus…so this is also why there are big hilulot, yirtziets with seudot mitvah that our nation flocks to..like rabbi shimon bar yochai..who burned a person by looking at him…if that isnt power, gee I dont know what is…the fact is the power comes from kedusha..kdoshim tihiyu..you should aspire to be holy like Me, seperate from all other nations… I think you had a good intention at heart, maybe u feel that people who believe in the power of a tzadik and have emunat chachamim are idolizing these gdolim. But by not believing in the power of emunat chachamim and the blessing of a Gadol, its kinda apikoris, no offense. Like I said, im sure your intentions are good, but a persons mazal is changed every second, by his own actions and tfilos, which buy or lose him zchuyot…when we daven we say the Gd of abraham yitzhak amd yaacov…we are constantly using zchut avot to call mercy from Hashem..something to reevaluate during shavuos perhaps..

      • Chanala

        “But by not believing in the power of emunat chachamim and the blessing of a Gadol, its kinda apikoris, no offense.”

        really? I’d love to see your source…

  2. continue… : The Torah teach us that Hashem punishes the wicked, and rewards the righteous. It does not say tefilah, tsedakah or any other activity will help address our needs. When the matriarchs were barren, they did not resort to “segulot (or segulot that are kosher kind) ” , but introspected and prayed. on Devarim 10:17 “Hashem does not take bribes”, Rabbi Sforno (that was a great Rabbi thinker, and a true Torah commentator remanining loyal to Hashem´s Torah words, and did not follow practices that violated Hashem) wrote the following commentary: “The punsihment of a sin will not be removed at all due to the reward of a MITZVAH (let´s say like JEWISH MOMS said: clarification- my rabbi is VERY anti-segulot, and always says that the best segulot are tefila, tsedaka, and other mitzvot.) that this SINNER performed. As the Rabbis taught ´A mitzvah does not be confident that if he sins, that his sin is removed at all… except by COMPLETE REPENTANCE´” Nothing in the Torah supports this concept of segula; Torah sources reject the idea of a “segula”. If we deserve a punishment, and we don´t address our shortcomings. And if we have no sin , then the correct approach to infertility (for example) is medical treatment. In either case, segulot are USELESS, and VIOLATE THE TORAH prohibition of NICHUSH. Nichush in common day terms, are good luck charms. It does not matter if the carm is a rabbit´s foot, a horseshoe, a challah, a beracha, a red bendel, etc…., The practice assumes that forces exist, which do not, and it is idolatrous. Hashem wants us to follow what our minds tell us is true, and not what our emotions “WISH” to be so. There is a good intent in this, but our actions must be based on Torah and reality. PLEASE HELP to remove false practices from Jewish CULTURE, and instead of supporting segula, we should spread these Torah sources to our friends, for whom we desire to help. We must adhere meticulously to Hashem´s Torah… the Torah HE SAID, ” not to add to or subtract from” (Devarim 4:2) It is time to use our minds and realign our path of life with Torah sources, not blind faith practices.

    • Although you quote many references from the Torah to affirm your opinion that segulot and brachot dont exist or have any signifigance in the Torah, I have to correct you when you say our forefathers never used segulot when barron…Rachel couldnt get pregnant she saw that leahs son ran home with dudayim in hand..the dudayim were known as a sgula to get pregnant but the mysterious part of them is that he who picks them shall die , so how did he bring her the dudayim?…he tied the branch to a donkey, and when the donkey proceeded the branch came off…so Mama Rachel sees this anf begs leah for some dudayim..leah agrees to give her some in exchange for having yaacov in her tent that night…(by the way, that night was shavuot and leah became pregnant with yet another tribe under her belt..)…sgulot have deep roots , they are from the Torah, while some may us superstituous objects like u mentioned rabbits foot etc, that has no relevance to what we are, JEWS Torah abiding, with lifelong traditions passed from generation to gemeration vhigadita libincha…so my great great grandmother use to bake a challa in the shape of a key the shabbos following pesach..and so did my great grma and my grama and my mom and so do I because its so much moreso that minhagim are same level with torah law, because Moshe gave us both torah shebichtav and torah shbalpe..most sgulot are found black on white in the zohar, while others we learn from the tanach..your free to check these things out on a deeper level so that you dont has veshalom make a chilul Hashem by calling our faith and belief in miracles an excuse for insecurity.. Vtfila vtzdaka vtshuva maavirim et roah hagzera..the torah tells us how one can change his fate…and by doing so that absolutely ADDRESSES our needs..

      • Chanala

        “.your free to check these things out on a deeper level so that you dont has veshalom make a chilul Hashem by calling our faith and belief in miracles an excuse for insecurity..”

        sara J, there are many dissenting views within Judaism in regards to these ideas. Those who disagree with your understanding of segulot, and brachot (i.e. Rabbi Moses ben Maimon- see Hilchot Avodah Zarah) aren’t desecrating G-d’s name. They are simply viewing the world differently (and no less deeply) than yourself.

