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Many people, I'm sure, have heard of the famous segulah for finding one's soulmate: praying at the grave of Yonasan ben Uziel in Amukah, Israel.

I'm not asking if this works, or why it would work, or if this is a valid form of hishtadlus, or if segulos in general work at all, or how they work.

All I'm asking is for the provenance of this (supposed) segulah. How old is it? How did it originate? Does anyone of note mention it?

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related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/2143/759 –  Double AA Jun 15 '12 at 0:39
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Sociologists would tell you there's a contemporary trend towards "rituals involving saint-like characters" in Israel; and obviously now that so many more Jews live in Israel it's a more popular site than, say, someplace in the Ukraine. But I don't have more information, sorry. –  Shalom Jun 15 '12 at 2:21
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What you're really supposed to do is "forget" your siddur/tehilim there, and hope a nice person of the opposite gender finds it and calls you ... –  Shalom Jun 15 '12 at 7:39
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What you're really supposed to do is creepily hang around Amukah all day waiting for someone of the opposite gender to leave their siddur/tehillim behind and hope they wrote their phone number in the front cover... –  jake Jun 15 '12 at 14:36
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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

http://chareidi.org/archives5761/korach/KRfeatures.htm

While our rabbis tell us that davening at kivrei tzaddikim is a segulah for all types of help, the tradition of Amuka as an address for unmarried men and women is a relatively new one, according to experts in the field. It was "rediscovered" about fifty years ago by Rav Shalom Gefner of Meah Shearim, among many other holy grave sites, which he ferreted out according to the writings of Rav Chaim Vital, based on the teachings of the Arizal.

A well-known famous Tsefati, Hershel the Shamash and Rav Berel Tsfaser knew the location of the tsiyun of Yonoson ben Uziel and told Rav Shalom about it in 1951. There were no roads in the area at that time. Reb Shalom began to come to the tsiyun with groups of young men: braving the elements, traversing dirt paths and scurrying down rocky mountainsides in order to reach it. Some of these adventurous bochurim were of marriageable age, and some became engaged soon after their trek to Amuka, the story goes, for lifum tsa'aro agro. . . And more bochurim made the trip, and more eligible young ladies. . .as roads were paved and access was facilitated.

In a book called, Tovah Ri'iyata from 5734 (1974), it is said in the name of Rav Chaim Lichtenstein (who was niftar in 5725) that, "Prayer at the tsiyun, of Yonoson Ben Uziel is a segulah for shidduchim." This is the earliest written mention of the place being a segulah for shidduchim.

Explanations have been offered ex post facto to explain the segulah. Some say that since Rav Yonoson never married, he helps others find their true mates as a kaporoh, but there seems to be no reason to believe that he in fact remained single.

Some, probably as a joke, use a source in Rashi on Yevomos 17a: "All pisulim that don't find a wife go there." The next Rashi begins "Vehi amuka," referring to the next statement in the gemora.

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I was told by my Rebbi in Yerushalayim that the segula was made up in the 1970's by someone named Gafner who worked for Hoffman's tours.

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I guess it became a segulah for Gafner's parnassah. –  Shalom Jun 15 '12 at 7:37
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That's actually exactly what my Rebbi said! –  Reb Chaim HaQoton Jun 15 '12 at 10:16
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It is of very recent origin (50 years or less) and stems from some misreading of text, hence no one of note mentions it. I believe Rav Yakov M. Hillel alludes to it as a false 'segulah' in his work ad hagal hazeh. I will try to locate more sources that have debunked this.

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