Question: Is Psychokinesis allowed in Judaism?
Full question: Is Psychokinesis allowed in Judaism? As long as it is sourced not from evil, but from God, either naturally or a divine gift, is there anything in the Jewish religion that would forbid a Jew from possessing and using psychokinesis, such as to move rubble after an earthquake or to defend Israel? — James A. Conrad, March 6, 2012
"A: I am not aware of the phenomenon as a scientific reality, but if in theory a person had this ability and did not do anything forbidden (witchcraft?) to acquire this ability, then I would say it is a gift from God and the person should use his 'super-power' wisely."
— Rabbi Moshe Newman, Israel, March 7, 2012, AskTheRabbi.org - Judaism Q & A Online
Source: Email on file.
"A: Use of psychokinesis is generally disallowed. There are exceptions such as the cases that you mentioned, whereby human lives can be saved."
— Rabbi P. Waldman, Israel, March 9, 2012, Ask the Rabbi, Aish.com
Source: Email on file.
"A: These abilities you speak of are manipulations of the natural order, which according to Kabbalah are really miraculous and a constant feat of creation by G-d. Just that it happens so consistently we take it for granted. However, the righteous who labor for years to attain holiness and total attachment to G-d, His will and wisdom, and total observance of Judaism are granted abilities to influence the natural order. But this is not public or known or publicized. Technically it's possible, yet the world doesn't exist to play games, rather to reveal G-d, and that's why such abilities are entrusted only to the righteous."
— Rabbi Zalman Nelson, Israel, March 12, 2012, Ask the Rabbi, Chabad.org
Source: Email on file.
Other published research:
"Commenting on the law of the mekhashef in the Mishnah, Abbaye (278-338) remarks (Sanhedrin 6713) that with regard to magical practices there are three separate categories:
It is permitted to use these supernatural means even in the first instance. Thus, resort to white magic is permitted; to deceive the eyes is forbidden but there is no culpability, and to perform by sorcery a magical act is to be culpable. ... When we turn to the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'Ah 179:15) we find the ruling that ochez et haenyim is forbidden but that it is permitted to perform 'white magic' by means of the Sefer Yetzirah."
- The actual performance of the magical act, for which, as the Mishnah states, there is full culpability.
- Deceiving the eyes, for which there is no full culpability but which is nonetheless forbidden, according to Abbaye.
- White magic, performed by a perusal of the Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation) i.e. to bring something into being by means of certain divine names.
— Rabbi Louis Jacobs (1920-2006), United Kingdom, Masorti Journal, 1993.
Source 1: Masorti Journal, 1993, "When Magicians Get in a Pickle Over Cucumbers" by Rabbi Dr Louis Jacobs.
James A. Conrad comments:
Judaism. My analysis is that, for an observant Jew, PK openly claimed to be sourced from God and used for righteous acts and the defense of Judaism would be permitted; PK sourced from evil is "sorcery," deception, and forbidden; and PK done as entertainment is generally allowed as long as the magician or illusionist does not claim it to be real. Thus, in my opinion, the government of Israel, or any individual Jew or group of Jews worldwide, could, if they were so inclined, pursue psychokinesis research with the intended goal of using it to defend Judaism and Israel one day if needed and only if it were done in the name of the Jewish God and, as such, it would not be a violation of Jewish religious law.
Islam. Note that the same conditional uses appear to apply to Muslims and the Islamic faith, though more controversially and dangerously in many extremist Muslim-majority countries where an accusation of witchcraft or sorcery can result in a death sentence, as opposed to a Muslim or group of Muslims, say, living in a free and open country with a Muslim population researching and attempting to acquire psychokinetic abilities.
Christianity, Islam, Judaism. Note also that for all three religions, the knowledge and practice of making and using knives, swords, arrows, spears, guns, mines, bombs, tanks, missiles, and nuclear weapons have long been interpreted and judged not to violate religious laws and that defensive weapons are routinely used around the world to protect Holy sites and religious leaders in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.