Sunday, December 30, 2012

Facilitated Communication: No Halachic Justification?

This was received as a comment here - written by Ephraim.  I decided to publish it as a blog post, so everyone can read it.  If you would like to comment, please only do so if you have something factual to say, I will not be publishing anonymous insulting comments directed at Ephraim.

Dani18.com contains no halacha. The sources are sparse and are aggadic in nature- they are not halachic sources! The basic claim is that this practice is permitted because prophecy remains somehow amongst children and fools. From there, there is an unsubstantiated jump to Facilitated Communication. Can we allow children to gaze into crystal balls, read Tarot Cards and consult the stars because they may be gifted with prophecy? Of couse not! The fact is, that Dani18.com does not in any way provide halachic justification for FC.

Now, the תשורת שי that I mentioned above already prohibits the practice of divining the future by means of a table of letters- even if children are involved. Certainly, that posek was aware that prophecy is found amongst children- and yet he forbade the practice anyway. Why? I suppose it's because of the methodology. Now, it's clear that divination by means of geomancy (throwing soil onto the ground, and then "reading" the random spots produced) falls under the category of קוסם. I doubt it make a difference if we get a child or an autist to throw the soil- it would still be forbidden. (Indeed, even Moshe Rabbeinu would be forbidden to perform divination! It's not about who is doing it- it's about what is being done.) Similarly, the Malbim understood the ouija board as included in the prohibition of קוסם. He did not exclude children from the prohibition.

Dani18.com does cite R' Eliyahu Dessler, but actually distorts his message. Rav Dessler differentiates between the premonitions of a kosem (what he calls "telepaths") and a true prophet. He cites the Rambam who explains that suppressing the intellect to awaken imagination (what we would refer to as a trance state or the like) is a definition of קוסם. Rav Dessler writes that this is a inferior process to that of a true prophet.

What does Rav Dessler actually write concerning children and prophecy? He writes about them in the context of discussing forbidden divination! He writes:

זהו ענין הקוסם שהיה יכול לפעמים להגיד עתידות...ואולי מענין זה הוא מה שאמרו ז"ל (בבא בתרא יב:)"מיום שחרב בית המקדש ...ניתנה נבואה לשוטים ולתינוקות

Rough translation: "...this is the concept of forbidden divination in which a person can occasionally foretell the future.. and perhaps this is the same idea that Chazal spoke about that "From the day that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, prophecy was given to fools and children".

It's very clear that Rav Dessler holds that the prophecy of children and fools is in the same inferior category as a diviner.

Now, we must distinguish between FC in it's secular and spiritual forms. This is vital halachically. The secular claims of FC proponents have been disproven. It works for a few exceptional individuals, and generally speaking it has failed. Furthermore, it makes no sense scientifically. Why? Because even higher functioning autists who do speak, communicate in an idiosyncratic manner. That's part of the definition of autism. Yet, we don't see idiosyncrasies in FC messages. That would indicate that FC is not coming from the children. In summation, FC doesn't make sense and has been proven ineffective. Practices that don't make sense scientifically and also have been proven ineffective are prohibited as דרכי האמורי. This is the opinion of the overwhelming majority of poskim!

Now, the spiritual proponents of FC now step in with an even more astonishing claim. True, the messages of FC can't be explained scientifically. They agree that the messages don't contain the expected idiosyncrasies. But instead of admitting that FC is phoney, they claim that the lack of idiosyncrasies proves that the messages come directly from the soul! After all, it's been proven scientifically that it can't come from the mind of the child- so it must come from the soul. Once they make this claim, FC moves from the category of דרכי האמורי into the category of קוסם. Why? Because קוסם does not include any scientific form of prediction. Consulting a meteorologist is not forbidden, since the predictions are scientific. Only non-natural methods of prediction are forbidden. The only exceptions are the גורל הגר"א (and its equivalents) and asking a child to cite a posuk. (Think about this: why is allowed to ask a child to cite a posuk? Why is it not also permitted to ask a child to cite next weeks lotto numbers? Why davka a posuk?)

Nothing I wrote is opinon- it's all clear halacha. The halacha is clear for those who bother to learn it. Check out the Sefer HaMitzvos of the Rambam and see his definition of קסם. Also look at the entry for Kosem at http://www.aspaklaria.info.

108 comments:

  1. How do we know that Moisheleh even exists?

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    1. I did some research on Dani18.com and found many interesting and inspiring things: look @ http://www.dani18.com/uploads/GALIYA2_HEB.pdf


      Amoung of many more here is one of The Recommendations for FC:
      HaRav Hagaon Rav
      Nosson M. Wachtfogel, zt"l
      Mashgiach of Beth Medras Govoha of America
      Lakewood, New Jersey
      25 Sivan, 5757

      "The nation which walks in the darkness, saw great light ." We are currently living in an era in which immense darkness and confusion prevail. Many Jews are not even familiar with their Father in Heaven, while many [in Torah observant circles] are still far from perfection. The Creator blessed be He pitied His nation, and in His vast kindness sent us a means for arousing people from their deep slumber, in the form of a new mode of communication with the mentally disabled. This form of communication demonstrates to us that the spiritual world is revealed to the disabled. Even though in the eyes of the world, these people are regarded as lacking in understanding and in cognizance of their surroundings, this new form of communication called Communication by Support [or Facilitated Communication], shows us that their knowledge of the spiritual aspects of the world, and their perception of their Creator, and of [the workings of] Divine Providence, as well as their knowledge of mussar is on a very high level. [This phenomenon] has already greatly strengthened many Jews, causing them to return to their roots or to strengthen their link with Torah and mitzvos. Daniel 2 5Therefore, I feel that it is very important to publicize the book, Ve'Nafshi Yodaat Me'od (the Hebrew version of Secrets of the Soul) and the messages of the mentally disabled, which result in the drawing of the hearts closer to our Father in Heaven.

      Due to my many commitments, I was unable to read through this book, and asked a Talmid Chacham, whom I trust implicitly, to review it. He indeed reviewed a large part of the book, and conveyed its content to me. In addition, his first hand observations of this form of communication caused him to conclude that it is authentic and highly valuable. Alongside this, we must stress that while the messages conveyed to us by means of the disabled are worthy of strengthening and drawing close the hearts, one may not practically implement their advice without consulting a Rav, since as it is known, the Jewish Nation is led only by the Torah sages. May all those disseminating these important messages, with the purpose of sanctifying Heaven's name and magnifying His Blessed Name and magnifying His Blessed Name in the World, be blessed. May Hashem Yisborach help them, and may they succeed.

      Rabbi Nosson Wachtfogel

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    2. Thanks so much for the above link, I checked out the above link, it's unbelievable to see first hand how the Tzadakim except the facilitation in order to improve their way of life. The Tzadikim are obviously looking for the truth I wish we where ready to wake up too.

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    3. The words of Rabbi Nosson Wachtfogel is heart warming.

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    4. הֱוֵי זָהִיר בְּגַחַלְתָּן שֶׁלא תִכָּוֶה, שֶׁנְּשִׁיכָתָן נְשִׁיכַת שׁוּעָל, וַעֲקִיצָתָן עֲקִיצַת עַקְרָב, וּלְחִישָׁתָן לְחִישַׁת שָׂרָף, וְכָל דִּבְרֵיהֶם כְּגַחֲלֵי אֵשׁ

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    5. I don't get it, I must be very slow, tell me something, whats wrong with Moishela asking us to do Teshuva.

      After all don't you want to greet Moshiach?

      So Please Let me understand: Just in case Moishela (who is only asking us to do Teshuva) is telling us Prophecy you are Just going to go on strike, sit back and not do Teshuva? in the end not greet Moshiach? then blame it on Moishela?

      How foolish can we be?

      Let's admit (right here) that we are looking to go on with business as usual by not making positive changes in out lives and Moishela's words are Just giving us a big headache, and we don't like his harsh words that makes us feel guilty.


      So instead we will try bashing his speeches in every-way possible.

      Lets remember that we had many Gedolim and Rebbis in our generation who told us much Prophecy, for example the Lubavitcher Rebbi the Satmar Rabbi etc. so are we Chas VeSholom going to condemn their teachings? their advice? Hay I am a real Chosid and you can't tell me that.


      Why don't we just do the "Teshuva thing" and get ready for Moishiach regardless who is encouraging us to do it?

      Why because..... we don't want to..........

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    6. Thanks for Rav Wachtfogel's haskama. I recall when the book came out, I showed it to a talmud chachum who was disturbed by one of the haskamos. I don't remember whether it was Rav Wachtfogel. In any case, he respected that particular rav but could not explain why that rav would support a practice that he felt was nonsense.

      The haskama is not by any means a psak. If anything, it's a work of mussar, and we all know Rav Wachtfogel was a man of mussar par excellence. I don't know whether he was a posek.

      He does not deal with the halachic issues, nor with the scientific issues. He relies entirely on the advice of one anonymous individual- and makes no implication that the individual was qualified from a scientific perspective to authenticate the phenomenon.

      The key phrase: "we must stress that while the messages conveyed to us... are worthy of strengthening and drawing close the hearts, one may not practically implement their advice without consulting a Rav..."

      In summary, Rav Wachtfogel's haskama is not a psak, and is is written in the typical equivocal fashion that we see in many haskamos. I would like to see a real halachic justification for FC.


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    7. Dear: Anonymous December 31, 2012 8:18 PM
      You summed it up very nicely. Thanx

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    8. Shalom Devorah,
      I believe everything Moshela says to be emet.

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  2. Someone should contact Rabbi Laser Brody who as I understand, I might be wrong, thinks this is true?

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    1. Rabbi Lazer said once that Rabbi leibovitz said about end of days of America, but he don't know when or like he said in his blog he woun't say more. So packing your bags is totally unacceptable and it is based on nothing!

      --Tsaddik Nistar

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    2. Rabbi Brody is in pictures with autistic Binyomin Goldin and I believe has spoken on his blog of meeting with him too.

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  3. I hope this means we will no longer see their super-negative posts on this blog we love so much.

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  4. It's amazing how history repeats itself . I don't really see Moshe's message ass prophecy per Ce it is the view of a person who cant delve into the static of everyday life . What is important what is moral or immoral. Humanity at one point could only consider true or false. Today it's Not black or white but different shades of grey . We are lost in the daily grind of life jumping from one tangent to the next. Life in europe and the us is increasingly becoming anti Jew . It is feasible to say that life outside of Israel ends in 100 percent assimilation over the course of a few generations . Contemplate this for a second , if the idol of money falls (and it is doing so quickly) the veil of peace falls to dust and people always seek a scapegoat is it not feasible that the goat the people will find is the Jews.? In that case I can fathom how someone sending a message would say run leave everything behind. But the problem is its happening to slowly weather out of mercy or the opposite . Picture a frog put in a pot of water if the water is boiling the frog would jump out instantaneously however if the heat is applied gradually the frog would not notice that it is being boiled alive.

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  5. If these people would randomly change the Facilitator 3 or more times on video and get the same kinds of messages I would believe it.

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    1. The ONLY reason you don't believe it is, because YOU are not ready to do Teshuva and greet Moshiach. I U R ready then what's the problem? If they are correct or notת why aren't you getting closer to Hashem? What proof are you looking for? a proof to do Teshuva? "JUST DO IT"

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    2. "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" is 1000000000% correct, I don't see what all the bickering and mocking is all about, are we still in Kindergarten? All the wise people from "Chelem" suddenly wake up and give us ideas as why NOT to be good conforming Jews in a true Torah way, every-time Moishela speaks.

      "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT" "JUST DO IT"

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    3. your post sounds foolish to me you say the following:

      " change the Facilitator 3 or more times" it sounds like if you don't have a video you will not do Teshuva. In my opinion it sounds very ridicules.


      BTW where in the Torah is there a condition on doing Teshuva
      connected to a video?


      --Tsaddik Nistar--

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    4. It is not my post Anon 7:54 PM

      --Tsaddik Nistar

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    5. I guess you are not a Tsaddik after all

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    6. You can only guess, and you are guessing all the time how it will be bad in the whole world an how good it will be in Israel. You say things with out any supporting statements with other fakers to force people move from their places. Time will come and you will regret like Shabtai Tzvi did who damaged thousands neshamot forcing people to move from their places, you are damagers and you damage a lot. No one can force us and scare people with packing bags and other nonsense. You can only guess what will be in future and you will not succeed, because you are doing acts from "tumah" side, not from "tahor". Good people don't scare others in order other Jews make Aliya, rather they say good and sweet things to make that Aliya and not because of fear. Only G-d knows if I am trully Tsaddik or not, but you can only guess, and unfortunatelly most guesses here are negative and disgusting.

      --Tsaddik Nistar

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  6. I find this discussion fascinating -this makes me think of when Eliezer asks a sign from Heaven if Rivkah is a good match. The sign itself is Torah-if she acts with chesed. This is like the goral haGra- the source of the information is the Torah.

    Likewise with asking a child about his passuk
    Likewise for people who have a mesorah of 'reading' Tehillim
    Likewise for people randomly opening up a Torah sefer. (as per the midrash on Kohellet-that the Torah a person learns informs him of the proper way to conduct oneself-I don't have the reference at hand.)
    In all these cases the person would be learning the Torah and making that his basis
    for making a decision

    therefore in those Torah decisions the rules of Torah interpretation apply mainly
    the different poskim and decisions.

    This is very different to a prophet who can command someone to (temporarily)
    abrogate a Torah mitzvah (except idol worship).

    In other words the 'prophetic' approach is beyond Torah debate and the 'goral haGra' method (and all its variants) are just an extension of Torah logic and debate.

    thank you very much Ephraim!

    mordechai wing.

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  7. Somebody should teach these kinderlas halohos and defenetly halohos of traveling in air planes

    --Tsaddik Nistar

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  8. Dear Devorah I think it should read:

    Facilitated Communication: No Halachic Justification?


    with a question mark.

    Thanks

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    1. i like this short post !!!
      so where is the question mark, the poster of this post is correct it should have a "?" :)

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  9. I was wondering why it is permissible to open an Igros Kodesh to see the future more then FC?

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    1. Rav Herschel Schachter says it's prohibited:
      http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/772117/Rabbi_Hershel_Schachter/Segulas,_Superstition,_and_the_Ayin_Hara
      Rav Schachter says that using תורה שבעל פה for the goral is prohibited.

      But Rav Aviner permits it, but advises against it:
      http://www.ravaviner.com/2009/05/igrot-kodesh-holy-letters-of.html
      (Unfortunately, the Shach that Rav Aviner cites, does not refer to the goral. I would like to see a source that includes any sefer as permitted.)

