Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another Use for Apples

This is from Sefer Lekutei Segulos YisraelYisrael Lisegulaso (Feldheim, 2008), based on the sefer of Rav Shabsai Lipshitz (Dayan of Yulnitza) zt”l.  Thank you to Rabbi DK for permission to post this.

Translation of  Segulah #4: For love between man and wife, take a new needle and a new apple, inscribe a circle on the apple, write inside the circle the man's name and beneath it the word "Adam", and the wife's name and beneath it the word "Chava" (Eve), and both should eat the apple.

 I don't know exactly what he means by having them both eat the apple.  Simultaneously? Sequentially?  The same day?  One thing I do know:  I wouldn't leave any pieces of that apple lying around where the poilishe shikseh might find it.  By the way, the association of apples and love is not unique to our tradition: See, e.g., here.

Maybe this is connected to the passuk in Shir Hashirim 8:5
 מִי זֹאת, עֹלָה מִן הַמִּדְבָּר, מִתְרַפֶּקֶת עַל דּוֹדָהּ; תַּחַת הַתַּפּוּחַ עוֹרַרְתִּיךָ
( Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? Under the apple-tree (Tapu'ach) I awakened thee)
On the other hand, we are far from certain as to the identity of the "Tapu'ach."  Although this has meant "apple" in the past two millennia, there are many good reasons to suspect that the Biblical tapuach refers to a completely different species.  See, for example, Tosfos Shabbos 88a d'h Piryo, who brings evidence that tapuach means the citron/esrog, which at least has a strong gender symbolism in the sefarim that discuss such things.  But try eating one with your wife!  Some modern writers suggest that the tapuach of Tanach is the apricot.  I certainly would say that eating an apricot together, especially a magic apricot, is a more sensual experience than eating an apple or an esrog.  Make sure that neither of you inhale the pit.

I also liked the segula (#5) that to eradicate an inappropriate love, drink water in which willow twigs have been cooked.  I knew it would cure headaches and fevers.  Nice to know that it cures a very different kind of fever as well.  My only quibble is that in the sense that Hashem always provides the cure before creating the disease, I would have put #5 before #4.

The Sefer is available here  and, as of this posting, it's on sale.

This remark is in the comments, but I wanted to emphasize it.
Despite the tone of this post, I want you to know that the individual that edited this book for Feldheim is a Talmid Chacham muvhak and an exemplary yarei shamayim.  If there were more like him,  we would be zocheh to Achishenu.  With the current events surrounding the EJF, and the encouragement and occasional participation of allegedly honorable individuals in the mob-action lynchings of the principals of that organization (example: Rav Elya Ber Vachtfogel agreed to affiliate himself with the EJF after Rabbi Tropper resigned, and he was immediately called by the henchman of a certain gadol in Eretz Yisrael who explicitly threatened him with public humiliation if he didn't not only retract his acceptance but also claim to have never agreed to join the organization), it is only the adinus (tranquility) and the rei'ach Gan Eden of such people as this book's editor that clears the stink from my nostrils and protects my faith in the concept of of the spiritually salutary effects of a life of Torah. 


  1. Is there one for Flying?

  2. Can you translate the Hebrew for the new readers....

  3. Are the check marks for those you tested that worked, and the x's for those you tested that failed?

  4. No, wise guy. I got the page from the man who edited the book for Feldheim. What his experience is, I don't know. But if I were him, I would have put the refuah (#5) before the makka (#4).

  5. Sorry, you'll have to buy it to find out!
    By the way, although the post takes a breezy and humorous tone, the person who edited the book is an ehrlicher Yid, a talmid chacham and a yarei shamayim, and if more people were like him, we would be zocheh to achishenu, odd segulos or not.

  6. That's "wise person,", not "wise guy."

  7. Oh, did I say guy? I meant gyne.

  8. Vyihesem Li Am Segulah
    A great man once said Its a shame they did not sat Loi Signov was a Segulah

  9. ad feminam comments will lead you nowhere.

  10. a) Achishenu is more likely just before we descend to the 50th sha'ar hatumah, not by kulo zakai - e.g., yetzias mitzraim.

    b) gedolim do not have henchmen; they have shamoshim, mekuravim, talmidim muvhakim, etc., etc. Or at least, that applies to MY gedolim; perhaps not to your gedolim. Note that the previous fragment is sarcastic (we need a special font for sarcasm), but carries (I hope) a message.

  11. Sometimes, gedolim encourage their followers to do things that seem, to outsiders, to be terrible. For example, I don't think Yoav ben Tzeruyah or Shimi ben Geira were happy about David Hamelech's last will and testament. Reb Yonasan Eibshutz was probably upset about the Yaavetz's pronouncement, and the Ramchal probably had bad feelings about the entire Jewish community. I think they could fairly describe their pursuers to be rodfim, or henchmen, or villains, or whatever. Eilu ve'eilu notwhithstanding, when the garrotes come out, I think the term is fair to use. This doesn't take away from the gadlus of those people. They are gedolim, but happen to also be involved in retzicha le'sheim shamayim at the moment. The nirtzachim don't have to say thank you.

  12. a) If what you meant by "henchmen" included gedolai hadoros such as Benayahu ben Yehoyoda, then that categorical classification has just become one of nonpareil honor.

    b) Since chazal identifies Dovid Hamelech's motive regarding Yoav as wishing to afford him a kapara for two unwarranted acts of retzicha, after all was said and done, he probably would have thanked Benayahu - had that been possible.

    c) Shimi ben Geirah and his followers could legitimately call Pinchas a rodef, and indeed would have been justified in killing him - the specific conditions (perisha) depending on a well-known machlokes. So what was the ta'ana on Klal Yisroel for calling Pinchas a lowlife?

    d) As is evident in many places in shas, the avadim of the Reish Galusa were not necessarily of the highest caliber; nor were those of some great Kohanim Gedolim. On the other hand, sheluchai gedolim often did superficially repugnant things as agents of the gedolim - those vile Pharisees. Using pejorative descriptions rather obviously is an expression of choosing sides in a dispute involving awesomely great people.

    e) As in much of Bava Kamma, it depends on whose ox is being gored. While emotions (and feelings of disgust) may run high, I respectfully submit that the terminology of outsiders should be restrained.

    f) On the other hand, if you were indeed one of the nirdafim, then accept my apologies and consolation.

  13. "one of the nirdafim"

    Does rishon be'rishon ishto kegufo count? Why that goon would drag more people into the fight than necessary, I don't know.

  14. Segulahs can seem like maaseh amori, sometimes.
    Personally if my Rav/close family doesnt think its an accepted segulah I'm the first scoffer.