This is the story of a sefer that was lost and rediscovered – and a segulah that has helped countless Jews in pain. It is the story of the segulah of the Zera Shimshon.
Rav Shimshon Chaim Nachmani lived more than 250 years ago. A respected rav and talmid chacham in Italy, he studied under the father-in-law of the Ramchal and was referred to by the Chida as a “chasida kadisha,” a holy chassid.
Rav Nachmani was blessed with one son, who passed away in his father’s lifetime. Realizing that he would not be leaving a child to inherit him, Rav Nachmani left, instead, a legacy of Torah thoughts – Sefer Zera Shimshon on the Torah.
And he left a paragraph in the sefer’s Introduction which would be changing lives centuries later.
“Please study my sefer,” he writes, entreating those reading his words.
“Reward is great for those who do kindness graciously, and you shall have much peace from Heaven. Your eyes shall see children and children’s children, like olive shoots around your table. Your homes will be full of all the good. Wealth and honor will not cease from your descendants…”
When he passed away, Rav Nachmani, otherwise known as the Zera Shimshon, was laid to rest in an Italian cemetery.
Over two centuries went by. Sefer Zera Shimshon was all but forgotten. Only a few copies remained on bookshelves or in dusty sefarim store basements.
And then, suddenly, things began to change.
The era of the Zera Shimshon segulah was about to begin.
In 2007, Rabbi Nachman Seltzer met a friend after shul. Rabbi Seltzer, a bestselling author famed for his true stories, was used to people sharing stories with him, but this one would change the Jewish world.
A middle-aged man, diagnosed with a dangerous illness, the doctors were grim…
Rabbi Seltzer had heard variations of this sad story many times before.
But then the story got different.
The sick man had gone into his local sefarim store for something and the owner, hearing about the illness, gave him a piece of advice. Learn the Zera Shimshon. The owner told him about the author’s promise of great blessing to anyone learning his sefer. He opened the dusty volume and showed his sick friend the words in writing.
In the end the man recovered completely. It was an open and obvious miracle and the family attributed his recovery to the fact that he had learned Sefer Zera Shimshon.
Rabbi Seltzer wrote up the story, and after it was published people contacted him from Europe and America wanting to know how they could buy the sefer.
The word was out. Within a few years Sefer Zera Shimshon was available in a new and readable format. Weekly parashah sheets of Zera Shimshon’s Torah were published. A website featuring the Torah and stories of the segulah was created.
And the stories multiplied: children born, illnesses beaten, shidduchim made, parnasah secured.
Rabbi Seltzer wrote a follow up article, detailing many of the berachos that had poured down on people learning Zera Shimshon. One prominent Rosh Yeshiva began giving a regular shiur in Zera Shimshon, for the zechus of four young couples all waiting to be blessed with children. By the end of the year, all four of them were holding their newborns!
The next step: To make the Zera Shimshon’s Torah, which is not simple to follow, available to English speakers in a format that would work for them. Rabbi Seltzer worked with a talmid chacham who is especially well-versed in the Zera Shimshon, and together they chose a few pieces for each parashah. They were adapted into readable English, and Rabbi Seltzer added a story, written with his usual flair, to either illustrate a theme of the text, or to share a fascinating and inspiring story of how the segulah worked.
Since its publication by ArtScroll just a few weeks ago, Zera Shimshon: the sefer, the stories, the segulah, has been flying off the shelves – and the emails have begun to come in. Literally a week after the book was published, Rabbi Seltzer heard from the relatives of a woman, in terrible pain – her brother took upon himself to learn Zera Shimshon once a week, and the pain disappeared.
So is the segulah the reason to learn Zera Shimshon?
“Not at all,” Rabbi Seltzer says. “The segulah is a beautiful thing and if a person sees a yeshuah after learning the sefer that’s wonderful. But that’s not the main point. The main point is that a tzadik is asking Klal Yisrael to please learn his sefer, his legacy – and it’s a sefer filled with amazing Torah. That’s enough of a reason to learn Zera Shimshon. If after learning the sefer, a person sees a yeshua in a personal inyan, that’s great, but that’s not the reason for learning the sefer. The reason to learn it is to bring nachas ruach to the neshamah of a tzadik in Shamayim.
For a free download about the segulah of the Zera Shimshon, click here