Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Orthodoxy Test #13: Segulas


a) work, and are very important

b) might work, so why not try them
c) probably dont work, but whats the harm
d) definitely dont work
e) are mostly avoda zara
f) Leave this question out of my results

I chose (c). I think that most of the rabbis I know kind of roll their eyes at the mention of most segulas, but the attitudes vary somewhat, and certain segulas seem to be more accepted as authentic than others. Doesn't the Gemara assume that some segulas have some value, e.g., in Tractate Shabbat, Perek Bameh Ishah? I personally don't use them, and I don't doubt that some people who worry about them are just falling victim to the same irrational human tendency toward superstition - as a countermeasure to the feeling of lack of control over a situation - that makes people always, or never, step on cracks in the sidewalk, and prompted Vida Blue to wear the same baseball cap for several years without washing it. But God certainly has the power to make segulas work, if he so chooses, and I don't feel the need to categorically deny the validity of something just because Western culture snickers at people who believe in it. Some of them probably are avodah zarah, and it behooves one, I would think, to verify the permissibility of a segulah before using it.

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