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#21 yoel

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 02:38 PM

No, the question is why do them?

I think that when Chazal advocate something it is incumbent on the rejector to give their reasoning.

Of course, the question was in regard to segulot in general, and not specifically about Amuka.
It's pretty clear that just about any Breslover will go for segulot; the effort of going to Amuka is small potatoes compared to Uman.


Because Judaism is not a vending machine, (term borrowed from wolfishmusings blog) put a segula in and get a beracha out. Judaism is about working on oneself to merit yeshuos, and praying to God directly, to ask Him to provide for us....


But when Breslev does segulos on top of intensive davening, serious learning, and major hisbodedus? I hear what you're saying, a lot of people should work on the fundamentals. Somebody who sneaks a cheeseburger every now and then doesn't need to think about Cholov Yisroel. I guess what I don't agree with is the idea that segulos are totally empty of virtue and merit.


The gemara discusses many things that, well, simply don't work. ...
But one can certainly say that not everything that the gemara discusses works today, or is worth trying.

true, but when the gemara makes a metaphysical/spiritual correlation, it certainly cannot just be ignored....

I think that if you make the assumption that there are things in Torah that are totally irrelevant, you are making different assumptions about Judaism than I am - which is fine, it just means we will almost certainly arrive at certain conclusions differently.
וזה עקר צער של ישראל שיש להם בגלות
הכל הוא מחמת שנפלו מהדעת ותולין
הכל בטבע ובמקרים ובמזל

רבי נחמן מברסלב

#22 starwolf

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 04:16 AM

I think that when Chazal advocate something it is incumbent on the rejector to give their reasoning.


Does every one who goes to Amuka find their beshert?

So you think that every remedy suggested by the gemara works?

הַתְקַשֵּׁר מַעֲדַנּוֹת כִּימָה אוֹ-מֹשְׁכוֹת כְּסִיל תְּפַתֵּחַ


doubt not through the ages one increasing purpose runs, and the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns.

#23 warren

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 05:34 AM

Does every one who goes to Amuka find their beshert?

So you think that every remedy suggested by the gemara works?

Is that one even in the Gemara?
Poe's law: without a clear indication of the author's intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between sincere extremism and an exaggerated parody of extremism

If not now, when? Because I have lunch plans.

Purple is indeed very important

The Uncertainty Principle. It proves we can't ever really know... what's going on. So it shouldn't bother you. Not being able to figure anything out. Although you will be responsible for this on the mid-term. - "A Serious Man"

#24 starwolf

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 06:05 AM

Is that one even in the Gemara?


Not that I know of. But considering that Yoel wrote:

I think that when Chazal advocate something it is incumbent on the rejector to give their reasoning.




then I thought that I would ask about it. So I am asking if Yoel (and others) think that we should try the medical remedies discussed in the Gemara, or if they would prefer to go to a doctor.

הַתְקַשֵּׁר מַעֲדַנּוֹת כִּימָה אוֹ-מֹשְׁכוֹת כְּסִיל תְּפַתֵּחַ


doubt not through the ages one increasing purpose runs, and the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns.

#25 Snag

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 09:38 AM

Not that I know of. But considering that Yoel wrote:



then I thought that I would ask about it. So I am asking if Yoel (and others) think that we should try the medical remedies discussed in the Gemara, or if they would prefer to go to a doctor.

the medical remedies discussed in the gemara are something of a red herring, since not only did later authorities say that they should not be used (for reasons ranging from nishtanu hateva'im to chazal purposefully obscuring the details of the cures), but also, as someone pointed out upthread, there is a difference between accepting chazal's 'opinions' relating to the natural sciences, which there is rishonic support for rejecting, and between accepting thei 'opinions' on matters of the metaphysical, which would seem to be in their purview no matter which rishonim you follow.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#26 starwolf

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 10:45 AM

the medical remedies discussed in the gemara are something of a red herring, since not only did later authorities say that they should not be used (for reasons ranging from nishtanu hateva'im to chazal purposefully obscuring the details of the cures), but also, as someone pointed out upthread, there is a difference between accepting chazal's 'opinions' relating to the natural sciences, which there is rishonic support for rejecting, and between accepting thei 'opinions' on matters of the metaphysical, which would seem to be in their purview no matter which rishonim you follow.


