Sunday, August 26, 2007

40 Days Shir HaShirim

From an email list I subscribe to:
Letting whoever is interested know about a segulah that worked for me. I took upon myself to say shir hashirim for 40 days so that a specific bakasha should be fulfilled. If it were to work, I would publicize that the segulah worked. B"H I am happy to report that my bakasha was answered. Hatzlacha raba!
Alas, we do not know what the bakasha, request, was. The implication one will probably draw from this, and what was probably intended by the author here, is that this is not a segula for purpose X, but rather, a general, all purpose segulah. Thus one may just commit to doing this instead of, say, following Rebbetzin Kanievsky's advice from the previous post to learn two halachot of Shemirat HaLashon a day.

I don't have any idea why this should work. I've heard this same segula, specifically for the purpose of getting a shidduch, where at least it has some internal logic. After all, Shir haShirim is overtly about lovers, so it is appropriate (though unsubstantiated) that saying this would help bring one's appropriate shidduch.

However, I still have issues with this. It turns pesukim into an incantation, which was problematic at least in terms of lochesh al haMakka. Perhaps it is the zechut of learning through this sefer of Tanach? But nothing is said of understanding it, just of "zugging" it. And even if you understand Hebrew while saying it, you will understand the pashut peshat meaning of it, which one commentator says is worse than bittul Torah, but is even negative, because you are not understanding the underlying message, while the overt message is semi-pornographic. (See here for I believe is the most extreme, though often missed, example, but be warned over the rating of its content.)

Another point to be made is that the letter writer says "If it were to work, I would publicize that the segulah worked." He does not say that if it does not work, he will publicize that. In fact, I would find it highly strange for someone to so publicize this. The effect of this is that you will only be presented with positive evidence and no chance of seeing negative evidence. This is not a good way to evaluate the efficacy of a segulah.


On an entirely unrelated note, I found the following YouTube video via slashdot, on a technique of image resizing, by Shai Avidan and Ariel Shamir. It is quite cool. Check it out:

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