Following happened to me: I took randomly a book on the last Shabbat and started read. I've read there an explanation of a certain pasuk which I saw for the first time. Leaving out many details but after Shabbat I happened to listen to a shiur and the Rabbi started to speak off topic and told exact the words which I read in the book a few hours before.

Is there a mention of such a phenomenon in our sfarim? It happened already a few times to me that I learned the same thing in between a few hours from two different sources. I would like to see some sources which may explain what the exact message is, that Hashem is sending me.

  • 1
    I often experience it to. I help out on a parashah sheet. It is very often that a thought I hadn't heard before shows up in multiple handouts and then again in the rabbi's speech Shabbo morning. There is a second reason why such things happen... common cause. This wouldn't explain your book, unless it's a new book, but it could be that something happened this past year that cause a number of people to think in the same direction. Feb 1, 2016 at 12:01

2 Answers 2


This is called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. It happens when you notice something new or unique and then it seems like it keeps on coming up. It's just a psychological phenomenon and it's well known. What basically happens is that you notice something ordinary once, and after that happens you are kind of tuned in to see it happen other times when you wouldn't have otherwise paid much attention. Like when you notice how many of a particular car there are on the road after you get that same car, but on a different scale. The phenomenon itself is named after someone heard the name Baader-Meinhof twice within 24 hours, which seemed odd. So for you, you come across a unique passage among countless unique passages, and if you happen to come across one of those passages again, you notice.

Another way to look at it: There are lots of new things you come across over time, and once in a while, statistically, there will be a coincidence where you see the same thing twice. This happens by itself. It happens in statistical simulations. It happens to people of all religions. And it doesn't necessarily need any supernatural message behind it. If it never ever happened, that would actually be weird.

Our brains are not well suited for intuiting these kinds of statistical events, whereas they are basically pattern-seeking machines. Sometimes we can notice a pattern that isn't even there. That's what happens here. Since the statistics are normal but we notice as being uncanny, that's why it's a psychological phenomenon.

You may be interested in asking a different, more general question though, about reading into things from everyday life as signs or messages.

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    I know that you can explain it that way. Basically you can explain almost everything naturally and thats the source of free will. I was asking explicitly for a source from our holy sfarim,because I want to know if there might be a message from hashem in that situation as we believe that even nature is completly governed by hashem, may his name be blessed ( teva is gematria elokim),
    – yosef
    Jan 31, 2016 at 22:09
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    @yosef I understand what you mean. But people often suffer the fallacy of disproportionally reading into something simply because they don't understand it. Did you know about Baader-Meinhof before hand? My point is that as this is as a natural phenomenon as anything, you shouldn't assume there is more behind it than anything else, unless you have other details to add to your question that would give provide reason to say otherwise.
    – A L
    Jan 31, 2016 at 23:03
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    @yosef Having said that, my answer doesn't preclude, and it would be an interesting addition to see, someone else bringing a source of Rabbis discussing this. I personally am not familiar with any sources discussing such an "I noticed this thing twice" sort of thing. I have seen related things in the Gemara, though, that discuss meanings of signs in dreams and such.
    – A L
    Jan 31, 2016 at 23:16
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    @yosef The point is you can ask two questions: "why is the natural world of form X" and "why does this deviate from the natural order". Your question conflates the two, by asking what to learn from a specific occurrence of a natural phenomenon. You don't learn anything from that, other than God didn't want to wrought a miracle for you at that moment. What you might consider asking about next is why God created the world such that this is the way things work.
    – Double AA
    Feb 1, 2016 at 1:14
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    @Jay I'm not sure that's true, or at least it's not the main part. After all the phanamanon is named after a person hearing the name Baader-Meinhof just twice in 24 hours. Whether you see a particular car 20 times after you notice it, hear a particular song 5 times after you first hear it, or read a Halacha 1 or 2 times after you first notice it, the phenomenon is the same, just with a different scale. The important aspect is that once you notice something once, you are more prone to notice that specific thing next time it comes up.
    – A L
    Aug 8, 2016 at 4:53

My Rebbe likes to call this sort of thing a "mistaya l'milsa," a support for the thing. (Not sure where he got it from, but there you go.) He would specifically apply it to pesukim from the weekly parshah that appeared in whatever sugya we would happen to be learning, but I don't see why the term couldn't be extended. He'd say it's like a subtle(ish) wink from Hashem that you're doing something right.

  • How does he know that? Has he established a statistical relationship between the week's parsha and how often verses he comes across are from it? Not to diminish what you're saying, but it kind of reminds me of people who believe in astrology, that their horoscope really applies to them... Until studies show that they apply equally well to people of any zodiac sign. So when I hear this kind of thing, I always want to know how they can distinguish between a supernatural correlation and things just being that way.
    – A L
    Aug 9, 2016 at 2:07

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