Askmoses-A Jews Resource
I've lost enthusiasm in Judaism, how do I become inspired?
Browse our archives

The Scholar is ready to answer your question. Click the button below to chat now.


Scholar Online:

Type in your question here:

Click the button below to either CHAT LIVE with an AskMoses Scholar now - or - leave a message if no Scholar is currently online.

CHAT or LEAVE A MESSAGE

What is the Jewish view on psychics?

by Mrs. Sarah Levi & Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

Library » Mitzvot » Prohibitions | Subscribe | What is RSS?


PRINT EMAIL COMMENT

There is no doubt that there exist people who possess genuine supernatural powers.

Good luck finding them.

You don't need Judaism to tell you this (although it does1); common sense informs you that the vast majority of self acclaimed psychics are either psycho or con artists. The type of person who possesses authentic supernatural powers does not sit on street corners, and neither is he "money hungry". So a simple rule: if you see a commercialized "psychic" business, it is probably just that: a business.

There are however, those who possess supernatural foresight. Such foreseers are divided into two categories: prophets, and psychics (or other forms of black magic). The former is divine, the latter is dark. We are commanded to head the prophet's calling, yet prohibited from seeking the psychic's insight.2

What's the difference? The difference is both in the messenger and the message.

For starters, the fact that one possesses an inborn tendency for metaphysical experience does not indicate that this person is inherently holy.

a simple rule: if you see a commercialized "psychic" business, it is probably just that: a business.
A prophet must refine himself and live an extremely self controlled and holy lifestyle because his powers do not stem from within him. It is a Divine influx which comes from without, from above. A prophetic experience occurs independent of the prophet; he is merely a conduit for it. The prophet cannot initiate a prophecy; the powers are generated and initiated by the will of G-d. The prophet can only, and must arduously, prepare himself to be an adequate vessel for divine emanation.3

The psychic's abilities, on the other hand, are from within. The metaphysical psychic intuition originates from within himself. A psychic is therefore not required to live a particularly holy lifestyle, and he can initiate a "vision" when he sees fit.

In a sense, the innate psychic power is a talent like any other talent, much like a musical ability, an artistic sensitivity and the like. Being that it is an inborn talent, a natural gift and not a revelation from above, it is subject to the whims, as well as the negative traits, of man. On the other hand, prophecy or any other form of Divine inspiration is a direct expression of spirituality, an emanation originating from above. Consequently, it is intrinsically divine and holy.

Because of the dissimilarity, there exists a marked distinction of quality between the psychic and the prophet. While the prophet is distinguished as a man of extreme humility and humbleness, prevalent character traits of many psychics are self-centeredness, ego and at times, even arrogance.

Different messengers naturally (or supernaturally) convey messages of different quality. Prophecy is a divine message, and is therefore always 100% accurate. Psychic experience, on the other hand, which is an innate metaphysical power, is never completely accurate, and some times it is actually completely inaccurate.4

Footnotes

  • 1. Maimonidies laws of Idol Worship 11:17-18
  • 2. Deuteronomy 18:10-22
  • 3. Maimonidies laws of Yesodei HaTorah chatper 7
  • 4. Maimonidies laws of Yesodei HaTorah 10:3
TAGS: psychic

ADD A COMMENT

Please email me when new comments are posted (you must be  logged in).

COMMENTS

Psychic ability

Posted by: Jeremy Newman, UK on Nov 01, 2004

While the prophet is distinguished as a man of extreme humility and humbleness, prevalent character traits of many psychics are self-centeredness, ego and at times, even arrogance. These are your words, how disgraceful. As a Jewish psychic Medium, yes Jewish, psychic medium, you must of researched the subject for years to be such an expert in the subjct. I am not. 1. self centred 2. Arrogant 3. And my ego is a perfect size, thank you.

Psychics

Posted by: Pinchas Freeman on Nov 15, 2004

From boyhood, I was taught that the Rambam taught that psychics, magicians, seers, Tarot readers and such were nothing but frauds, and for that reason alone can be ignored. And after a misspent youth investigating these things and others, I have concluded for myself that the Rambam was right in this as in all other respects. Perhaps there might be the odd occasion on which someone clearly foretells the future. These are surely coincidental, and more than balanced by the thousands of occasions on which the same or other people are resoundingly wrong. Comparing those among us who claim to be psychic with our prophets, I am sure that Abraham our Father, Moses our Deliverer, and all the rest, had not as much pride among them as just one self-proclaimed psychic.

coincidence? I think not.

Posted by: Abby on Dec 28, 2004

Coincidence? The Torah teaches us there is no such thing. I do not consider myself a full-fledged (sp?) psychic, but I have had several encounters with premonitions in the past, so I have reason to believe that some visions do happen for a reason.

psychic powers

Posted by: Nochum Kleinman, Lakewood, NJ on Jun 18, 2006

The james randi foundation offers a million dollars [for real] who can prove that he is a psychic or has other supernatural powers. Please send me a finders fee. By the way can you tell me my favorite color

RELATED CATEGORIES

Miscellaneous » Astrology and Magic

G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.