The other question regarding the halachos of hypnosis only discusses doing it/having it done to you. I would like to know if someone who is already hypnotized (either intentionally or not) is culpable for damages done while in the hypnotic state. Does this fall under adam muah l'olam or oneis? None of the above?

  • 1
    Is one culpable for things he does while drunk or high? Are there reasons to think that hypnosis would be different? Commented May 14, 2012 at 16:07
  • @MonicaCellio 1. it is possible that he was hypnotized unwittingly and 2. from what i understand on purim you are not culpable for damages caused while drunk. Commented May 14, 2012 at 16:09
  • It's also possible to be drugged unknowingly, or to unknowingly drink more than your capacity. The issue of "knowing" vs "unknowing" seems orthogonal to the question of "alcohol vs drugs vs hypnosis" to me, but I haven't studied this. The info about culpability on Purim would be a useful addition to the question (at least if you could source it). Commented May 14, 2012 at 16:22
  • @MonicaCellio you can certainly extend the question to being drugged though hypnosis is much easier to do through simple verbal suggestion. regarding damages see judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/6397/… Commented May 14, 2012 at 16:26
  • @Identitytheft-Dave "it is possible that he was hypnotized unwittingly". Actually, no that isn't possible. It's a myth about hypnosis caused by stage (i.e. fake) hypnosis. It's not possible to hypnotize someone without their consent and active participation. And a person under hypnosis will never do something they don't actually want to do - it's not possible to make them do whatever you want. (However hidden desires may come to the surface which is what makes hypnosis valuable.)
    – Ariel
    Commented May 15, 2012 at 6:29

1 Answer 1


R' Moshe Feinstein ruled that people are culpable for acts committed under hypnosis if there is reason to believe that the hypnotist wouldn't be beyond suggesting to the person to behave improperly (Igros Moshe, YD 3:44). This is comparable to someone that goes to sleep near fragile items and breaks them in his sleep (Tos. Bava Kamma 4a, s.v. Keivan).

To give the quote from R' Moshe:

אך יש לחוש אם הרופא העושה זה הוא חשוד לעבור על איסורי תורה שמא יאמר לו לעשות דבר איסור ולא יחשב אנוס כיון דהביא עצמו לידי כך


But there is concern if the doctor that does this is suspected of violating Torah prohibitions, lest he suggest to him to do something prohibited, and it will not be considered involuntary since he brought this upon himself.

R' Moshe continues and states that if the doctor is an observant Jew, or if there is some other reason to be confident that the person being hypnotized will not be made to violate halacha, hypnotism is not forbidden. Nonetheless, he writes, it is considered disgraceful to become hypnotized for show, and someone who does so in that context may be pasul l'eidus.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .