I'm asking this as a skeptic who doesn't believe in palm reading, ESP or the mystical. Many orthodox Jews (I know several of them) visit Chassidic rebbes and mekubalim for palm reading and/or fortune-telling. The one I'm thinking of has a very brief conversation with you inquiring about your wellbeing, there is no cold reading or probing for information. He then looks at your palm and tells you something about yourself. I went to him once and wasn't particularly impressed, but it's how I know what happens in the room. Many people I know claim to have been completely shocked that he knew something about them he can't possibly have known.

Any ideas how this Rebbe (and others like him) accomplishes this? One theory is that he does research on you before you come in, aka, hot reading. I doubt that is the case for a few reasons, the primary one being that nobody would be shocked that he knew something that anyone can find out with a little research. Supposedly what he tells people can be known only by the person and maybe those close to him/her.

  • 1
    There's only three options, and no one here can possibly tell you which it is for any given practitioner: 1) they use the same techniques magicians everywhere use and they fooled you (even Penn and Teller are fooled sometimes) 2) they developed a 'zero day exploit' new magic technique that no one else knows of for this (unlikely to be worth their time to develop) 3) real supernatural powers. Decide for yourself what you think is most likely. Other than that this seems closable as Opinion Based.
    – Double AA
    Dec 1, 2021 at 23:38
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    Those who know don't tell? I believe this is a common theme among certain texts
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Dec 2, 2021 at 1:47
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    I used to work in a Jewish school which was a hotbed for kiruv as a lot of the kids were not shomer shabbos etc. and I remember once the Kaliver Rebbe came and he would ask the boys questions whilst holding their hands. A lot the kids were blown away about the insightful questions he asked about their lives and they couldn't believe how close to the mark he was. When I went to ask for a brocho it was all very quick and the Rebbe's gabbai explained that the holding of the hand is largely a method to detect a person's reactions which helps the intuitive Rebbe reach a normally correct conclusion.
    – Dov
    Dec 2, 2021 at 10:16
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    i.e. if he feels them squirm or their pulse quicken when he asks a question that helps guide him to the next question until he has managed to work out where they are perhaps failing in Yiddushkeit and where to guide them etc.
    – Dov
    Dec 2, 2021 at 10:18
  • @Bob Barr Who was the Rebbe that you went to?
    – user9806
    Dec 2, 2021 at 16:56


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