      Of course, there's another issue here. Many of those who divine the future from the Igrot assume it's the rebbe who is intervening and answering their questions. I can only assume this is not what Rav Aviner permits!

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  10. Maybe Rabbi Eliyahu Leon Levi of Bnei Brak also does not exist. http://rashbi2012.blogspot.co.il/2012/12/kabbalist-calls-for-jews-to-return-home.html
    Willful blindness will not change the truth nor what lies just ahead.
    Maybe Larry Hagman and his interview with a Dept of Homeland Security insider doesn't exist either.See http://www.homelandsecurityus.com/archives/7305 and http://www.homelandsecurityus.com/archives/7310
    They are all saying the same things as Moishela. Ditto Rabbi Lazer Brody and a host of others. and they are saying nothing that is not written in our Jewish holy books on Acharit Yamim. Rav Eliyahu whom you quote, you neither understood, nor interpreted correctly. He knew the decrees. He tried not to strengthen them, but chose instead to strengthen Am Yisrael by encouraging Tshuva b'ahava. HaRav Eliyahu was very clear that as long as Pollard continues to rot in prison, that is the sign that our tshuva is insufficient or unacceptable. Time to wake up and smell the coffee.

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  11. Jews taof America,
    dani18.com
    I beg you to realize that you are soon going to be in great danger.Start packing your bags and be ready as soon as you can.
    Daniel. 6 April, 2009

    What kind of message is that , based on what, they saw that it will be soon?
    Totally unacceptable!

    --Tsaddik Nistar

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    1. Dear Tsaddik Nister.

      The head lines on Debka file reads "Failed Syria envoy Brahimi’s mission brings chemical war closer" please dont believe it because Debka is telling us the future.

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    2. Debka don't force others to leave from our places where we have stability of our livehood, those kinderlas with others "rabunim" make things scary to force us to leave from our places based on nothing just because they think we are at the end of days and it is time for all Jews to make aliya -- this proposition is wrong and unacceptable. Only Mashiah will gateher us when it is going to be right time, not Ben Artzi, not those kinderlas, not other "mekubalim" who say things and not supporting their statements!

      --Tsaddik Nistar

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    3. you sound just like the Jews in Germany before WWII

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    4. you sound just like Shabtai Tzvi after he succeeded damage thousands neshamot forcing them to move from their places motivating with Mashiah arrivals to sell their businesses and properties. Regards to "mekubalim" and other mishuganos.

      --Tsaddik Nistar

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  12. Igrot kodesh is a Torah sefer so just like goral ha Gra the source of a person's decision is Torah. (this was discussed above). The person reading an answer in the Igrot has to apply Torah principles to make his decision.

    mordechai wing

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    1. See my earlier comment, in response to the other "Anonymous" in regards to the Igrot.

      I will also add a little gem from the Malbim, who has the following to say about the end of ברכות ג עמד ב:
      "They at once took counsel with Ahithofel and consulted the Sanhedrin and questioned the Urim and Tummim." (Soncino trans.)
      The Malbim explains that when one wants to make a correct decision he should first try to solve the problem in a natural scientific manner (e.g. the adviser Ahitofel), then make sure it's okay from a Torah perspective (i.e. Sanhedrin) and then consult with prophecy. (See the Malbim's ארץ חמדה- in the section on אגדות) One should not run to (so called) prophets before exhausting natural/scientific and Torah answers first.

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    2. The Malbim says it. It's in the ויקרא volume of ארץ חמדה. Here is the complete citation:

      מיד יועצים באחיתופל וכו׳ ר״ל האדם צריך להכין תחלה האמצעיים הטבעיים ולראות אם נרצים הם אל התכלית אשר רוצה לעסק. ואח״כ ימלך בתורה אם אין בו דבר מד הדת ואח״כ ישאל בדבר האלהים וזה שואלים באורים ותומים

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  13. This whole descussion is oblivious to me. I am lost, can someone please explain in simple language??? Please

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  14. B'H

    JUST READ ZOHAR AND WAIT FOR HASHEM WILL ACCOMPLISH ALL THAT HE HAS TOLD US

    pshat yid

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  15. To all those who harass their fellows Jews on a regular basis to make Aliyah 2 questions.
    1. Who says that it is safer for a Jew to live in EY with the current government (who will release 1000 terrorists many who had killed Israelis for 1 soldier and) who will allow the world to decide if they may defend themselves and when they should make a ceasefire? Israel is currently in the cross hairs of Iran who wants to nuke her, Hamas, Hizballah, Egypt that is no longer a reliable ally and Syria that may unleash chemical weapons at her. Really who says it is safer in Israel?

    2. Who says you are better off in Israel now? Israel is the palace of the king. You are under much more intense scrutiny by the middas hadin. Maybe many of us are not on that level to be living in Israel? Its a very big deal to live in Israel and do aveiros. Who says we are better off in Israel? Maybe living in Israel would actually put us in danger of being punished very harshly for our aveiros?

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    1. These are very good points. Certainly the second point was already brought up by gedolim in previous generations. But what of those gedolim who did encourage aliya? I would suggest it's a matter of balancing priorities which always is a challenge and never can be reduced to a simple deterministic mathematical formula. While we can't ignore that living in א"י burdens us with responsibility, we also can't ignore that it's a major מצוה- particularly for those who live here in א"י for spiritual reasons. (There are some who made Aliya for non-spiritual reasons- either nationalistic or they were fleeing.)
      Read Avraham Azulai in his Chesed L'Avraham (מעין ג,"עין הארץ" ,נהר יב) here:
      http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=32451&st=&pgnum=41

      As far as your first point. It is indeed a good point. I will offer my perspective briefly, but I only believe my opinion here is only compelling for myself- I have no illusions that I can impose my views on others. First, the government is always in flux here. The national religious party is about to win a significant block of seats- and they're going to win with the help of so-called chilonim. We hope that their influence will moderate Netanyahu's tendency to lose his backbone. In any case, this is why Israel needs American Jews- to change the nature of the government! I'm not convinced that America or any other place is any safer. We already know, that the American gov't is unable to protect its citizens when it comes to terrorism and natural disaster. Most of the post-hoc investigations into gov't negligence fulfills only two goals: to protect one political party from scrutiny, and to blame the other party for the disaster. This is true for both the left and right. Iran, ideologically is more opposed to the U.S. than Israel. They see Israel as a puppet of the U.S. It's all there in their propaganda. There also may be a theological aspect. Some Muslims believe that the Jews could never truly have a secure state because they rejected whats-his-name. This is their interpretation of the Koranic verse "they are found save [where they grasp] a rope from Allah and a rope from man." This means, they say, that Israel only exists because of the United States. Israel could not stand on her own because that would contradict the Koran. So Iran would just as well attack the U.S. Iran already has its proxies in many countries as acts like an imperial power.

      Aliyah is a great mitzvah, but it must be done after responsible thought and planning. It should not be done out of panic.

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  16. For an expert's analysis see here: www.zootorah.com/FacilitatedCommunicationRevised.doc

    Also see: http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/kitveyet/assia/tikshoret-2.htm

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  17. To all those who harass their fellow Jews by making jokes out of serious words of Chasidus Musser or FC posts are copying Amalek. The Alter Rebbeh z"l writes in Lekuti Torah that some of us still have Amelak inside of us, hidden in our hearts, i.e. those who discourage others from doing Teshuva have Amalek inside of them and are part of them, our job in this world is to control our selves to be strong and fight our Yatzer Hora, not to cool off other who get inspired like the Yatzer Hora does to us, no matter if they got inspired by a Rabbi by a Speaker or mentor or by Moishela, we should never give any ideas that their inspiration is wrong.

