I was curious if a precedent has been set for how the Rabbis would handle an individual who presents as having supernatural abilities which are forbidden in Torah.

Let no one be found among you who consigns his son or daughter to the fire, or who is an augur, a soothsayer, a diviner, a sorcerer,one who casts spells, or one who consults ghosts or familiar spirits, or one who inquires of the dead. (Deut 18:11)

Hypothetically: The Jew in question has no attachments to idolatry rituals and doesn't worship foreign gods. They simply are a Jew who has certain abilities.

  • Precognition (predicting the future)

  • Reading people (Knowing things about people by look or interaction)

  • The ability to heal people

How exactly would a Rabbi handle the situation? If the individual is observant and loves Hashem and isn't actively seeking to use their abilities to hurt others, would it be overlooked or would there still be a problem?

  • If there was such people, ...
    – kouty
    Feb 5, 2019 at 15:17
  • You mean a Navi?
    – DonielF
    Feb 5, 2019 at 16:24
  • @kouty א"ר יוחנן מיום שחרב בית המקדש ניטלה נבואה מן הנביאים וניתנה לשוטים ולתינוקות לשוטים he.wikisource.org/wiki/…
    – pcoz
    Jun 15, 2021 at 0:41

3 Answers 3


As IsraelReader noted, it's possible to do these things without using prohibited means. Doctors heal people all the time, we predict the future based on probability, and reading people by how they interact is a normal part of how we relate to each other.

However, you're assuming a case where someone is doing this in a prohibited way. The answer is it's no different than any other prohibition. "If the individual is observant and loves Hashem and isn't actively seeking to use their abilities to hurt others", then they wouldn't be using these abilities any more than they would be eating at McDonald's. And if they found it too difficult to refrain from using them, then that would be treated the same way as someone who finds it too difficult to keep kosher - the rabbi would work with them and help them grow in their observance.

(By the way, you don't have to get so exotic. Precognition by prohibited means could be as simple as using your phone to check the weather on Shabbat.)


The "supernatural" abilities you listed, aren't necessarily forbidden by the Torah verse you cited from Deut 18:11.

The critical issue the rabbis would be looking for, is whether or not he is also preaching any ideas. If he is preaching; are his ideas in conformance with the Torah, and do they adversely affect mitzvah performance.

Deuteronomy/Devarim - Chapter 13

  1. Everything I command you that you shall be careful to do it. You shall neither add to it, nor subtract from it.

  2. If there will arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of a dream, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,

  3. and the sign or the wonder of which he spoke to you happens, [and he] says, "Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us worship them,"

  4. you shall not heed the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of a dream; for the Lord, your God, is testing you, to know whether you really love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul.

  5. And that prophet, or that dreamer of a dream shall be put to death; because he spoke falsehood about the Lord... to lead you astray from the way in which the Lord, your God, commanded you to go; so shall you clear away the evil from your midst.

  • Magic is a separate prohibition from false prophecy
    – b a
    Jan 7, 2019 at 1:24
  • True. Magic is a separate prohibition from false prophecy. But predicting the future, knowing things about people by look or interaction, and the ability to heal people is not necessarily accomplished with prohibited magic. The critical point is whether or not the person is inciting others to sin. Jan 7, 2019 at 12:31

I can’t recall the source for this but the very thing happened, and the rabbi implored the man to stop. The rabbi said “this is from the sitra achra, not from the forces of purity”. The person in question heavily disputed the rabbis claims. To which he answered, “fine, it is said by chaza”l that it is hard to know where this power comes from until the age of forty, let us wait and see”. The person took offense and swore that “fine! And we will see who’s word prevails. If the power is from the Sitra Achra you’ll never hear from me again!”

He turned forty and he was never heard from again.

The rabbis approach was asking him to stop, when he refused. I don’t know how the rabbi knew it was from sitra achra, but after his refusal to stop is when he knew. Would be nice if I could remember the source.


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