Monday, July 13, 2009

Reassuring or Revolting?

There seems to be a well known segulah out there to hang a photograph of Reb Yeshaya Steiner of Kerestir (alternately known as the "Mouse'eh Rebbe" and/or the "Pied Piper of Infestation") in any area you wish to protect from rodents.

(On a side note: I have heard it questioned and have started to wonder myself of late, whether this practice isn't a bit too similar to the avodah zarah practices of patron saints, but that is a whole other post....)

My question to you is this -
Upon entering a New York eatery, is the sight of Reb Yeshayale a reassuring sight ("oh great... we're safe ... couldn't possibly be any mice here!") or a revolting one ("how badly infested is this place that the owner feels the need to place that photo in plain view of my table?!?!?")?

Comments anyone?



9 comments:

frumcollegegirl said...

i probably wouldn't even notice it. but if you pointed it out to me, i'd say revolting. because why else would they have it up, if not to keep their mouse problem at bay?

efrex said...

I've heard of yeridat hadorot, but this is ridiculous: used to be that segulot were for long life, good health, Torah learning, shidduchim, healthy children... now the best we can do is use 'em to keep Mendel out of sight at the local greasy spoon? *

That being said, I don't think that seeing that particular picture would keep me away from any place. Vermin are pretty ubiquitous in any New York restaurant (particularly any street-level ones), and even the fanciest places can have problems. If you're not squeamish, check out your favorite establishment's most recent inspection from the Dept. of Health; odds are you'll find reference to vermin or conditions conducive to vermin infestation.

__________________________
* segulot and brachot from rebbes are topics of some contention at chez Efrex (The Lovely Wife[tm], having absorbed some chassidishe tendencies, is quite favorably disposed towards 'em; I tend towards the offensively cynical, albeit with a great deal of respect for Chabad).

Jron said...

efrex - it seems that Olomeinu has used the segulah for many years now since they banished our beloved Mendel from their pages. Nebich!

muse said...

Ignorance is bliss.
Rather spooky.

ProfK said...

First I've heard of this and I honestly don't remember seeing any "rebbe" pictures hanging up in any restaurants I've been too. But if someone had said to me that a picture was of the Kerestirir Rebbe, my first reaction would have been that the owners come from Hungarian stock--mice wouldn't enter my mind.

We're from Hungarian chasidishe stock on all sides and I asked my mom about this--she had never heard of it either. Either my zaydes never mentioned it to their families because they believed it was "shtuss" or it is of fairly recent origin.

Leora said...

This story sounds familiar.

You are bringing back memories of twenty years back, when a friend and I visited a little falafel stand in Haifa, and a rat came to visit...

Yekkishe Bekishe said...

If anything, you should identify with Rav Yeshayale Kerestirer. He was a very big Machnis Oreach, with hundreds of people coming to him for Shabbos during the grape-harvesting season in that part of Hungary. The silly names you mentioned - in my opinion - are inappropriate. BTW, as much as you don't believe in hanging the picture for Pied Piper purposes (like the alliteration?) there are documented cases of the Segulah working!

Louisa said...

Once, a Catholic friend of mine lost her class ring in the OCEAN. She prayed to St. Anthony (patron saint of lost things). Some YEARS later the ring was returned to her by someone who found it on the beach. I'm just saying. There are documented cases of a number of things.

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

I saw that picture at a restaurant and was wondering about it, didn't know who it was. Interesting to know.