    It's sad to see even just for my self, after I was inspired by Moishela's last posting right here on Shirat Devorah (I'm sure other where inspired too) some of the above posts have done a good job of watering it down, same style as Amalek, Chas Vesholom.

    Wake up Brothers and Sisters fellow Jews, you are hurting Hashem and your selves, time to to Teshuva and stop this nonsense.

    Open up the Zohar and you will see that the Zohar already predicted that in Moshiach's times there will be those who will water down serious heart warming words of Torah.

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    1. "To all those who harass their fellow Jews by making jokes out of serious words of Chasidus Musser or FC posts are copying Amalek. "

      A few comments. First, you should use a gentler tone. Throwing around expressions like "Amalek" is problematic. See the Rambam in Hilchot Teshuvah and Deyot for the correct way to speak.
      That being said, your are certainly correct that word of mussar should not be mocked. (Though I am dismayed by some firebrands who are full of hate and who lash at other Jews whom they disagree with all in the name of יראת שמים.) Nowhere did I bash the messages, I only challenged the medium (pun intended).

      You talk about mussar. Okay, then! We have plenty of sifrei mussar, and many legitimate rabbonim who give mussar. There's plenty to learn from without resorting to questionable practices that our grandparents never hear of.

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    2. Dear Ephraim,
      You make a good point. The phrase "Amalek is what the Alter Rebbeh z"l (The Bal Hatanya) uses, I was only quoting him, this is not my own invention.

      You continue writing "You talk about Mussar. Okay, then! We have plenty of Sifrei Mussar, and many legitimate Rabbonim who give Mussar. There's plenty to learn from without resorting to questionable practices that our grandparents never hear of."... You are correct but I can tell you first hand that most of Klall Yisroel are not learning Musser so Hashem has to send the FC messages instead, to wake us up to inject us with Kedusah and Chisidus.

      To you surprise FC is not questionable as you can see it for your self: http://www.dani18.com/uploads/GALIA_ENG_MESSAGES_FROM_HEAVEN.pdf Here is some from the above link:

      STATEMENTS OF APPROVAL BY TORAH LEADERS OF OUR TIME.
      “HAGAON RAV ARYEH LEIB STEINMAN SHLITA” of BNEI BRAK
      Speaking about Facilitated Communication with the brain-damaged, Rav Steinman personally informed Rabbi Srevnik that “he sees in this the great mercy of Heaven to wake up the sleeping who forget the truth amid the ephemeralities of routine life, and abuse their whole life with empty pursuits and indulgences.
      It is also a source of moral inspiration for the Torah community, who today are also in need of strengthening. The statements of the brain damaged are fiery Mussar [admonition, i.e., inspiration to search one’s soul and improve conduct] and bestir all those who read them. It is a worthy cause to distribute and publicize these statements.

      Rav Steinman has personally attended communication sessions with the brain damaged and was very impressed by the answers they gave to his questions.

      In Rav Steinman’s opinion, it is very important to contemplate their messages and search one’s soul. One should not ignore them.
      He also warned that one should not use the statements of the brain damaged for any specific purpose or Halachic ruling. He also warned against asking them about the future.
      “We have had the Zchut of the discovery of this phenomenon for one purpose only: to bring the hearts of the Jewish people to their Father in Heaven.”
      __________________________________________________
      FOR RABBI GABRIEL KRAUSZ, A MAJOR DAYAN IN ENGLAND

      SEE PART 2 OF THIS POST

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    3. Dear Ephraim, "PART 2"
      FOR RABBI GABRIEL KRAUSZ, A MAJOR DAYAN IN ENGLAND
      (Extract from the Forward of his pamphlet on the religious messages of the brain-damaged, Shimu Vetichyeh Nafshechem)
      All the mentally disabled in Israel, communicating through Facilitated Communication, have recently expressed their wish that those of their statements which compare with passages from source texts be published with the appropriate references from the Bible, Chazal [the Mishnaic and Talmudic sages] other works as far as possible. I feel that doing this will provide great inspiration since it shows how far their pronouncements are anchored and rooted in our holy sources. The sources for their statements which I found show us that we cannot ignore what they say…
      For thousands of years, sufferers from autism, Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy were thought of as “imbeciles.” Now we have discovered that they are of sound, clear mind and capable of expressing themselves - by means of communication - on a level far above ours. For many, this is not easy to accept. But this does not change the fact that this is true, as has been proved beyond a doubt on many occasions.

      Finally, two outstanding Talmudic scholars passed on this pamphlet to one of the Torah sages of our time on my behalf. He warmly and heartily approved its publication and said it is a Tikun[rectification] for their souls; and will be a great Zchut for us, if it inspires us to do Tshuva.

      The same sage warned against possible mishaps linked to FC. We must listen to his warning that one should not ask them questions which can lead to making decisions, for example in matters of halacha and medical affairs, since they do not serve as a substitute for sages, rabbis and doctors …

      BTW Rabbi Lazer Brody is a Rabbi and a great Talmid Chochom an amazing speaker and writer, see what he writes about the autistics.....

      LOOK and see for your self what Rabbi Lazer Brody writes:
      http://lazerbrody.typepad.com/lazer_beams/2006/11/introducing_jos.html

      The following is a Letter from an extraordinary young man, Joshua Harris, age 18, from Manchester in the UK. With his mother's kind permission, I haven't concealed his identity like I normally do in such posts, for Joshua has the capability of inspiring other "autistics" and giving hope to their families.

      SEE PART 3

      Delete
    4. Dear Ephraim PART 3
      BTW Rabbi Lazer Brody WHO is a Rabbi and a great Talmid Chochom an amazing speaker and writer, see what he writes about the autistics.....LOOK and see for your self what Rabbi Lazer Brody writes: http://lazerbrody.typepad.com/lazer_beams/2006/11/introducing_jos.html The following is a Letter from an extraordinary young man, Joshua Harris, age 18, from Manchester in the UK. With his mother's kind permission, I haven't concealed his identity like I normally do in such posts, for Joshua has the capability of inspiring other "autistics" and giving hope to their families. Joshua's life is not easy. He suffers excruciating physical and emotional pain. Digesting food for Joshua is like having sabers pierce his intestines. It's amazing how he endures; apparently, his burning desire to learn Torah is what keeps him going. He also has a lion's share of daily humiliation from thoughtless people. The Chazon Ish of blessed and saintly memory used to stand up on his feet before people like Joshua, for he said that they are reincarnates of tzaddikim that have come to this world for the benefit of others at the expense of their own suffering.
      Here's what Josh writes:
      Dear Rabbi Brody: Typing can really liberate those who cannot talk. I am Joshua and "I am autistic." I am getting ready for the rest of my life. I was introduced to facilitated communication three years ago whilst a residential student in a special needs school, having been assessed by them as functioning at the level of a two year old. It causes me pain that people have low evaluations and expectations of me. Life has not shown me much respect yet. People doubt me and my writing. It is important for people to believe in me. The people teach you that acceptance is worth pain. I think the reason I want hand support is it really holds the emotions steady.