        • I am not stating my personal opinion, although I do take it personally when someone says sgulot are useless and v io late the Torah…I stated factual evidenve from the torah itself to show that Hashem has given us tools and Tzadikim to follow, “beoram telech”..”vhayitem lee am sgula” I know there are people who abuse this and call themselves baba’s and that there are timid people who go and buy oils and kmayot from these people, I habe heared testimonies firshand from friends who sat infront of a rabbi in shock of how he could know so many things about them…so I am not for that and agree with Malka on the nichush end…I simply don’t want our traditions that were padsed down and have sources directly from the Torah, be ridiculed. I hope we all have a Hag sameach and kasher, we should definitely live by the Torahs rules and the mfarshim that help us know how to live accordingly.especially rambam who teaches us to use the tool found in nature, as a sgula lrefua shlema. My eggplant parmisan awaits me..hag sameach! Oh and fyi. Yemima mizrach mentioned a sgula of having a bowl of honey on the table on shavuot, sgula that the torah should be as “dvash vchalav tachat lishonech” milk and honey under your tongue..shes knows almost all the sgulot and she quotes them from the zohar…her lectures are available in english for anyone interested..just google her name or yikrat friedman, shes the gal that sends out a weekly parasha full of insightful knowledge from yemimas shirs.

          • Certainly you are not, as you put it, an “evil anti-Torah person!” You made very clear arguments that this is prevalent in the Jewish community, that people acknowledge hakol bidei shamayim (everything in the hands of Gd) but still do silly things, and that this can have a positive psychological impact. Implying you are a rasha (wicked person) is not the most effective way to give tochacha (rebuke)! And it’s unfair because it’s not rishus if someone is trying to help people! At worst, it would be shogeg (accidental). I can see from your arguments that you are a clear thinker who values helping people. The best approach would have been to have a discussion with you, not to accuse you! The thought of you being accused like that makes me outraged on your behalf.
            The basis of my understanding of the Torah approach to superstition is from Devarim 18:9-13. Specifically, there is a prohibition of nichush (superstition) and inun (signs). This is grouped together with idolatry, psychics, séances, consulting the dead, and performing magic (not sleight of hand). Pasuk 13 says “tamim tehiyeh im hashem elokecha,” that we should be tamim, whole or complete, with Hashem. Rashi says on that pasuk: “Go after Hashem completely and put your hopes in Him and do not chase after the futures (fortune telling, etc.); rather, whatever will happen to you accept with wholeness and then you will be His nation and His portion.”
            I understand from this that all of these behaviors come from a person trying to know the future, to gain control over a situation where he is powerless. The Torah urges us not to give in, but rather, to be tamim with Hashem. You yourself recognized that doing these things is a contradiction on some level to total acceptance of Hashem’s supremacy. We know from Yaakov Avinu when in trouble when meeting with Eisav, the 3 things he did: 1) he planned for war, 2) sent a present, and 3) prayed to Hashem. He did 2 things using the laws of nature, and one thing to access hashgacha (Divine Providence). All we have are the laws of nature (medical treatments, psychology, etc.) and Hashem’s help (teshuva, tefilla, tzedaka). Segulas, unless they fall into these 2 categories, are not part of the formula passed down to us by our Avos.
            Let’s look at segulas more closely. How do they work? How does it work, that a woman, who goes into the mikvah after a pregnant woman, will become pregnant?
            There are a couple of possibilities. 1) There is something “mystical” about the water or the act, which causes her to become pregnant. 2) Hashem causes her to be pregnant because she does this act. (if you can think of other possibilities, please let me know).
            We know that there is nothing in the laws of nature that would cause an infertile woman to become pregnant after going into the mikvah after a pregnant woman. Also, as you mentioned, it is clearly not a mitzva (any more than if she had immersed not following a pregnant woman), that the act would bring the woman to a higher spiritual level and make her worthy of divine intervention. We also don’t maintain that the waters have been infused with spiritual power, because according to the Torah objects don’t have power. Only Hashem has power. When Moshe raised his staff and did miracles, it wasn’t Moshe and it wasn’t the staff. It was Hashem.
            If we say that Hashem causes her to become pregnant because she did this act, then this is a breach of justice. As it says in parshas Haazinu (Devarim 32:4): “the Rock, His actions are perfect, because of all His ways are justice; a God of faithfulness and no iniquity, He is tzadik and straight.” If you have 2 women, both on the same spiritual level, and both daven and do good deeds, but one immerses in the mikvah after a pregnant woman and one does not, then on what basis should Hashem respond to that one? Immersing does not make her spiritually more elevated, and it does not access any laws of nature. Or what if a woman who is not worthy and does immerse, will she be answered, when her more worthy counterpart who doesn’t immerse won’t be answered?
            I am interested to hear what you think of this approach to segulas.
            The way I handle segulas is that if I can only understand it in a superstitious way, I will not do it. Three times I have come across explanations for segulas.
            1) Shiluach hakan. The sefer chinuch explains that when a person sends the mother bird away, he is involved in preservation of the species. It is Hashem’s will that species be preserved. Because he engages in this, he is rewarded by children (continuation of the human species). This strikes me as a “midah k’neged midah” reward (measure for measure), ie, hashgacha.
            2) Eating the esrog after Succos. I actually just heard this explanation this year, attributed to the Rav. According to the opinion that the fruit of the etz hadaas (tree of knowledge) was an esrog, the woman sinned and ate the esrog and now has trouble with childbearing. During Succos the esrog is assur in hana’ah (forbidden in non-mitzva use). By eating the esrog after Succos, the woman demonstrates that she is being careful about this prohibition, and this is a correction of the original chet (mistake) and perhaps will remove some of the punishment. This also fits into hashgacha.