Many of the medical opinions are based on the metaphysical. So why can you reject them, and not reject the other ones?

Allow me to suggest a possible answer. Those same rishonim who paskened that the medical ones no be used did so because they feared that some of the solutions could either do harm themselves or stop people from seeking other solutions with better chances of success. For the other segulot, they figured "what could it hurt" -especially seeing that these beliefs were popular in the pagan, and later Christian and Islamic worlds in which we were embedded.

הַתְקַשֵּׁר מַעֲדַנּוֹת כִּימָה אוֹ-מֹשְׁכוֹת כְּסִיל תְּפַתֵּחַ


doubt not through the ages one increasing purpose runs, and the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns.

#27 Snag

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 10:55 AM

Many of the medical opinions are based on the metaphysical. So why can you reject them, and not reject the other ones?

because they are metaphysical solutions to physical maladies. thus, if the nature of the physique changed, or the remedies were obscured, they might harm more than help. whereas with metaphysical solutions to metaphysical problems, even if we assume obscuration (changes would not be relevant since this is not a teva issue), im lo yo'il lo yazik.

Allow me to suggest a possible answer. Those same rishonim who paskened that the medical ones no be used did so because they feared that some of the solutions could either do harm themselves or stop people from seeking other solutions with better chances of success. For the other segulot, they figured "what could it hurt" -especially seeing that these beliefs were popular in the pagan, and later Christian and Islamic worlds in which we were embedded.

could be. that doesn't mean they felt they were wrong.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#28 yoel

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 07:38 PM

Does every one who goes to Amuka find their beshert?

So you think that every remedy suggested by the gemara works?


I think the answer to both questions is yes. However, both questions beg further clarification. In this life davka? In a physical sense? Maybe not necessarily.
וזה עקר צער של ישראל שיש להם בגלות
הכל הוא מחמת שנפלו מהדעת ותולין
הכל בטבע ובמקרים ובמזל

רבי נחמן מברסלב

#29 starwolf

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 08:58 PM

I think the answer to both questions is yes. However, both questions beg further clarification. In this life davka? In a physical sense? Maybe not necessarily.


so you would try the remedies suggested in the gemara for illness before going to a doctor? If not, why?

Do you think that the gemara can contain errors?

Do you think that any chassidishe seforim can contain errors? Or, by definition, are they all perfect?

הַתְקַשֵּׁר מַעֲדַנּוֹת כִּימָה אוֹ-מֹשְׁכוֹת כְּסִיל תְּפַתֵּחַ


doubt not through the ages one increasing purpose runs, and the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns.

#30 yoel

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 10:34 PM

so you would try the remedies suggested in the gemara for illness before going to a doctor? If not, why?

I don't think I have a good enough understanding of what the Gemara is saying. I think my first line of defense would be davening. Then the doctor. Then the Gemara if applicable. All three.

Do you think that the gemara can contain errors?

Not in the sense that you mean. I think we err in our understanding. I think that if Chazal wrote it down there it is definitely true in some sense. Maybe it's not true in the sense that a plain reading would allow for, but in some sense that may escape contemporary thought.

Do you think that any chassidishe seforim can contain errors? Or, by definition, are they all perfect?

Obviously only the ones by my rebbe are perfect... :p

Rebbe Nachman Z"YA said very clearly that even a tzadik can make mistakes. Any one person can certainly make a mistake. It's possible that any given sefer contains some kind of error. I feel it's safer to assume that a sefer is not riddled with errors, and to take its claims at face value unless there is compelling reason not to. Incidentally, I take the same approach with Carl Sagan and Brian Greene.

I believe the Gemara is a different case largely by virtue of its being a group effort.
וזה עקר צער של ישראל שיש להם בגלות
הכל הוא מחמת שנפלו מהדעת ותולין
הכל בטבע ובמקרים ובמזל

רבי נחמן מברסלב

#31 qgh

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 03:47 AM

Not in the sense that you mean. I think we err in our understanding. I think that if Chazal wrote it down there it is definitely true in some sense. Maybe it's not true in the sense that a plain reading would allow for, but in some sense that may escape contemporary thought.