      My ambition is to be the first autistic Rabbi. To study to be a Rabbi I will need to learn in a Yeshiva. I want the teachers at Yeshiva to include me like everyone else. I need to have a Jewish education like a normal guy. You need to be Jewish to facilitate Jewish studies well. The people that work with me (my personal assistants) are all from the same community, my community. I really want to be in control. I want and need good, well thinking people to support me to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way.

      Thank you for taking the time to read this, Rabbi Brody, for believing in me, and for giving me a forum in front of thousands of people. This is very dear to me.
      Joshua Harris
      Here's my answer to Joshua:
      Dear Joshua, Rebbe Nachman of Breslev teaches that we must judge others fairly. The average person is blinded by external appearance, especially since society and the media put such an emphasis on bodily appeal. Spiritually, you are light-years ahead of most people, so it's you that should be feeling sorry for them. Before I forget, I want to tell you

      ---Dear Shirat Devorah I Thank you for running the best Blog in the Jewish world!!!! Henry L.

      SEE PART 4

      Delete
    5. Dear Ephraim PART 4


      Before I forget, I want to tell you that since I spoke to your parents on the phone, I've been devoting a special portion of my personal prayer in begging Hashem that your physical pains should be eased. Nevertheless, it could very well be that as a Tzaddik, your suffering is serving as a spiritually-protective umbrella for the entire Jewish people. If people knew who you really were and what your contribution truly is to the Jewish people, they'd be bowing down to you and kissing your hand in the streets. But, since they lack spiritual awareness, please forgive them of the humiliation they cause you; pity them, since they simply don't know better. If life hasn't shown you much respect, you're in good company. This topsy-turvy world has little respect for Torah and those who learn it. The suffering makes your dedication to Torah all the more valuable. I believe in you and in your potential, Joshua, for I've had the privilege of meeting other autistics, such as Ben Golden in Jerusalem, that are capable of literally leading this generation.
      Your goal to become a rabbi is fantastic. The more we all learn about facilitated communicaton, the more we'll be able to help you. You have my friendship and support always - I firmly believe, with Hashem's loving grace that you'll succeed in all phases of Torah.

      Remember, Joshua, you're not a candidate for parliamentary election so you don't need to win a popularity contest. It's enough to have a few loyal friends that understand and believe in you. Be happy also for your wonderful parents - they're the greatest. Feel free to write whenever you like. With blessings and warmest friendship, Lazer Brody
      --------------------------------------

      Dear Shirat Devorah ONCE AGAIN I thank you for running the best Blog in the Jewish world!!!! Henry L.

      Delete
    6. "For thousands of years, sufferers from autism, Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy were thought of as “imbeciles.” Now we have discovered that they are of sound, clear mind and capable of expressing themselves"

      This is bizarre. The trump card of the FC crowd has been how prophecy has been given to children and the mentally ill. They cite Rav Dessler, when in fact what he writes is that the premonitions of children are inferior to true prophecy, and are of the same category as forbidden divination. Now we find out, that the FC crowd believes that the mentally ill are of "sound, clear mind". That means they no longer can be considered שוטים, and are thus not the recipients of even an inferior prophecy. You can't have it both ways.

      I don't know what to make of the second-hand quotation of Rav Shteinmann. It's not a psak- just a general endorsement. I don't what he actually said, and whether it matches what's been said in his name. I would like to see a psak by someone who has fully investigated the claims, and have dealt with the issues of halacha. Note that he alledgedly warns against asking about the future. Yet a quick search reveals that messages predicting the future make up much of the content on dani18.com.

      Rabbi Lazer Brody does some very good work, but he is not a posek. Nor does he have the background to evaluate the phenomenon scientifically.

      Again, show me a clear psak that deals with the issues of דרכי האמורי , קוםס, and תמים תהיה. Also show me a clear mesorah that we may actively ask children and the mentally ill for spiritual guidance. No rumors please.

      Delete
  18. This has nothing to do with cooling down anyone's enthusiasm for yiddishkeit.

    On the contrary one has to increase...but the question is how and what!???

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe taught that fire and brimstone is not the approach
    for this generation.

    He emphasized a non judgmental approach to Jews everywhere,wherever they may be.

    Anybody thinking they have big enough boots to judge any Jew better think twice thrice and then some... in fact this is precisely the Teshuva that is needed-
    to stop being judgmental on Jews and to start judging favorably.

    Already in Rabbi Akiva's time it was stated that it was doubtful if anybody was fit to give Mussar.

    In our generation we must focus on Ahavat Yisrael and emphasizing the good.

    Everything else is only a very sophisticated ploy of the other side since
    we are in exile because of sinat chinam and therefore our rectification is
    ahavat chinam.

    Chapter 32 of Tanya is a good place to start in one's Teshuva efforts.

    mordechai wing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mordechai Wing you are Correct, I agree with you, I can't agree with you more, Chapter 32 of Tanya is a great place to start in one's Teshuva efforts, but here is the point of clarification that's needed badly: since the passing of the Rebbeh z"l and other Rebbes too, things have changed in the entire world, since then we have lost our Kedusah, we have lost "Hundreds of our Rabbis Mashpiyim and Tzadikim" who where there to be the messengers from Hashem to us, to inspire us, to wake us up, to scream at us at times, to better our Midos, to make us better people, to speak to us about Moshiach etc. Now Hashem has chosen a new and improved method of sending messages to Klall Yisroel, thats by FC that has shown to be effective to many who are interested, but not for those who are looking to keep on Fressing and enjoying life like a....Novol Birshut HaTorah, as the Ramban in Parshet Kedoshim calls it.

      There is nobody in the entire world that has more Ahavas Yisroel then Hashem and if this is the way Hashem has chosen to give us messages by FC, we must except it and respond to it in a positive way, no matter if we like it or not, lets face it most of us don't like it and don't like the approach, but in the end Hashem wins.

      When I look around I don't see many or enough people improving and really waiting for the Geualah, for example what does our Davening look like, how many of us can say that they don't speak in Shull????? how well to we respect the Halochos of Loshon Hora, what level of respect do kids have for their parents in today's day and age? etc. Not enough improvement.

      So there is no other choice, then Hashem sending these special kids to wake us up in a harsher way using FC and lets face the sad music: it is still not waking us up for the most part.

      I am afraid that when we'll be ready to wake up to change it will be to late.

      BTW you say: "In our generation we must focus on Ahavat Yisrael and emphasizing the good" who is not focusing on the good I think Moishela is very positive, he tries to help us greet Moshiach, if he would ignore our bad habits he would be lying to us, e would be doing a misjustice to us, and since his words are straight from Hashem, it MUST contain only the Emes the purest & cleanest truth on earth.
      I have no shame to admit that I have bad habits like any body else, no one is perfect so whats wrong if Hashem is helping us get rid of our badness?

      Ahavas Yisroel is when you try helping a fellow Jew teaching the the right way the way of the Torah, to do it with love, if you allow your friend to continue on a bad path by pampering then then you don't have Ahavas Yisroel, because it shows that you don't care about them.

      Yes I do agree with you, Chapter 32 of Tanya or Chovas Halevovos or Mesilas Yeshorin or Orchos Tzadikim is a very good place to start in one's Teshuva efforts, them consult with your local Rabbi to help you continue.

      Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my view.

