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Hi I had a shaila on an article on the website about nichush and omens in halacha.
http://www.dinonline.org/2013/08/03/of-signs-and-lots/

I was confused on the Halacha le Maaseh . If one stipulated beforehand to accept a siman is that permitted? I know the Rambam says it’s forbidden but what is the Halacha la Maaseh. If I do that am I doing something forbidden. Also I heard one cannot do this method to mundane occurrences. Like someone will say if the billboard is blue etc. sorry for the crude example I couldn’t think of anything else. But one who asks a Chumash or holy book if such and such then…is a permitted method.

2. Now if one didn’t stipulate beforehand, and saw what seemed to be a sign, whether in the mundane or holy, then is that forbidden to act upon such a sign.

I was just confused on what is permitted today. Thanks

Answer:

As you correctly note, this issue revolves around a dispute between the Rambam and the Ramban.

It is generally permitted to follow the Ramban’s opinion, which is espoused by several rishonim, and which is supported by some passages of the Gemara. In particular, it is permitted to employ personal experience as an omen for the future. This will depend largely on a person’s personal tendencies and leanings.

Although the Rema (179:4) cites a dispute concerning use of a personal sign, one can be lenient if this is one’s leaning. This is especially true where the omen is not employed to make absolute decisions for the future, but only for general guidance. This follows the interpretation of Rashi (Chulin 95a), and the Beis Yosef writes that in this case even the Rambam concurs that it is permitted.

Authorities are more lenient concerning the use of Torah-related signs (pesukim and so on), because they can be seen as a “small prophecy.”

The sign does not have to be stipulated in advance.

Best wishes.

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