When it came to science and medicine Chazal in general did NOT claim their knowledge came from a massoret from Sinai. They based their information on what was known to doctors /scientists at the time. They even admitted that in certain cases the non Jewish Scientists had a better understanding than them.
I don't see what the problem is saying they erred or did not have all the information we have today. Even today the medicine and science we have is just the best we can come up with based on the limited information we have. Compared to 2000 years ago our understanding is more advanced in a significant way, but we have plenty of errors and are far far from perfect.

#32 israeli4ever

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 12:03 PM

Does every one who goes to Amuka find their beshert?

Apparently now they're guaranteeing it.....
Attached File  IMG_20110619_192419.jpg   151.48KB   2 downloads
Disclaimer: The comments made by this poster do not necessarily represent an actual opinion, they are merely the latest output of an infinite amount of monkeys working on Shakespeare
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"If you don't sin... Jesus died for nothing."

"because teaching is all about obscuration and obfuscation.."
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#33 Snag

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 12:29 PM

Apparently now they're guaranteeing it.....
Attached File  IMG_20110619_192419.jpg   151.48KB   2 downloads

well, all of y'all who keep saying the haredim should get jobs should be happy - they found a job: praying at amuke daily....
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#34 WolfishMusings

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 04:46 PM

Because Judaism is not a vending machine, (term borrowed from wolfishmusings blog) put a segula in and get a beracha out.



Thanks for the reference, but I didn't come up with the term either. I either borrowed it from someone else, or someone used it on a comment on my site.

The Wolf

#35 Bet Chesed

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 06:14 PM

This made me chuckle:
http://www.rationali...g-of-power.html
Blessed be all

#36 warren

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 04:51 AM

This made me chuckle:
http://www.rationali...g-of-power.html

That also mentions Amuka, which was mentioned upthread.

However, segulos can be helpful on a psychological level. In Making Of A Godol, Rabbi Nosson Kametzky describes how the whole Amukah-shidduch-segulah was invented a few decades ago by an enterprising tour operator. Yet Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was not in favor of revealing this to the public, since he believed that it was comforting for people to go there.

I found the relevant excerpt from "Making Of A Gadol" here (pages 688-689 in the original edition). I also found a scan of those pages here.

Another case of superstition came to this authors attention through a review of the book Or Hagalil in the Hatzofah newspaper. The reviewer, R Meir Wunder, made a study and discovered that belief in the powers of prayer at the site of the grave of the Tanna Yonathan ben Uziel in Amuqah was nonexistent until a tour company in Jerusalem concocted the tradition circa 5713 (1953). R Meir filled this author in on the background of his investigation: a spinster acquaintance took a private taxi with an unknown driver for the long and lonely drive through the hills and forests of the Galilee to visit the grave, a site where prayer for finding a mate were said to be especially effective.* The single woman who spurred the reviewers research put herself in jeopardy to get to Amuqah and obviously had a superstitious faith in what she was doing to the extent that she felt protected by a magic net of security during the dangerous (and probably halakhically forbidden) ride with the stranger. The trip to the Galilee brought her no tragedy, but neither joy.

The scan shows a footnote that says that the issue of Hatzofeh is dated 10 Av 5736 (August 6, 1976). The other footnote says

R Wunder had also sent a letter with the gist of his discovery to the editor of the Hamodia newspaper. But on the advice of a renowned Torah scholar, that newspaper edited it to avoid casting any aspersion on the tradition. Not that the Torah scholar approved of doing unsafe things to get to Amuqah, but he did not want to invalidate altogether the notion of traveling there, saying, Let it be: if they believe in it, let us not discourage them. It seems to this author that the scholar had compassion for the unfortunates who find solace in their superstitions se fn. w on p. 680. He is believed to be R Shlomo-Zalman Auerbach.

That's rather confusing. Did the taxi ride take place before or after the tour company's invention? Did the woman take the ride because of the tour company's invention, or did she go for some other reason which the tour company disseminated?

