Segula (Kabbalah)

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A segula (Hebrew: סגולה, romanizedsəḡullā, lit.'talisman', pl. סגולות səḡulloṯ[1][2]) is protective or benevolent incantation or ritual in Kabbalistic and Talmudic tradition.[3][4]


In medieval magic, "sigil" (/ˈsɪɪl/) was commonly used to refer to occult signs representing various angels and demons the practitioner might summon. In this context, the term sigil derives from the Latin sigillum "seal."[5] Maimonides strongly urges against writing sigils on the back of a mezuzah, turning it into an amulet, in Mishneh Torah, "Laws of Tefilin and Mezuzzah", 5:4.

Hebrew: אֲבָל אֵלּוּ שֶׁכּוֹתְבִין מִבִּפְנִים שְׁמוֹת הַמַּלְאָכִים אוֹ שֵׁמוֹת קְדוֹשִׁים אוֹ פָּסוּק אוֹ חוֹתָמוֹת הֲרֵי הֵן בִּכְלַל מִי שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. שֶׁאֵלּוּ הַטִּפְּשִׁים לֹא דַּי לָהֶם שֶׁבִּטְּלוּ הַמִּצְוָה אֶלָּא שֶׁעָשׂוּ מִצְוָה גְּדוֹלָה שֶׁהִיא יִחוּד הַשֵּׁם שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְאַהֲבָתוֹ וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא קָמֵעַ שֶׁל הֲנָיַת עַצְמָן כְּמוֹ שֶׁעָלָה עַל לִבָּם הַסָּכָל שֶׁזֶּהוּ דָּבָר הַמְהַנֶּה בְּהַבְלֵי הָעוֹלָם:
Those, however, who write the names of angels, other sacred names, verses, or forms, on the inside [of a mezuzah] are among those who do not have a portion in the world to come. Not only do these fools nullify the mitzvah, but furthermore, they make from a great mitzvah [which reflects] the unity of the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, the love of Him, and the service of Him, a talisman [Hebrew: קמע, romanized: qāmēʿ, lit.'amulet'] for their own benefit.[6]

Segula appears in the Hebrew Bible in Exodus 19:5 and Deuteronomy 7:6, where God refers to the Jewish nation as his segula (treasure). The root of this word, segol, is the name of a Hebrew vowel-point represented by three dots. According to the Chaim ibn Attar, a segula is "a charm that supersedes logic".[7]

List of segulot[edit]

Following is a list of popular or well-known segulot.

Fertility and childbirth[edit]

Protection from harm[edit]

Wearing a red string
  • Wearing a red string cut from a longer length that has been wound around Rachel's Tomb is an ancient tradition that protects the wearer from danger[15][16] The only classic source which does mention the red thread expressly forbids its use, saying that tying a red thread on one’s fingers is an idolatrous practice (darkei emori).[17][18]
  • Giving tzedakah (charity money) to a traveler to donate when he arrives at his destination helps protect the traveler from harm[19]
  • Concentrating on the phrase "There is none but Him [God]" (Hebrew: אֵין עוֹד מִלְּבַדּוֹ׃, romanizedʾēn ʿoḏ ˌmiləḇodˈdo[20]) shields a person from danger[21]



  • Buying a burial plot is a segula for a long life[26]
  • Placing a pigeon on a person’s navel is efficacious for curing jaundice[3][27]
  • Giving tzedaka in the merit of Rabbi Meir is a segula for finding a lost object[28]
  • Buying a new knife for Rosh Hashanah is a propitious remedy for livelihood[29]
  • One can hang a special note around the neck of a chicken and use it to identify a thief[30]


  1. ^ Kantor, Benjamin Paul (30 August 2023). The Linguistic Classification of the Reading Traditions of Biblical Hebrew: A Phyla-and-Waves Model. Open Book Publishers. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-78374-953-9. Retrieved 15 May 2024. Jerome [sɣolˈlɑː] 'prized possession' (Mal. 3.17)
  2. ^ Afilalo, Raphael (2006). Kabbalah Glossary: Clarification of terms and concepts of the Kabbalah. Kabbalah Editions. p. 251. ISBN 292324107X.
  3. ^ a b Rosner, Fred; Bleich, J. David; Brayer, Menachem M. (2000). Jewish Bioethics. KTAV Publishing House. p. 59. ISBN 0881256625.
  4. ^ Finkelstein, Baruch; Finkelstein, Michal (2005). The Third Key: A Jewish couple's guide to fertility. Feldheim Publishers. p. 124. ISBN 1583303901.
  5. ^ "sigil". The Chambers Dictionary (9th ed.). Chambers. 2003. ISBN 0-550-10105-5.
  6. ^ "Mishneh Torah, Tefillin, Mezuzah and the Torah Scroll 5:4".
  7. ^ Chrysler, HaRav Eliezer. "Parshas Yisro: A Treasured Nation". Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  8. ^ Lebovits, Moishe Dovid. "Lag BaOmer". Halachically Speaking. p. 6. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  9. ^ Lev, Barukh ben David (2003). There Is No Such Thing As Coincidence: And other stories of Divine Providence. Vol. 2. Feldheim Publishers. pp. 45–46. ISBN 1583306153.
  10. ^ Finman, Rabbi Herschel (2012). "What is the Function of the Kvatter?". Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  11. ^ "Zera Shimshon". Iggud HaRabbonim.
  12. ^ Rabbi Nachman Seltzer (2018). Zera Shimshon 2. Shaar Press. ISBN 978-1-4226-2226-1.
  13. ^ Weisberg, Chana (2004). Expecting Miracles: Finding meaning and spirituality in pregnancy through Judaism. Urim Publications. p. 134. ISBN 9657108519.
  14. ^ Alpert, Yair (26 January 2010). "Rav Fischer's Segulah Miraculously Works By Not Working – Saves Life of Baby". Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  15. ^ Tannenbaum, Rabbi Gershon (10 February 2012). "The Red Strings of Kever Rochel". The Jewish Press. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  16. ^ Rossoff, Dovid (October 1997). "Tomb of Rachel". The Jewish Magazine. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  17. ^ "Wearing Red Thread: Ask the Rabbi Response".
  18. ^ "Tosefta Shabbat 7:1".
  19. ^ Epstein, Donneal (2000). Halachos for the Traveler. Feldheim Publishers. p. 4. ISBN 1583304398.
  20. ^ "Devarim 4:35". Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  21. ^ Goldberger, Rabbi Moshe. "Learn the Secret: Discovering Hashem's constant presence in our lives". Targum Press. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  22. ^ "The Mystical Power of Amuka". Hamodia. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  23. ^ Kiel, Dvora (2007). When the Time is Right: Manifestations of Divine Providence in everyday life. Feldheim Publishers. p. 486. ISBN 978-9657371299.
  24. ^ "Origin of the 40 Days". 2012. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  25. ^ "It's a Segulah". Jewish Treats. 25 February 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  26. ^ Moss, Aron. "Should I Buy a Burial Plot?". Archived from the original on June 29, 2017. Retrieved September 24, 2017. << The sages of the Midrash advise us to purchase a burial plot even while we are still alive and well.1 And it is commonly said that doing so will actually bless one with a long life >> (... where the footnote "1" lists many authoritative sources).
  27. ^ Rosner et al. (2000), pp. 59–62.
  28. ^ Lev (2003), p. 81.
  29. ^ Danzinger, Rabbi Eliezer (2012). "Purchasing a New Knife for Rosh Hashanah". Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  30. ^ "Old Jewish Book Outlines how to Turn Copper into Gold". Retrieved 2015-09-27.

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