Kabbalists, Segulas and Red Bendels: Not a Thread of Truth
A certain value promoted within the Jewish community requires correction. "Rebbes", "Rebbetzins", and "Tzadikim" are continually publicized as offering blessings and segulas (amulets) – a sure-fire cure to people's needs. Whether the need is financial, social or health-related, desperate Jews flock to these Kabbalists with the hopes of reversing their ill fate.
Although many Jews believe Kabbalists and segulas work, there is no evidence for this belief. More primarily, an authentic Torah view is derived from God's words alone, not man's beliefs…no matter how many repeat it, or the reputation of those endorsing it. And based on God's words, these practices are not Jewish values. In fact, God prohibits such practices due to their powerless nature: "You must not eat on blood. You must not act on the basis of omens. And you must not act on the basis of auspicious times (Lev. 19:26)." Tosefta Shabbos (chap. 7) literally refers to wearing red strings "ways of the Emorites" – an idolatrous culture.
We learn what Judaism is, only from God's words: The Five Books of Moses, Prophets, and Writings. When in need, the Prophets prayed to God. Nowhere in these works do we find the Prophets using a created object to change their fate or reality. They never practiced anything except prayer, or what they might procure through their mechanical abilities harnessing the natural world. The Prophets based their practices on two considerations: 1) knowledge of nature and 2) knowledge of God and His government over mankind. Nature offers no evidence that man's fate is affected by amulets. And God rewards and punishes man due to his sins and merits. A wicked man is punished, regardless of wearing a red string. A totally righteous woman is given children, regardless of her failure to wear such items. The Prophets lived according to knowledge, not baseless beliefs. And knowledge of the universe taught them that inanimate objects cannot help in any way. God alone changes our fate. You must know this: Maimonides stresses that our denial of "Reward and Punishment" is met with the loss of the Afterlife. One who believes in amulets, denies the truth of Reward and Punishment.
Prophecy ended with Malachi; no one today can guarantee God's response. It is therefore an outright lie to say, "Do such and such an act, and God will respond." Additionally, to make people pay or else hold back assistance, is cruel. So these charlatans are deceptive, robbers, and vicious. These Kabbalists build up the hopes of unknowing masses, and then shatter their dreams when no changes materialize.
If the Jewish public and Jewish leaders fail to correct our nation about these and other heathen practices that afford no help at all, if the media continues to promote such lies, then Jews' will go unanswered since they seek assistance from that which cannot help.
To know what Judaism and Torah is, study God's words. Dismiss all else, as we are commanded not to add or subtract from Torah (Deut. 13:1). If you are in need, God can hear you from any location. "Any place you mention My name, I will come to you and bless you (Exod.20:21)." But if you feel using Torah prohibitions like amulets will work, do not expect God to help you.