Thursday, March 21, 2013

A segulah I can (sort of) support

I received the following in my Inbox earlier today:
Subject: Eitz Ratzon by Seder
Eitz Ratzon by Seder

Rabbi Fishel Shachter quoted the Apter Rav (the Oheiv Yisroel )  who says that it's a Eitz Ratzon in the Haggadah by "Va'Nitzack" , 
and by that point you can daven and call out to Hashem for whatever you want.

May Hashem answer all of your hearts wishes l'tovah , b'karov and may Hashem  have this zman of geulah be a personal geulah to you all !
While I am not entirely certain what wood is used for the Etz Ratzon, I can sort of see the positives in this segulah. I'd like to end on a positive note, so I am going to start with the negatives:

  1. Do segulot and mystical magic tricks have to invade every facet of Jewish life?! This is the seder, for goodness sake. We should be focused on the Biblical commandment of vehigadeta levincha, telling over the Exodus from Egypt via derashot. This shifts focus away from this mitzvah which we should be focusing on when we say vanitzak.
  2. Besides shifting focus, it also shifts purpose. We should do mitzvos because they are mitzvos. This turns one point of the haggadah into a panacea, instead of a mitzvah.
  3. It is made up. I am pretty sure it is not actually an eis ratzon, any more than any other time of the year. I think I can intuit some good reasoning to declare it an eis ratzon (more on that later, and maybe the Apter Rav wrote something to justify it). But just because some chassidic rabbi you (most recipients of the email) have never heard of made some declaration does not make it true.
  4. The changing of custom via mass email. Was this the minhag of your family to interrupt the seder for bakashos at this point? No, it wasn't. But due to email forwarding, and uncritical acceptance of things like this, it is going to become one of the next big segulah-memes, like that of saying parshas ha-man.
  5. Maggid is already so long, and people don't get to the matzah in time. Should we really add something more?
  6. Is there a problem of bakashot on Yom Tov? I quote:

This is brought down by the Sefer 'Shut' "Rav Poalim", if there is a problem to say Tashlich on Yom Tov, or Shabbos; since we know that one is not supposed to ask for his needs on these days. He brings out that the "Chidah" put together, part of the Tefillos for Tashlich, amongst other Tefillos for Yom Tov that do have a request for ones needs in it. He answers this question this all true for a 'one time' personal request, yet where we have set requests in Davening, we are allowed to say them, when they were prepared for the whole congregation.

Still, I can see some positive results if people adopt this custom:

  1. It is a change of pace in the middle of maggid. There are plenty of tricks and novelties "so that the children will ask". Nowadays, tricks are needed so that the adults will ask, and wake up!
  2. If people genuinely believe this is a special eis ratzon more than other times, they will actually think about their needs and their sorrows, and turn to Hashem to genuinely ask. This differs from your typical davening, which people don't pay much attention to.
  3. It fits into the idea of reenactment of the yetzias mitzrayim. Just as the Jews in Egypt, at this very point, vanitz'ak el Hashem elokeinu, cried out to Hashem. vayishma Hashem es koleinu, and Hashem heard our voices, so too we enact the crying out for our own respective sufferings, and Hashem answers us. It is a beautiful idea.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't get your hock about this. Never heard anyone do this and probably never will. And yes, parshas haman is a nice thing to do so why knock the Rimanover zechuso yagein aleinu?


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