Thursday, August 21, 2003

An Interesting Letter to the Editor in the Jewish Press about Perek Shira

A while ago, they published an article about Perek Shira, its importance, and then proceeded to promote a new book. This week, there is an interesting letter to the editor:

What Hashem Expects From Us

In the Aug. 8 issue of The Jewish Press, Elisha Cohen extols the virtue of reciting
Perek Shira as a segulah for both benefits and maladies. He writes that Rebbe and Rabbi
Eliezer the Great thought it good to recite this perek. Mr. Cohen, however, neglects to
quote the source of this claim. Many readers might be inclined to assume that this is
written in the Mishna or Gemara. I have searched these texts and cannot find a
reference to Perek Shira. It is incomprehensible that Rebbe, the redactor of our Mishna,
would leave out such an important idea from the Oral Law. It also seems strange that
none of the Taanaim or Amoraim discuss this in all of the Gemara.

In Mr. Cohen`s article he tells many stories of how Perek Shira helped people in
different ways. In Parashat Eikev, Hashem tells us what we need to do to prevent
infertility and other illnesses from coming to us. In just the first five pesukim (Devarim
7:12-16) Hashem tells us that if we follow his mitzvot, He will fulfill the covenant of our
forefathers. He will bless our children and produce, we will be blessed among the
nations, there will be no infertility, He will remove sickness, and any malady that
occurred to us in Egypt will be removed from us and placed on our enemies.

Hashem is clear what we need to do. Nowhere in our Torah does it say that reading
some pesukim will remove affliction from us. All we need to do is follow His will and keep
His Torah. Rambam in the his Yad Hackzacha (Sefer Mada, Hilchot Avodat Kochavim
11:12) says that one who is ill and says pesukim to heal himself is a kofer baTorah (one
who denies Torah).

Instead of relying on Perek Shira or chassidish rings, it would greatly benefit Klal
Yisrael if we learn from the Torah and keep Hashem`s mitzvot as He commanded us at

Mark Roth
(Via E-Mail)

I'll try at some point to give a writeup about perek shira.

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