Psychics – Response to Jewish Week
May 28, 2004


Moshe Ben-Chaim


Excerpt from original article, “The Psychic Connection”:


“The author, who grew up in Rockaway, says she first showed signs of her psychic power when she was a young girl. At age 4, she told her father that one of the customers in his grocery store was going to die. Her father responded by saying impossible, that the man was healthy as two horses. Four days later, the man died of a heart attack.

When she was around 9, she began to be asked to leave friends’ homes when she would make comments about things like impending divorces. “It wasn’t that I was trying. It was as if I had already been told, as though someone had a conversation with me.”

Her grandmother was able to look into a woman’s eyes, and tell if she was pregnant. And she could look at the whorls on someone’s fingertips and tell if that person were prone to certain diseases.

Shapiro says that she feels an affinity with biblical figures who had visionary powers, like Joseph, in his interpretation of dreams.

“What people like about me is that I’m the thinking person’s psychic. I’m educated,” she says, “I won’t be telling them hokey stuff and curses.”



My opening sentiment is not to offer Jackie Mason new material. But a response is required to the “The Psychic Connection”(The Jewish Week, May 28). Despite many of the flock, flocking to the John Edwards and Rochelle Shapiros of the world, in addition to other self-professed seers, psychics, witches, warlocks, enchanters, palm readers, magical rebbes, pop-kabbalists, red-bendelists, ad nauseum…doesn’t anyone wonder why not one of the aforementioned have ever won the New York Lottery? No, you are right, that is not fair…any lottery. And why, when someone calls their 800 numbers, do they first say, “Who is calling?” Makes you think? Good. Because Judaism is about just that – thinking and reason. It is a rational system bereft of mysticism and belief in any powers, other than the One G-d. Our Sages never accepted anything lacking reason and proof. This is why Revelation at Sinai forms the basis of Judaism – millions witnessed it. And G-d created this event as He desires that reason and proof form our religious code. He gave us intelligence for a reason.


Ibn Ezra, whose writings Maimonides praised, said we are commanded against seeking out fortunetellers and the like because they are absolute fallacy. Torah prohibitions are against falsehoods. Conversely, our positive commands are in line with what is true. G-d desires we are not misled by man’s inventions, to claim fame, and attract followers. False messiahs were a frequent occurrence for this reason, that man functions out of insecurities like these. Even in Judaism today and years gone by, fools think, what is massively accepted must be truth – and if accepted by the religious sect, even more so. Maimonides dissected that false notion. That rule fails to impress ‘logic’.


Reason should teach that our limitation to five senses restricts our perception to sensory material alone, and nothing more. I challenge any psychic to defend their imagined capabilities, and prove otherwise by picking the New York Lottery’s winning numbers for the next 10 consecutive weeks. Failure to do so will conclusively dismiss their claims.


If one would study the Torah for a few decades, they will only scratch the surface of the genius of Joseph, never arriving at G-d’s complete discussion of his life. Therefore, equations between psychics and our patriarch Joseph are absurd, and haughty. As the wise Sage Radak said commenting on the enchantress who feigned raising Samuel, “Those who want to see things, will see them. And those who want to hear things, will hear them.” Our patriarch Joseph lived a life beyond compare. G-d’s providence of Joseph, in the form of dreams telling the future, find no parallel in today’s psychics’ claims.


The Talmud clearly states, “Prophecy has ended”. And psychics have never commenced, nor will they. It is the greatest crime when pop culture displaces G-d’s Torah wisdom that commands against these lies, and those wowed by smoke and curtains follow liars, instead of reason. For when lies become cultural phenomenon, as they sadly have, they mislead not just the practitioner, but also the unfortunate, future generations.