Disclaimer: I did lots of linking to the glossary this week, as this post is pretty heavy on the Yiddish and Hebrew vocab. I usually make an effort to use English where possible, but this week’s subject matter didn’t really allow for that. I’ll try to make next week’s post more English-based.
Dating. Did you groan when you read that word? It probably depends on your experience, but it’s no secret that the period in life that includes dating can be fraught with anxiety, frustration and other complex emotions.
This could certainly be the case when a person has exhausted all the “conventional” routes, such as networking with shadchanim (and with non-shadchanim), signing up for online dating sites, going to singles events, staying in regular touch with friends and families to increase the chance of being kept in mind, keeping one’s dating resume (or profile or whatever) updated, and so on and so forth.
What happens when you’ve done everything you’re “supposed to do” and you’re still single? While there may be some comfort in the idea that everything happens at the right time, waiting for any length of time, just waiting, well, that can get exasperating (understatement? probably).
Enter segulos. These are basically a protective or benevolent charm or act based in Kabbalistic or Talmudic tradition. Now, I’m no expert on segulos, and I wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell you the difference between something which has a solid source in the Talmud or something that was made up by someone’s Alte-Bubby back in the shtetl based on some meshuggah superstition. However, most of these practices are indeed benevolent, and even if they don’t “do” anything, they wouldn’t hurt.
As one of my friends put it well, a segulah can be a way to open a person up and create a positivity and receptiveness. Through actions like davening and visiting holy places or people, a person can strengthen their bond with their Creator, which is an important and beneficial thing to do, marital status notwithstanding. After all, being married does not make a person happy, successful, or more connected to G-d. That’s up to each of us on our own, and it is not dependent on whatever life circumstances we may find surrounding us.
Doing segulos is a fairly well-known concept, and I would even say mainstream (except the last time I claimed something was mainstream, I got told, so I’m going to hold off on that pronouncement). For those who want an more in-depth look at dating and segulos, there’s a book called Splitting the Sea, which includes a list of segulos, and there are also sites like this one.
My personal experience with segulos includes davening at Amukah, as well as at kevarim of holy ancestors (Aishes Rabbi Akiva represent!). I have fond memories of being handed the havdala candle, and holding it at the height I wanted my potential husband to be. When I was dating my husband, I would try to remember exactly how tall he was so I could hold it that height. Additionally, I was a shomeret, held a kallah’s jewelry, drank from the kos shel bracha, and I’m sure I did other segulos that I don’t even remember.
I believe in the power of things we don’t understand and that we can’t see. Judaism teaches that a person’s deeds can have a physical impact on the world at large. I’ve seen and experienced the power of prayer (and I’m not the only one). It doesn’t seem too far a stretch to believe that doing something like davening at the Kotel or saying Shir HaShirim for forty days could have an effect which may defy explanation. Some people aren’t a fan of segulos, though, and in my opinion, it’s better to view a segulah as part of the hishtadlus a person goes through in order to find their spouse rather than a “miraculous cure,” so to speak.
Along that line of thinking, before I share the list of segulos, I would like to mention that my Rav at Neve said that the best segulah is to daven. I know that sometimes when I’m going through a challenging time, I don’t always remember to pray about it, and that’s silly, because that should always be the first thing I do. But I forget.
- make your own Kiddush
- holding or wearing a chosson or kallah‘s jewelry when she’s under the chuppah and drinking from the cup of wine that was used under the chuppah
- davening for someone else who needs the same thing you do – the source for this is found in the Gemara Bava Kama 92a, see also Rashi on Beraishis; 21:1. It’s stated that “one who solicits mercy for his fellow while he himself is in need of the same thing, [will be answered first]”.
- This may or may not be a chair that some people sit in
- crouch behind a door and eat the egg from the Seder plate
- sitting in the kallah’s chair after she walks away to the chuppah
- drinking the wine or challah from the wedding that the couple made a brachah on,
- getting a piece of the broken plate from tennaim
- being a shomeret
- asking a kallah to daven for you
- saying Shir HaShirim (typically for forty days)
- lighting candles every night
- shiluach ha-kan
- setting the table for Shabbos on Thursday night
- davening at Amukah
- going to the kever of a tzaddik
- reading Perek Shira for forty days
- reading Tehillim for forty days
- giving tzedakka
- giving tzedakka to help someone pay for their wedding
- getting a blessing from a holy Rabbi or Rebbitzin (specifically mentioned were the Koidenover Rebbe and the Biala Rebbe)
- getting a blessing from a holy person
- trying to take on an extra mitzvah
- use a chicken wing on the seder plate. Hide in the house afterwards, if the kallah finds it, it’s a sign she’ll fly out of the nest
- take a bowl of couscous and empty it onto the schach of the sukkah so that it falls into the sukkah
- saying Az Yashir at chatzot on the 7th day of Pesach
- going into therapy and working out your issues
- Rebbetzin Kanievsky a”h said that learning 2 halachos of Shmiras Halashon a day can really help.
- being b’simcha
- pouring water for other people
- holding the havdala candle
Know a segulah that’s not listed here? Leave it in a comment! Think segulos are silly? Share your opinion (nicely) in a comment! And if you’re married, don’t forget to keep your single friends in mind regularly and network with people on their behalf.