      Yankel Emmesser

      Delete
  19. to yankel,

    "There is nobody in the entire world that has more Ahavas Yisroel then Hashem and if this is the way Hashem has chosen to give us messages by FC, we must except it and respond to it in a positive way, no matter if we like it or not, lets face it most of us don't like it and don't like the approach, but at the end of the day Hashem wins"

    can't argue on this one.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yankel you are the best! you put the rest of the posts right here to shame, keep up your good work.

    I like the following very much,
    There is nobody in the entire world that has more Ahavas Yisroel then Hashem and if this is the way Hashem has chosen to give us messages by FC, we must except it and respond to it in a positive way, no matter if we like it or not, lets face it most of us don't like it and don't like the approach, but in the end Hashem wins.

    Thanks again. Mike Shulman

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "if this is the way Hashem has chosen to give us messages by FC, we must except it and respond to it in a positive way"

      And suppose we got messages from astrologers and diviners? Would that be OK too? Can it be said, "if astrology, ouija boards and crystal balls were the way Hashem chose to give us messages...."?

      The answer of course is, Hashem has provided us with rabbis of today, and seforim (and more recently recordings) of yesterday. We are not so impoverished that we need to resort to methods that are halachically problematic, scientifically unsupported and have zero basis in mesorah!

      What's interesting is that no supporter of FC has dealt with the halachic problems. They have not dealt with the overwhelming scientific research which refutes the phenomenon. You can see it right here in the comments. The subtitle of this post was "No Halachic Justification", yet not one commenter has mentioned halacha.

      Delete
    2. Ephraim you are missing the point. The Gemorah teaches us that before the arrival of Moshiach the "Shotim" fools or mentally-handicapped will tell the us Neuvah, this has been planned by Hashem when he created the world.

      If you still have arguments on this topic you have to have it out with Hashem not on a blog :)

      Don't get me wrong you come across as a very sincere person and well meaning, I am not saying anything new, many are familiar with this phrase in the Gemorah.

      Delete
    3. www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/facilitated-communication

      I've seen it done without revealing futures or "prophesies" I've done it with a few neighbors children. Gedolim have witnessed it and agreed that it is real, but one must know how and when and for what to use it. Rabbi Wachtfogels family from South Fallsburg NY has used it with his son.


      .

      Delete
  21. Let's say that we lived in the times of nevuah. We didn't know Yeshayhu, but he turns up one day with a nevuah. Halacha tells us if we need to test him and if so, how.

    But has there ever been a navi who only communicated by the mail? Email they didn't have in those days, but letters they did. If a letter would turn up at the Sanhedrin or at the king's palace or be posted on the walls of Jerusalem how would they begin to authenticate it? And how would they know if the second letter was from the same person as the first?

    ReplyDelete
  22. I just discovered this blog a few minutes ago as hit number 31 of a Google search for "facilitated communication." I have just skimmed the blog entry and the comments. I am the father of 40 year-old nonverbal autistic Benjamin Ethan (aka "Ben" and "Binyamin") Golden, who has written public spiritual messages using his type of Facilitated Communication since October 1994, 18 years ago, but stopped writing public spiritual messages over a year ago. Many of his messages are posted on Dani18 and several other websites.

    I will need time to read through this blog and 50 comments but I will respond to the very first comment of Warren Burstein "How do we know that Moisheleh even exists?"

    I personally met Moishela (not his real name) less than a year ago. I have seen him do Facilitated Communication (FC). He is a young child and his family wishes to keep his identity hidden and I presume very few people have seen him do FC. My son Ben, on the other hand, has been seen by thousands of people doing FC over the past 18 years.

    I expect to be quite busy for the rest of the day but I will try to read this blog and comments and post more later. My email address is golden.arthur@gmail.com

    Arthur Golden of Jerusalem Israel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arthur, on his main page http://www.dani18.com/index.php?show=en
      there is message: Jews of America,
      I beg you to realize that you are soon going to be in great danger.Start packing your bags and be ready as soon as you can.
      Daniel. 6 April, 2009

      Can you please explain, based on what he said that 4+ years ago?

      --Tsaddik Nistar

      Delete
    2. Dear Nister,

      I was assuming all the time that you are an educated person, what a surprise.

      If you really have no idea what great danger we are facing in America and world wide, you may start Googling "The New World Order" when you are done in about a week or so, we'll suggest some more sites you can get educated on.

      this is not Arthur answering. By the nature of the tone of your above writings I will assume that you'll find something negative with that too, so give it a shot for all it's worth.

      Delete
    3. Right now I am asking Arthur, not you. When your turn will come I will ask you too.

      --Tsaddik Nistar

      Delete
    4. Anon, you said: "
      The head lines on Debka file reads "Failed Syria envoy Brahimi’s mission brings chemical war closer" please dont believe it because Debka is telling us the future."
      So my question to you dear Anon, Anybody telling Israelis pack your backs or soon you will smoked out and will be running from "Serefa"?

      Delete
    5. Nister, I see you Googling too much instead of listen to real Rabbonim.
      Arthur, waiting for your reply.

      --Tsaddik Nistar

      Delete
    6. "If you really have no idea what great danger we are facing in America and world wide, you may start Googling "The New World Order" when you are done in about a week or so, we'll suggest some more sites you can get educated on."

      Ohhhh. Conspiracy theory! Now I agree that there are disturbing trends out there. There's much evidence that Obama is a radical. (I don't believe he is anti-Israel per se. Rather he naively believes that the Arabs want to make peace. I would be willing to admit, that there may be little practical difference between naivete and animosity.)We know that the UN and EU are dangerously biased against Israel, while at the same time naively unconcerned about the Islamic threat. I would also add that the financial crisis is also evidence of the incompetence of the politicians. What I don't see is real evidence of a pervasive, organized conspiracy that would be deliberately responsible for the mess the world is in.

      Don't tell me to look at the thousands of conspiracy sites. Show me a single site that can back up its claims with evidence. Don't give me theories, give me documentation.

      Delete
  23. I read through the blog entry and all the comments but it is now about 11PM here in Israel. I will note that Rabbi Lazer Brody did meet with my son "Binyamin" Golden in Jerusalem in June 2006. Also, I have no idea who Ephraim is, so I consider him to be anonymous. Since I have publicly stated that a blog and its comments is not an appropriate forum for a long discussion, I would be glad to discuss these matters by private email with Ephraim who can email me at golden.arthur@gmail.com but I hope to respond to him on this blog after I get a good night's sleep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arthur,
      Thanks for keeping the conversation respectful. I'll simply say that the comments I've seen so far have not address the issues that I brought up originally. The best that has been offered are unsubstantiated endorsements that do not touch upon the halachic issues.
      I will only add what I've noted before. If FC reveals an innate, but hidden intelligence, then we can't consider these people in the category of שוטה. If that's the case, the tradition of נבואה ניתנה לילדים ושוטים no longer applies.

      Delete
  24. When I wrote about 7 hours ago that I had read through all the comments, I only saw 50 comments from other people. Now I see a total of 65 comments, including 2 from me, so there are 13 other new comments, which are not at the end of the comments because they are replies to earlier comments. I expect to be busy for a number of hours. When I do provide more detailed comments, I plan to post them at the very end of the comments.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Arthur, have you done a test where you show Binyamin one thing with the facilitator not in the room and you show the facilitator something else, and then ask Binyanmin to communicate about what he saw?


