- Question: [Monday, 26th Adar 5783]
I’ve always been told to be careful not to open an umbrella inside one’s house and only to open it once you are outside otherwise it brings very bad luck for marriage and for the wedding and other things? The other day it was pouring outside and I got soaked until I was able to open my umbrella when I stepped outside. I’m wondering if there is any source in Judaism for this adherence and if I have to continue following this custom?
There is no known source for this custom in any Jewish literature, and it is possibly a gentile-based superstition. Practically, you do not need to suspect for this superstition and may choose to open an umbrella inside your house if you choose. Nonetheless, those who desire to believe in this superstition are not considered to be transgressing any prohibition, although it is forbidden for them to state that any bad luck will occur if somebody does it, due to the possible prohibition of Darkei Emori.
Explanation: Not opening an umbrella inside one’s home is a very popular world renowned superstition which is followed by many people of all faiths and all continents. As the saying goes, if you open an umbrella inside your house you may have seven weddings, or it may rain on the day of your wedding, or you may not get married at all. Now, in Jewish sources and Jewish literature we do not find any recollection of such a prohibition or restriction amongst the thousands of superstitious adherences and warnings which are recorded in the Talmud, Rebbe Yehuda Hachassid and Melaktim who collect all Jewish based superstitions. Furthermore, from the discussion in the Poskim regarding opening an umbrella on Shabbos while outside and inside the home, it is evident that they did not take this superstition into any consideration. Accordingly, as conclude a number of today’s Poskim, there is certainly no obligation for one to abide by it. Accordingly, to the contrary, the question that should be raised is regarding if one is even allowed to suspect for this superstition as perhaps it is considered Darkei Emori and an idolatrous based belief. So indeed, this matter is debated amongst the Poskim. Some Poskim would negate the above practice, claiming that doing so transgresses Darkei Emori being that it has no logical reason or source behind it, and therefore one is to avoid doing so. Likewise, it may transgress Lo Sinacheish. However, other Poskim would rule that its practice does not involve Darkei Emori. Furthermore, some Poskim rule that it is permitted and even praiseworthy for one to believe in superstitions that the general populace believes in even if it has no source in Sefarim and the words of our sages, as the prohibition of Lo Sinacheish only applies when one verbalizes the superstition. However, even according to this opinion, it is forbidden to verbalize the superstition. Practically, one who does not have such a tradition should not adapt it due to the above Halachic issues surrounding it. Nonetheless, those who received such a tradition may continue doing so if they wish, although being careful to never verbalize the superstition.
Sources: Segulos Rabboseinu p. 22 Sheila 8; Vedarashta Vechakarta 5 C.M. 8:1; Maaseh Eifod 81 p. 247; Bechukosecha Eshtasheia p. 241; See regarding the discussion of opening an umbrella on Shabbos and inside the home: Nodeh Beyehuda Tenyana 30 [he says it could be Biblically forbidden]; Chasam Sofer 72; Chazon Ish 52:6; Tehila Ledavid 315:8; M”B in Biur Halacha 315:8; “Tefach”; Mamar Mordechai; Chayeh Adam, Sharreiy Teshuvah 302; Ketzos Hashulchan 120:13; SSH”K 24:15; See regarding the prohibition of believing in superstitions due to Darkei Emori: Stringent: See Rama Y.D. 177:1; Admur 301:33; Mishneh Shabbos 67a; See Rama Y.D. 178:1 “This is only forbidden if the clothing of the gentiles are worn by them for sake of frivolity [pritzus] or it is a gentile custom that has no logic behind it, as in such a case there is room to suspect that the custom derives from the Emorite customs, and that it derive from practices of idolatry passed down from their forefathers.”; Maharik 88; See Kapos Temarim Yuma 831 and Chavos Yair 234 that Darkei Emori applies towards practices that the gentiles developed as a result of idolatry, that they believed that these actions invoke their G-ds to give assistance. See also Ran on Shabbos 67a; See Admur 301:33 “Any medical treatment that works in accordance to Segulah [i.e. supernatural causes] rather than natural cause and effect [i.e. scientifically based] does not contain the prohibition of Darkei Emori so long as it is recognizable [to the onlookers] that it’s intent is for the sake of healing”; See Igros Moshe E.H. 2:13; Y.D. 4:11-4; O.C. 5:11-4; See Mishneh Halachos 12:137 “This is not a Jewish custom, and is certainly not a custom of meticulous Jews [i.e. Vasikin]…to recite ”Bless you” after a sneeze we have heard of, however what does this have to do with pulling at the ear, and one should not do so due to it being the ways of the gentiles”; Lenient: See Hagahos Maimanis Avoda Zara 11:1 in name of Yireim 313; Shiltei Hagiborim Avoda Zara 9a, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 179:3; Yerushalmi Terumos 8:3 that one needs to suspect for that which people worry of danger; Sefer Chassidim 261 that there is danger involved in matters that people believe to be dangerous; Beis Yosef Y.D. 178; Sheiris Yaakov 12; Darkei Teshuvah Y.D. 179:30; Rashba 1:167; 825; 2:281; Halef Lecha Shlomo Y.D. 115; Talumos Leiv 3:57-3; Minchas Yitzchak 9:8