Wednesday, Jul 10, 2024

In the Merit of Torah


            When things look bleak, some people look to segulos. Whether it is something they do or something they wear, it gives them a tangible item to hold onto in times of challenge and difficulty. At times, even nowadays, if someone is sick or in need of a yeshuah, people make use of kemeyos, amulets worn around their necks or their wrists. Often created by a mekubal or a tzaddik, an amulet contains a piece of rolled-up parchment, upon which are written special words, verses, or names.

            It is important to know the origins of an amulet. When written by a tzaddik, the amulets possess great holiness and can help bring about miraculous salvations. However, if written by someone who is not holy, but merely knows how to put together the proper words inside an amulet, they can have a negative effect and should be avoided.

            With it all, while authentic amulets seem to bring about salvation, we must never forget the real source of our success and deliverance. To bring about this point, Rav Shmuel Auerbach told a story, heard firsthand from the one involved.

One of the elders of Yerushalayim from the previous generation was in possession of an authentic kemeya, which had effected great yeshuos and truly wondrous salvations. Through many generations, if someone was sick or in need of an easy childbirth, he or she wore the kemeya. If a fellow struggled in areas of parnassah or tzaar gidul bonim, the zechus of the kemeya helped bring about a yeshuah. It was widely accepted that this kemeya was written by Rav Dovid Halevi Segal, the Taz, who lived in the 1600s.

One of the rules of a kemeya is that once it is sealed, it can never be opened; when opened, it loses its power. Although aware of this condition, the owner of the amulet was very curious as to its contents. Even if this one were to lose its power, he reasoned, he wanted to see the various holy Names of the Al-mighty written inside of the amulet, so that he could use the knowledge to create others like it.

Word spread that the fellow was planning on opening the kemeya. Even those who disagreed with him regarding opening the kemeya were curious about what was inside. Only a few distinguished individuals were invited to the fellow’s home for the event, and what a special event it promised to be. Not often does one have the opportunity to discover such secrets.

Finally, the big moment arrived. The small metal ornament, which had been sealed for generations, sat there in front of them on the table. The owner picked it up carefully and slowly bent back the metal folds. Inside was a piece of paper that had been folded for centuries. He opened it gently, expecting to see the holy Names of the Al-mighty or His celestial angels inscribed there.

What he saw was way different from what he had envisioned.

The Taz had written on the kemeya’s parchment: “Ribbono Shel Olam, give a yeshuah and much brocha to the one who wears this kemeya in the zechus of the effort I invested to properly understand the words of Tosafos, Maseches Chullin, daf 96.”

That was it. Nothing more. No holy Names. No angels.

Just a request for assistance, based on the merit of the effort and toil of Torah.

While the owner of the amulet was disappointed that it could never be replicated, everyone who was gathered in that room was inspired.

            For they learned a memorable lesson: The greatest segulah of all is ameilus baTorah.





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