            Having a ruby to prevent miscarriage. I read the Rabbenu Bachya on it. He explains that grinding up the ruby into a powder and eating it was thought to prevent miscarriage (laws of nature, which we currently know isn’t true) and that it was Reuven’s stone on the kohen gadol’s breastplate. Reuven brought the dudaim (mandrakes) to Rachel, and Reuven represents the middah (character trait) of teshuva (repentance). This is either a psychological effect, which is laws of nature, or teshuva is a way of activating hashgacha.

  3. “Shlishi b’Ashmores” – wow talk about a variation on Tuesdays with Morrie…!

  4. Hi Malka, so I just read your piece now, I will elaborate at a better time, I just wanted to say that I learned that the mikve in itself is “mikve yisrael ‘Hashem” that,the waters of the mikva are from a heavenly source and they do take on supernatural powers, but when I say powers that means Hashems power..There are countless stories of woman who have taken tharas hamishpacha into their lives and have become pregnant as a result. As far as your analogy with the 2 women on diff spiritual levels emmersing in the mikva after a pregnant woman, I can honestly tell you that it is all Heshbon mshamayim..we dont know the weight of each mitzvah, and although some may be less observant than others, there are mitzvot that they may do on a higher level than most people or they have zchut avot and this gives them mire hasgacha pratit than the more observant woman..so it really isnt a black and white thing. I dint know the source of emmersing after a pregnant woman dips, I know ive been asked to come on a certain day in my past at 9 minths so that someone could go in after me and I thought it was an interesting sgula, but more on the side of me praying for her under water with an angel inside my womb and then the prayers hold water, sotospeak…so I think its beautiful and brings jewish women closer, but I havent researched it myself. This world is filled with so much information and advances si quickly, we need to sustain the traditions that were passed down but at the same time research that we are doing whats right and directing it to the rightplace, the only place (hamakom-that is, Hashem, of course)..

    • Dear Sara, I have to clarified that I am not against the traditions, just against the superstitions, and we have a big problem going on here with our people, the people of Israel, sadly , like you justified with: “countless sories” , “there are mitzvot that they may do on a higher level than most people or they have zchut avot and this gives them mire hasgacha pratit than the more observant woman..so it really isnt a black and white thing” ,”, I know ive been asked to come on a certain day in my past at 9 minths so that someone could go in after me and I thought it was an interesting sgula, but more on the side of me praying for her under water with an angel inside my womb and then the prayers hold water, sotospeak…so I think its beautiful and brings jewish women closer, but I havent researched it myself.” , is a problem, I understand this are the teachings from most of the rabbis in the world, but this is WRONG. Is nothing against you or anyone , any person, is against this wrong ideology of judaism. Firs of all I have to clarify in a rational way what is the mikvah and for what is the immersion:”Sanctify yourselves and be holy.” Which means we do this not only in our physical life but in our moral and psychological life as well, this is the ideal. This is how to be holy. Listen to the following statement of the Rambam: “Physical cleanliness leads to the sanctification of the soul from reprehensible opinions, for He who is physically unclean has no soul.” The Rambam is making a connection here with regard to how we are to approach cleanliness and holiness through our physical self and our intellectual/philosophical self. There are those who think that going to a mikvah to cleanse oneself is degrading and that the laws of family purity discriminate against women; that women live with a negative sense of self due to the idea of being impure or unclean. Impurity or uncleanliness doesn’t mean dirt or filth. These same people distort and misconstrue the concept and purpose of family purity laws. They are ignorant of the significance of a woman protecting and guarding these laws and that these laws were given to her specifically because of her great ability to adhere to and uphold family purity.

