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Thought for the Day: Of Onions and Eggs

Look, I enjoy a good s'gula as much as the next guy.  Well... to be honest, that's only true if the next guy is my friend who says that if it were possible to think, chas v'shalom, that HaShem made a mistake, it would be in not referring to the 10 fundamental concepts of existence that are engraved on the two tablets He gave to Moshe as, "The 10 S'gulos".  A guy may come late to davening, be lax with kashrus, and not give a hoot as to the quality of an eiruv; but a s'gula?  That's יהרוג ולא יעבור/die rather than transgress and more.

That being said, I am very, very careful not to eat hard-boiled eggs nor (raw) onions that were left over night.  Those aren't s'gulos, those are straight from Chazal as being dangerous.  Why are they dangerous?  That, as they say, is shrouded in mystery; or, if you prefer to be more frum about it, על פי סוד.  Please note, "shrouded in mystery" is not at all the same is "I don't know".  Philosophically, the phrase, "I don't know", means "but I could,  at least principle know"; whereas the expression "על פי סוד" (I want you to know I a frum, after all) means that we know with certainty that the reason lies beyond the boundary of human understanding.

There are halachic ramifications, also.  In particular, and this is something that על פי סוד does share with s'gulos, that smallest differences mean the danger (or benefit, in the case of s'gulos) has been avoided.  Here are a few examples.  Leave a bit of shell on that egg or a bit of peel (or some root) on the onion, and you are out of danger.  Only whole (and some say diced, as well) eggs and onions by themselves are dangerous when left overnight, so mix them with oil or salt or mayonnaise (eg, to make egg salad and tuna salad) and again you are safe.  Industrial produced hard-boiled eggs  (do a web search, you'll find lots) are not a problem.  (According to R' Moshe, but I have heard that some chasidishe hashgachos disagree.)

As long as we are talking about onions, I'd like to mention a very practical concern that I just saw this morning in the OU's daily halacha email: bugs in onions.  I had never thought about it, but bugs can live in the rooty part of the onion and even inside the top layer or so.  The OU recommends, especially during the summer months when infestations are typically worse, to peel off any loose outer layers and then wash the onion.  They also recommend using onions that are firm, as that also reduces the risks of bugs being in any deeper layer.

Here's one s'gula I really like: if you learn halacha every day, then you are guaranteed olam ha'bah.  That's a pretty good return on investment!

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