    ReplyDelete
  26. I am not a Talmid Chacham but even if I were, in these matters I would rely on the Daas Torah of Gedolim, which I actually did concerning Facilitated Communication for over 18 years. I will assume that everyone else is a Talmid Chacham. The website of Dani18 is only a few years old and Talmidei Chachamim who follow the Daas Torah of Gedolim already explained the Halachic Justification for Facilitated Communication about 15 to 20 years ago - including Rabbi Yehuda Srevnik and Rabbi Yechiel Sitzman. Therefore I would not expect to find a detailed Halachic Justification on the website Dani18 but I would go back to the writings of Rabbi Yehuda Srevnik and Rabbi Yechiel Sitzman, which include a thorough discussion of the relevant writings of Rav Dessler, which were actually written down by Rabbi Arye Carmell who was consulted in person by Rabbi Srevnik and Rabbi Sitzman. I have known Rabbi Srevnik and Rabbi Sitzman in connection with Facilitated Communication since 1994. I am sure that neither one has seen this blog and its comments but I can get this information to them and see when they have time to respond about the main issue of Halachic Justification. If Ephraim is interested in my trying to get the opinions of these two Rabbis (or Tsaddik Nistar to his question) I request he send a private email to me at golden.arthur@gmail.com

    Although not a Talmid Chachim, I am a retired lawyer who has over 20 years of extensive experience in all aspects of Facilitated Communication, including the secular claims of FC proponents. While it is beyond the scope of this blog, I own a yahoo!group autismfc which is an appropriate forum to discuss all aspects of Facilitated Communication, where I can show the mistakes in this area of Ephraim. I realize that Ephraim is relying in good faith on the opinions of FC opponents, but I can show that their opinions are based on research fraud. Unfortunately, the FC proponents, such as Douglas Biklen and Rosemary Crossley decided about 20 years ago to suppress the information about the spiritual aspects of FC and their opinions are also tainted. By the way, have you read the book "A Child of Eternity" by Kristi Jorde and Adriana Rocha published in September 1995 which discusses this suppression? Again if Ephraim wishes to pursue this aspect in an appropriate forum of autismfc, please email me.

    Arthur Golden

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " I realize that Ephraim is relying in good faith on the opinions of FC opponents, but I can show that their opinions are based on research fraud."

      Paranoia. Most (all?) scientific/medical organizations have rejected FC as an effective tool. But of course all them are engaging in fraud.

      You want to talk about fraud? OK. Many years ago I emailed one of the FC proponents. It may have been Rabbi Sitzman- but it was certainly someone in that group. At the time, I was unaware of the halachic issues of דרכי האמורי and קוסם, so I only asked about scientific evidence. He referred to three articles. Only one was a real study- and it was flawed and underwhelming. The results were something like the FC's failed 80% of the time, and the control group failed 95% of the time. What was the flaw? The facilitators were given the list of words that the autists were supposed to type. Why was this information not hidden from the facilitators? Probably because the authors of the study were attempting to force positive results.
      In any case, a single study is insufficient. The study must be independently reproduced before its results may be accepted.
      A single flawed paper as proof? That's scientific illiteracy.

      Delete
  27. Arthur, there is no secret involved in our questions and answers debate in order to write private emails. And you are doing well in other blogs too, answering questions. When Hakadosh Baruhu gave us Torah there were 600,000 witnesses and that is why we are special nation not like Muhammad who saw G-d by himself. it is our concern why certain people say those messages "packing bags" and no one stopped them. Based on what they are saying that you can get back to us after speaking with rabbonim that you mention and kinderlas who wrote those messages. Again, this propostion is wrong especially we see that it was written 4+ years ago, so packing your bags is totally unacceptable and should be stopped immediately!

    --Tsaddik Nistar

    ReplyDelete
  28. To Warren Burstein - yes, such a test was done on May 3, 1994 by Dr. Howard Shane at Children's Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts USA.

    ReplyDelete
  29. To Ephraim - concerning the definition of Shoteh, my son Ben rips his clothes and in other ways, he cannot control the actions of his body. Our posek determined that Ben is patur from mitzvahs. Although I am not a Talmid Chacham, it is my understanding that intelligence is not the dtermining factor in the definition of Shoteh, although Ben states his brain is dysfunctional but his neshama is intelligent. I believe it is a very complicated issue and I would wish to refer it to a Talmid Chacham who is quite experienced in Facilitated Communication, which would be Rabbi Yechiel Sitzman.

    Also, our posts have crossed in the mail, since there is a delay in the actual posting to the blog because of the need for approval. Did you see my last long post with a time of 6-1/2 hours before this post? Please reply when you can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "although Ben states his brain is dysfunctional but his neshama is intelligent."

      Inconsistent. Here again is the explanation from GK cited above:
      "For thousands of years, sufferers from autism, Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy were thought of as “imbeciles.” Now we have discovered that they are of sound, clear mind and capable of expressing themselves"

      Nowhere in this statement, do we see a claim that the mind is damaged, but that the soul is intelligent. Quite the opposite. Is there a schism in the FC crowd?

      Tell me, is the neshama of a healthy person intelligent? Can they engage in activities (like taking drugs) to suppress their healthy mind in order to access their intelligent neshama?

      Delete
    2. Certainly, there are many types of mental illness. No doubt, many of these illnesses can be halachically categorized as "שוטה", and many of them have no problem speaking. Now, it's obvious that שוטה is not limited to those who can't speak, and yet it's only the non-speakers who are providing us with these bloodcurdling premonitions of doom? Why? If in this new age we find the phenomenon of prophecy coming from שוטים, why aren't we receiving prophecy from all kinds of שוטים? Why davka from those who engage in FC?

      Delete
    3. It's interesting that you mention this Ephraim, because I personally know of a family with three autistic children who DO speak, and their father claims that FC is nonsense.

      After speaking to a friend in Israel who has met Ben Golden and his father, I am of the opinion that it is PRECISELY the reason why these kids cannot speak that they respond to FC. This is the intention of Hashem from the beginning. Maybe there are other שוטים who would respond to FC, but no-one has given them the opportunity to do so. But then again, there are many types of שוטים and certainly not all of them are hidden tzadikim, each one is unique and on a different level. We cannot judge, or even know, the levels of their neshamot. We all have pure neshamot, but most of us are not able to access most of the information in our subconcious, and certainly someone mentally disabled would not have the physical intelligence required to do so. Obviously someone like Ben Golden [and his friends] are unique individuals, learning in a yeshiva as they do, via FC. You would be hard-pressed to find other שוטים capable of doing that, I would think.

      Delete
    4. Devorah,
      You misunderstood my comment. The supporters of spiritual FC propose the innovative idea that Hashem has decided to send us prophecy via the mentally ill. Now, these autists do not speak, so they communicate through FC. Others, who can speak, but are nonetheless in the category of שוטים are not speaking to us such prophecies. Why not? Could it be because there's no facilitator to prompt and influence them?

      Delete
    5. I don't think I misunderstood you.....The ones who are speaking are only speaking general talk, interspersed with nonsense. They are not speaking with information from their higher neshama. That is the difference. I believe they are on a different level to the ones using FC. The fact that they have the power of physical speech may disqualify them from being able to use FC in the way we see here. Your opinion is the same as that of the father of the 3 autistics I know: he doesn't believe in it because his own autistic children were not good subjects. He has not personally seen it done by Ben and others, so his opinion is based on his own experiences with his own children.

      Delete
  30. To Tsaddik Nistar - My wife and I packed our bags and moved to Israel over 16 years ago. You have expressed your personal opinion but I thought this blog was about Halachic Justification. So I will seek Daas Torah and get back to you when I have it.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Arthur:

    "To Warren Burstein - yes, such a test was done on May 3, 1994 by Dr. Howard Shane at Children's Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts USA."

