- Mind Reading
- Moshe Ben-Chaim
- Mesora: A renowned rabbi
recently described the Besht with mind reading capabilities. If Moses
could not mind read, certainly the Besht could not. We read on Yom
Kippur, "God alone knows the thoughts of every man". This
Rabbi's proliferation of fallacy misleads those unaware. It is
imperative that man understand that only God possesses such a
capacity. Deifying man is against Torah. Mindreading offers no insight
into God's creation, therefore it does not exist. God created only
that which furthers man's understanding of Himself. One must not to be
swayed by anyone's reputation, even if he is called a rabbi. Moses
made mistakes. His brother Aaron questioned him, and Moses admitted
his error (Lev. 10:17-20) Certainly rabbis today err. Unfortunately,
the error was in the area of God's unique ability to discern man's
- Reader: I offer you kudos for your efforts and your well
thought out responses to certain issues. But I must argue against your
stance about the person who spoke of the Baal Shem Tov's ability to
"read minds" as false. People "read minds" all the
time-- figuratively; and "know" what a person is about to
say very often. Haven't you faced a person and stared deeply into his
eyes, caught the flutter of an eye lid, a rapid twitch of the cheek,
and knew he was inclined to say this or that?
- It's much akin to reading a book. Some people are better
book-readers than others because they know the signals certain writers
send out, because they're well read in that area of literature, etc.
And some people "read minds" better than others, too.
- Now, to be sure, only G-d Almighty knows minds from the inside out.
But plenty of people read them. That's all the man was saying, it
seems to me.
- Mesora: Your response is not
Talmudic, and lacks any proof. This is not how the Tanaaim or Rishonim
would answer. They would base concepts on rational proofs, and/or
evidence,.....but not mere projections as is the case of your
- You may feel that mind reading is at work in this scenario, but it
is very easily explained: You are witnessing facial
"twitches" which are identical to those which you experience
yourself. What you call mind reading can be easily explained as
follows: You witness others duplicating your own facial behavior.
Since their behavior seems identical yours, their subsequent response
is expected by you. This response is what you would have said, as they
have similar facial expressions followed by similar responses. This
behavioral pattern allows you to second guess their words before they
roll off their lips. As you would have said the same following such
facial expressions, you interpret this as mind reading, when in
reality it is mere projection.
- The wisest of men, King Solomon, had to ask the two harlots for
their respective alibis prior to rendering his decision. Why didn't
the wisest man use mind reading? The answer is that the Torah does not
endorse this. Additionally, King Solomon received great praise from
the people precisely for the opposite of what you suppose. He received
praise for the wisdom employed in determining who was guilty and who
was innocent. This is what the Torah praises, not the capacity you
assume man possesses, to simply read a mind, which really would
require no wisdom.
- Again, we read in the prayers for the high holidays, that G-d alone
knows man's thoughts. The words of the Anshei Knesset Hagadola deny
man's ability to read minds.
- The rabbis' words attest that man does not have this ability. Had
he, all chaos would break loose.
- This is why I believe G-d did not impart this knowledge to man.