Segulot and Yeshuot


by Dovid Landesman

Many of us, based on personal conversations as well as perusal of various blogs, seem to share discomfort when confronted with yet another advertising campaign by Kuppat ha-Ir and its fellow travelers. It has become a rarity to see pictures of R. Aron Leib, R Elyashiv or R. Chaim Kanievsky unattached to promises of health, wealth, zivugim and/or children et. al Various deals are offered for prayers at a potpourri of holy sites in Israel and abroad, all suggesting that yeshuah is but a phone call and credit card payment away.

At the beginning of last week a flyer appeared in my mailbox soliciting funds for the provision of supplies to those who were travelling to Miron for Lag ba-Omer. In a departure from the practice of similar solicitations offering bounty for those providing chai rotel of inebriating liquids, this request was for money to purchase shoko and a lachmaniah [a bag of chocolate milk and a roll] – I assume for the children who would be attending the hilula. Incidentally, but this would be grounds for a separate posting, many people claim that Rebbi Shimnon bar Yochai leaves Miron on Lag ba-Omer because he cannot stand the scene.

However, an e-mail that I received yesterday leads me to believe that not all is lost and there still are a number of sane individuals in the asylum. The e-mail quotes a rav [identity unknown to me] who offers a list of time tested segulot straight from the pages of the Torah, Talmud and rishonim. As a public service, I have translated them and cited the sources. I would be grateful to readers who would add their own submissions in the comments section.

1. Segulah for recovery from illness – go to a doctor [Berachot 60a, Bava Kamma 46b)
2. Segulah for longevity – lead a healthy lifestyle (Rambam, De’ot 4:20)
3. Segulah for marriage – look for a suitable wife (Kiddushin 2b)
4. Segulah for shalom bayit – love and forebearance (Sanhedrin 7a, Bava Metzia 59a)
5. Segulah for children – prayer to Hashem (Shmuel I 1)
6. Segulah for yir’at Shamayim – learning (Avot 2:5)
7. Segulah for spirituality – learning and mitzvah observance (Megillah 6b)
8. Segulah for kavanna in prayer – take it seriously (Berachot 5:1)
9. Segulah for pure faith – don’t believe in segulot (Devarim 18:13)
I would add the following two:
10. Segulah for honest paranasa – learn a profession (Kiddushin 30a)
11. Segulah to prevent drowning – learn how to swim (ibid.)

[Editor’s note: I would add one more.
12. Segulah for absolutely anything at all – Daven! (Source: G-d. See Yeshaya 65:24, and Nefesh HaChaim on it, if you don’t get the message from the pasuk)

Maybe we should open this up to readers.]

Rabbi Dovid Landesman resides in Ramat Beit Shemesh where he comments on the foibles of living in Israel. His latest book – FOOD FOR THOUGHT – NO HECHSHER REQUIRED – is available at Jewish bookstores or on

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4 years 4 months ago

YM, in your May 23 comment, you wrote that you found “this entire posting by Rav Landesman to be offensive.” Rabbi Ladesnman wrote back to you the same day asking you courteously to explain what it is you found offensive in his post. We have been holding our breath for the past ten days. Can you expand on your statement?

4 years 4 months ago

From Hirhurim:
Kissing sefarim is cited as a segula for remembering one’s studies as well as a remedy for forbidden speech.[8]

[8] Minhag Yisrael Torah 246:44

Abie Zayit
4 years 4 months ago

The author may not know Haim Navon, but it is no parody. Travel from Bet Shemesh to Gush Etzion and you can meet him personally – or, if you prefer to let your fingers do the walking, see Wikipedia

Bob Miller
4 years 4 months ago

If a segulah is a mitzvah, optional or mandatory, doing it should be OK, except if it’s done in a pagan kind of way (pushing a button to force a response).

If it’s not a mitzvah, or, worse yet, if it’s something absorbed from paganism, it should have no place in our lives. For example, I’ve seen articles in Orthodox newspapers that actually tout a “Jewish” adaptation of the practice of Bleigiessen, [of dropping molten lead into water, and reading the future from the forms that the lead takes.]

Dr. E
4 years 4 months ago

No one mentioned the Segula for Kupat Hair its off-shoots to go out of business. )Then again the printer of those glossy brochures works very hard, employs many fellow Jews in the print shop and distribution, and is likely making a fine parnassa from this, so we must not wish him ill.)

Also no one mentioned the Segula to make the ubiquitous Pidyon Shevuyim appeals for law breakers go away. I’d be interested in what to do for that as well. I just saw another one is back on our radar screens (although it is not clear as to what that money will exactly be going towards at this stage of the game).

I would say that the contrary to common practice, the Segula for marriage is NOT for young women to recite Tehillim throughout the Chuppah, but for their teachers to advocate for the desegregation of genders (except for Devarim Shebikedusha) and allowing for Hashgacha Pratis to run its course–sort of like the way it has always been throughout Jewish History before the advent of the Seminary Industry 25 years ago.