Rabbi Lefkowitz: This is a great thing, to donate to Kupat Ha-Ir, and especially that they found that this is a particular time of favor.
Rabbi Steinman: We have never heard of such a thing, but they show it in the sefer. Thus, it appears that this is correct. But tzedakka alone is also a segulah.
Rabbi Abuchatzeira: Indeed, this is a very respectable segulah, and certainly it is appropriate to utilize a time of favor such as this.
Rabbi Kanievsky: I have not heard of this. One who wishes for salvation via praying, it is possible to always pray, whenever one wishes.Rav Steinman's comment, that he never heard of such a thing, but since it comes from a credentialed sefer, it must be correct, reminds me of a comment from about a month and a half ago on a Hirhurim thread, by S.:
200 years ago the hamon believed in ghosts and devils. There was a modernizing, rationalizing turn for some decades, and now it's turned again. People used to be far more superstitious, even if today it seems like Orthodox society has become more superstitions than it was 20 years ago. Go back even further and you had people doing things like holding mock weddings in cemeteries to ward off a cholera epidemic, I kid you not.But indeed, we have this tremendous corpus of Rabbinic literature, and it is filled with all sorts of ideas. Some of those ideas might be superstitious; some might even dance at the edges of Lo Seonein, as defined by Rabbi Akiva. And people discover these old practices and do not know how to filter. If it is in a sefer (and this arcane sefer approved by a major kabbalistic figure or two), then it must be correct.
Personally I think the return to sgulos and the like is another aspect of 'textualism.' There is a tendency 'out there' to believe anything in a 'sefer,' or to put it another way, if it's in a sefer it is an unquestioned part of our tradition. Since people are beginning to read old, neglected seforim, and they are not employing critical skills to distinguish between things, many practices and beliefs are being revived, but they're not really new. For example, lead casting may seem like a new shtus-avoda-zara, but actually its an old one.
Contrast Rav Shteinman's position with that of Rav Kanievsky. I don't know if I am reading too much into Rav Kanievsky's words, but I think that he does not support any and every segulah, just because it is in an arcane kabbalistic sefer. He never heard of it, and one can -- and perhaps should -- focus on the davening, rather than on davening at this precise propitious time. Because we can always daven. And, I would add, turning tefillah into a segulah misses the point, and cheapens it. Turn to Hashem and pour out your heart, rather than calculating precise times like a modern-day Bilaam!
I see in Rabbi Kanievsky's words an echo of a response from Rav Elyashiv, regarding the segulah of davening 40 consecutive days at the kotel. This segulah indeed does have some basis, with a rabbi in the past endorsing the practice. But,
Rav Elyashiv's answer is that there is no basis for this. Any time, and every time, one goes to the Kotel to daven his prayers are accepted.Note the idea and stress of any time and every time, just as in the words of his son-in-law.
See also Yeranen Yaakov for a roundup of posts on this. And see The Cool Jew who has scanned in quite an extensive writeup.