Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Good Luck in Adar and Superstitions

Happy Adar, everyone!

Halacha Yomit discusses whether it's a problem to say that it's better to do business at a certain time or not, and how that applies to Adar. Here's my translation:
Question: Is it permissible to say that a certain time is better for business dealings because at that time there is greater Mazal [luck] - or similar statements?

Answer: This question touches upon Hilchot Me'onen [the negative commandment of Lo Te'oneinu - not to be superstitious with certain times - see the next paragraph -YY] and Mechashef [the negative commandment not to practice sorcery - YY], whose details are numerous, and we won't be able to touch upon all of them right now, but we will briefly talk about this subject.

In the Gemara in Tractate Sanhedrin (page 65b), it says: The rabbis learned: [What is a] Me'onen? Rabbi Akiva says, "This refers to someone who calculates times and hours and says, 'Today is a good day to travel.' [or] 'Tomorrow is a good day to purchase (to do business)' because at those times, the Mazal is good or bad - and similarly, anything similar to these [statements]." (Rashi explains: The word "Me'onen" is like a master of "Onot" [time periods], where he distinguishes the [good from bad] time period and says, "Today is a good day to travel on the road.")

Rabbeinu HaRambam made a similar halachic decision [by saying]: What is a "Me'onen"? These are those that give times, that they say through astrology that a certain day is good, and a certain day is bad, etc. Similarly, Maran [Rabbi Yosef Caro] in Shulhan Aruch (Y"D 179) decided: Regarding one who says, "Do not begin to collect money from me because it is morning" or "because it is Motza'ei Shabbat" or "because it is Motza'ei Rosh Hodesh" (because this person thinks that those times are not good for that matter), saying such a statement is forbidden.

From here, we can ask: If this is true, how did Haza"l establish the law (as was brought down in the previous Halacha) that regarding the court case of a Jew against a non-Jew, that he will not be successful in the month of Av, where a Jew's Mazal is not so good, and he will be successful in the month of Adar, where a Jew's Mazal is good? Isn't there a prohibition here of Me'onen, as the Rambam and Maran in Shulhan Aruch had decided?

Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef Shlit"a answers that there is no prohibition here at all, according to what the Ritva wrote (his words were brought down in the previous Halacha), that even though there is no Mazal to Israel, nevertheless, it was decreed upon them that in the month of Adar, things will be good to them. It comes out, therefore, that this is part of faith, that this matter will be through Heavenly Providence [emphasis mine -YY], and has no connection to constellations or astrology at all. The Ga'on Hamufla Rabbi Shelomo Eliezer Alfandari Zt"l wrote similarly.

As a side point, in connection with this, we should point out the words of Rabbeinu Yona Gerondi, who wrote that there are some men and women, who, when they hear a raven calling, they say that Has Veshalom a decree that is not good is coming. And along those lines, they are filled with mistaken beliefs, while they claim that it's true what they see - that this is what actually happens - that whenever a raven calls out, afterwards, bad news comes or something similar. But they don't know that davka because of their mistaken beliefs, the Satan stands before them to hinder them and causes the evil to befall them as they said in order that they will continue to believe these vain [beliefs].


At Wed Feb 21, 08:50:00 AM 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. The superstitious will always say that there is no problem with their view.
2. The Rambam explains how Avoda Zara arose from true understanding. Superstition arises in the same way. Take it to heart.
3. HaShem is One. One! Only if you know that very very well, delve into deeper studies.

At Sun Feb 25, 12:43:00 PM 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HaShem is One. One!
To know that you have to delete all the rest of the world, all its images and have just Him in mind in front of you. But there is more to delete in this picture or scene. It is your presence, your image. If you "get ride" of that too, than there will be a real thought about the One,the True One.


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