Wikipedia says that the practice developed in the 17th century to pray at the site for not just "a good marriage partner" but also "for children, satisfaction from one's children, a good livelihood, health and happiness" and adds "The source of this practice is not clear". Explanations (only relating to marriage) are mentioned, two from "Holy Places in the Land of Israel" by Zev Vilnai (unclear from the article if these are his own, or are found earlier sources) and a "widespread claim" that he was unmarried or childless. In Hebrew Wikipedia, someone flagged the last one as "source needed".

And here is yet another version of both the "someone invented the tradition" and one of the explanations in Vilnai's book. In short, in the 1930's, Rabbi Shmuel Tchechik was told to pray for a shidduch "by the rarely visited grave of a great rabbi", he chose Amuka (no reason given), and since it was hard to get to then, came up with the explanation to get other people interested in going so he could go with them.
Poe's law: without a clear indication of the author's intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between sincere extremism and an exaggerated parody of extremism

If not now, when? Because I have lunch plans.

Purple is indeed very important

The Uncertainty Principle. It proves we can't ever really know... what's going on. So it shouldn't bother you. Not being able to figure anything out. Although you will be responsible for this on the mid-term. - "A Serious Man"

#37 warren

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 05:05 AM

This made me chuckle:
http://www.rationali...g-of-power.html

Also, to follow up on the silver segulah ring which was the main point of that blog entry, while the ad (posted here) claims it's endorsed by R' Sternbuch, a notice from his son says that all he said was there is such a segulah described in books.
Poe's law: without a clear indication of the author's intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between sincere extremism and an exaggerated parody of extremism

If not now, when? Because I have lunch plans.

Purple is indeed very important

The Uncertainty Principle. It proves we can't ever really know... what's going on. So it shouldn't bother you. Not being able to figure anything out. Although you will be responsible for this on the mid-term. - "A Serious Man"

#38 Bet Chesed

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 10:20 AM

Also, to follow up on the silver segulah ring which was the main point of that blog entry, while the ad (posted here) claims it's endorsed by R' Sternbuch, a notice from his son says that all he said was there is such a segulah described in books.



R' Sternbuch clarifies or does he?


http://www.rationali...or-does-he.html




Blessed be all

#39 warren

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 01:43 PM

Just now I found a blog entry about Rabbi (I checked, neither the Bavli nor the Yerushalmi give him the title of Rabbi) Yonatan ben Uziel whose yahrzeit is said to be coming up, which said "Tradition has it that Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel - יונתן בן עוזיאל - gave a blessing to all those who are unmarried that if they visited his resting place they would merit to meet their soulmates and marry within the period of one year. This blessing has worked for all these centuries (how many centuries? doesn't say) and countless numbers of people have married.". It goes on to quote other sources (but not about his yahrzeit, hs grave or getting married).

There's also a link there to an article about him at the OU site. It also doesn't mention his yahrzeit, grave, or segulot.
Poe's law: without a clear indication of the author's intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between sincere extremism and an exaggerated parody of extremism

If not now, when? Because I have lunch plans.

Purple is indeed very important

The Uncertainty Principle. It proves we can't ever really know... what's going on. So it shouldn't bother you. Not being able to figure anything out. Although you will be responsible for this on the mid-term. - "A Serious Man"

#40 Snag

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 09:47 PM

Just now I found a blog entry about Rabbi (I checked, neither the Bavli nor the Yerushalmi give him the title of Rabbi) Yonatan ben Uziel whose yahrzeit is said to be coming up, which said "Tradition has it that Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel - יונתן בן עוזיאל - gave a blessing to all those who are unmarried that if they visited his resting place they would merit to meet their soulmates and marry within the period of one year. This blessing has worked for all these centuries (how many centuries? doesn't say) and countless numbers of people have married.". It goes on to quote other sources (but not about his yahrzeit, hs grave or getting married).

There's also a link there to an article about him at the OU site. It also doesn't mention his yahrzeit, grave, or segulot.

you are correct - he never received semicha, so he is never referred to as rabbi, like many other tannaim and amoraim.

"tradition has it that all those visiting times square will merit to meet their soulmates and marry within the period of one year. this hogwash has worked for all these centuries, and countless numbers of people have married."

regardless of the objective validity of a given segulah, advertisements such as these do everyone a disservice.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain




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