      The given laws of immersion in the mikvah have tremendous symbolic significance and through all this a woman preserves the laws of family purity, given to her by God. In observing this ritual purity she prepares herself physically and emotionally for this “rebirth.” In Judaism, marriage and family purity are based on holiness and the sanctity of God’s name. These laws strengthen the bond between man and woman and sanctify their relationship before God. Christianity and Islam have no such laws as marriage and procreation have no inherent holiness in their religion. In Judaism, man and woman anticipate with joy the time when they can resume their relations and rejuvenate their relationship. Man recognizes the worth of his wife, she is dear to his heart and he understands his need for her friendship and trust. “She is his home.” He realizes each time the tremendous importance of these laws that are placed in her care. He has a renewed appreciation for his Creator, Who in His laws brings happiness to husband and wife. This joy adds to a peaceful, calm home, the place where husband and wife can thrive together and individually in love and harmony. Where their children can benefit from this harmony and love and grow in morality as well. Together as a family they contribute to their community each with their skill and talent, helping others to come closer to Torah knowledge and mitzvos. “Sanctify yourselves and be holy.”
      Then, the segulah part, explanation what is against our Torah, I repeat OUR TORAH, maybe what you are about to read is against some Rabbis, BUT NEVER AGAINST OUR TORAH!: With regard to a segula ritual prescribed for pregnant women, a defender of the practice asks: “If this segula were not acceptable do you think the Rabbanim who told the women to do it would have suggested it?” This is a powerful and challenging question. The answer is that, unfortunately, I do believe Rabbanim suggested it. One must question the behavior of these rabbis. It is irresponsible to mislead innocent people along a false path – which takes the away from Torah and from a true relationship with God.
      Judaism commands us to base our actions on the genuine teachings of Torah – the only authentic guide to an appropriate relationship with God. It cautions us to avoid the temptation of unfounded practices. The Torah also warns us against inventing our own religious actions in addition to the Mitzvos. Our well being depends upon scrupulous observance of the Mitzvos, without distorting them in any way to conform to our emotional needs. Every Mitzvah was designed with exact precision and it is our task to use our minds to study, understand the Mitzvah and perform it in the most proper way. Thus, we are bidden to follow the direction of legitimate Torah authorities, the masters of the Oral Law, whom God has entrusted to elucidate the requirements of His religious system.
      The dangers of deviation are very great. For by inventing new practices not prescribed by Torah one, in fact, implicitly denies the Torah. He is in effect saying that the Torah is not perfect, for it does not work in my case, and there are other man made practices out there which will work for me. In effect this is a negation of Torah and constitutes a form of idolatry, heaven forbid. For one needs to ask: How will the observance of the segula help me? What connection is there between putting a key in the dough of a challah (schlissel challah) and the improvement of my material situation (parnasa)? What connection is there between immersing in a mikvah at an advanced stage of pregnancy and having an easy childbirth and a healthy child? Another segula practice in the same area is having the husband of a woman in advanced pregnancy being called up for Pesicha, the opening of the Ark from which the Torah is removed. Apparently the opening of the Ark is associated with the “opening” from which the baby will emerge and the husband’s Pesicha somehow effectuates an easy childbirth for his wife. How do these activities work? Is the intention that they are pleasing to God and He rewards us with our heart’s desires because of them?
      This cannot be the case for He has instructed us to live according to His commandments without deviating to the right or to the left. These segula practices are not included in His commandments – neither in the Written or Oral Law. Nor are they suggested by any of the great rabbinical authorities of the ages. We must conclude that they have no Judaic validity. These actions must therefore be deemed as useless from the standpoint of Torah. The act of performing them indicates that a person has lost faith in the authentic prescriptions of Torah. By performing these “unauthorized actions” one is implicitly affirming that there are other “forces” out there besides God which will respond to the needs of the performer of these ritualistic practices. This constitutes a form of “Avodah Zorah”.
      We should be cognizant of the great spiritual dangers in seemingly harmless actions. The defender of this segula asks: “What difference does it make to you if a woman feels a little more kedusha for having gone to the mikvah?” The implication is that there is no harm that can come from this action and that indeed it is beneficial for it makes the woman “feel a little more kedusha”. This however, is precisely the problem. The woman feels holier because she believes she has done something meritorious and holy. However, in truth, she has deviated from the path of Torah and performed a meaningless ceremonial act, which was invented 28 years ago. The introduction of bogus segulas has the effect of undermining a person’s faith in God and His Torah as the only legitimate path to achieving Divine favor. True emunah demands that we serve God and constantly seek to perfect ourselves through the study of Torah and performance of mitzvoth. We should do so regardless of whatever difficulties befall us, with the confidence that when our deeds find favor in His sight He will provide us with all our needs. We must never lose faith in God and, unfortunately, that is exactly what we do when out of desperation we put our hopes in alien segulas.

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