Segula Challas



Letter to the moderator of a Jewish group email list:



“Dear Moderator: After reading numerous “pro” posts on segula challas, bereft of any Torah source, I kindly request your fair posting of an alternative post, an actual Torah source:



Rambam, Hilchos Avodah Zara (11:4):


“One may not practice sorcery, as do the idolaters, as it says, “Do not divine”. What is sorcery? For example, those who say, “since the bread fell from my mouth, [or] since the staff fell from my hand, I shall not travel to such a place...for if I do travel, my wishes will not be fulfilled.”


Rambam is not discounting proven, medical cures, or logical actions that have rational, causal results. He describes prohibited actions, as they are not found in the Torah, since they have no natural relationship to their imagined promises. So too, keys in challas have no relationship to fertility. The Kessef Mishna – author of the Shulchan Aruch – states that Rambam merely describes the “principle”, which includes many other actions. Rambam could not list the innumerable permutations of sorcery, and therefore, described the Torah's prohibition with a few examples. In his conclusion, Rambam writes this:


“And these things [listed herein] are all fallacy and lies. They are what the original star worshippers misled the gentile nations to accustom themselves after them. And it is not fitting that Israel, who are very wise, be drawn after these futilities, and they shall [also] not assume they afford any help...But wise people, with complete knowledge know with clear proofs that all these matters prohibited by Torah, are not wise matters, but they are emptiness and futile...and because of this, the Torah prohibited them.” (Paraphrased, ibid, 11:16)”