    Can you provide more details about this test? Because:

    1) Many different people get labelled 'autistic', including high-functioning autistics who eventually can type for themselves. Which is a different story than for many of the autistics on the Dani18 website. Did Dr. Howard Shane perform this test on your son, or on other autistics, and you are extrapolating from there?

    2) There are contrary tests, controlled studies, in which the facilitator was not able to do it.

    3) Why don't you do this test yourself on your son, and on Moisheleh, and report on the results? I am sure we can design an effective protocol here.

    4) There are reports and justifications on the Dani18 website about one of the autistics knowing the question and answering it prior to actually hearing/seeing the question, while the facilitator did know it. While the excuse was that his neshama knew the question already, this can be taken as an indication that, while indeed SOME facilitated communications are real, in this instance it is the (unwitting, accidental) communication of the facilitator, via the ideomotor effect.

    kol tuv,
    josh

    ReplyDelete
  32. Arthur:

    I did a bit more Googling, and I am absolutely shocked. This is what Binyamin Golden, your son, (purportedly) wrote, in 1997:

    16 April 1997 TDTFC-07 F. 7. ( addressed to Eugene Marcus but never sent):

    "My father just received your book chapter yesterday from [ ]. As I will discuss, please work with me to help others. Three years ago, I voluntarily initiated to take the validation test given by Dr. Howard Shane or facilitated communication. I also failed the test. However, my father and I took a different approach of what to do thereafter.


    Emphasis mine. Three years from 1997 takes us to 1994.

    So yes, you were not technically lying when you said 'such a test was done... by Dr. Howard Shane'. However, by omitting the detail that Binyanim failed the test, you surely were misleading Warren Burstein and other readers of this thread.

    Unless I misunderstood something here. Could you please explain yourself?

    Thanks,
    Josh

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    1. Thanks for that link Josh. After reading the emails there I now have a much better understanding of FC and believe that it is genuine. As for the ''failed test''... we will await Mr Golden's response, but personally I'm not worried about it, as the rest of the information at that link clarifies many issues.

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  33. :)

    I suspected that that would be your eventual reaction. So, when are you planning on making aliyah and repenting from eating pizza?

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  34. I would love for one of these FCs to be done with a facilitator who is irreligious. I have a feeling the message would come out quite differently....

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    1. Shua, No! Not so Hashem does not change his message to Klall yisroel through different facilitators.

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  35. To Rabbi Joshua Waxman - and based on my previous correspondence with you I am just as shocked that you claim you are shocked! I have concluded that Dr. Howard Shane was testing that my son is autistic and he was not properly testing the validity of Facilitated Communication. Everyone failed on the first time this purported validation test so cleverly designed by Dr. Shane, who gained so much experience with autism at Children's Medical Center during those 17 years since my son was the very first child he ever evaluated there in 1977. In the private debriefing after the testing, Dr. Shane admitted to me that his testing did not control for one critical variable by stating "unless your son is reading your mind" and I immediately replied that my son told me that one variable was exactly what was happening. Therefore, on this blog I did not explicitly state the claim of Dr. Shane that my son supposedly failed his testing which I consider to be research fraud. As I have publicly written elsewhere, the "other approach" was to rely on Daas Torah from the Gadol in Bnei Brak, who saw Ben 5 times in 10 days in August 1994, and was the Gadol who first wrote a letter in March 1993 that Facilitated Communication is genuine. Although I primarily relied on Daas Torah, it was supported by the scientific testing of Dr. Michael Weiss who had previously tested Ben and gave his professional opinion that Ben's Facilitated Communication was genuine Meanwhile, I am still waiting for a reply from Ephraim and due to the time zone differences and my concerns about Shabbos, I expect that I will not be able to reply for about 2 whole days from now. Good Shabbos to everyone.

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    1. "In the private debriefing after the testing, Dr. Shane admitted to me that his testing did not control for one critical variable by stating "unless your son is reading your mind" and I immediately replied that my son told me that one variable was exactly what was happening. "

      In other words he was engaging in telepathy. Here again is what Rav Dessler writes about telepathy:
      "It's very difficult to breech this barrier, yet we know instances where the 'inner light' shines through the (blocking) screen, and reaches a person with sudden knowledge of events without the medium of the six senses. And this is what we call telepathy. And also in a situation where a person is in ecstasy (trance?) and at times the (blocking) screen 'thins' and it's possible for the soul to sense thing outside the screen of time and space. This is the concept of forbidden divination, in which one can occasionally foretell the future. And thus testifies the Rambam, in Sefer HaMitzvos...and perhaps this is the same concept of what Chazal said "From the day of the destruction of the temple, prophecy was given to fools and children." (My very rough translation)

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    2. "As I have publicly written elsewhere, the "other approach" was to rely on Daas Torah from the Gadol in Bnei Brak, who saw Ben 5 times in 10 days in August 1994, and was the Gadol who first wrote a letter in March 1993 that Facilitated Communication is genuine."

      Again with the anonymous gedolim. I have found that as soon as the phrase "Daas Torah" is mentioned, what following is anything but Daas or Torah. Sometimes, it's a quote from an anonymous gadol. Or the gadol has a name, but there's no way of verifying whether he said it or not. Or we hear a general pronouncement that something is permitted or forbidden but no reasons are give at all. Would anyone respect the Daas Torah of Rav Moshe Feinstein z"tl or R' Ovadiah Yosef if they only wrote "assur, muttar, muttar, assur" without providing justification?

      You have websites such as Dani18 which has pages and pages of prognostications but not one word of real Torah from a real Torah Scholar! And somehow that's Daas Torah?

      Now the great poskim consulted the experts in the field. Rav Moshe Feinstein did, and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach did as well. So did Rav Yaakov Ettlinger. You tell this "Gadol" visited Ben 15 times and determined that FC was genuine? Did he look up the DSM-IV? Does he know what autism is? Did he read peer-reviewed journals? Did he consult with experts? Or did he just run his own experiments? And how did he extrapolate from a single case study to make a sweeping generalization of all autists? And all this from an anonymous gadol who hasn't published his psak for all to see and understand?
      I'm sorry. That isn't Daas, and it isn't Torah.

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  36. Recently I heard a lecture by Moshe Koppel on computer analysis of authorship. Too bad it was just before this thread started, but I'll have to dig up his contact info and ask him if he's ever compared the writing of a facilitator to the FC output. Do I understand correctly that Arthur is Ben's facilitator?

    If the claim is that telepathy invalidates the test, can't the facilitator telepathically instruct the person being facilitated (there must be a shorter way to say that ...) to talk about what he saw with his own eyes? Or in case the identification is so total that he can't tell his eyes apart from the facilitator's, make the facilitator's picture red and the facilitated's (?) picture green and say "describe the green picture". If one of the two is color-blind, or telepathy does not convey colors, use some other marker.

    Is there something we can read about the test that was passed? Is the letter from the Bnei Brak Gadol available?

    Let's not forget that even if we prove that FC is the words of the facilitated rather than the facilitator, that still doesn't prove that the facilitated is conveying messages from Heaven. Would we apply the tests in Rambam for prophets? Is there some other test for Ruach Hakodesh? Before FC, were there other instances where people claimed to have received messages and the rabbis were asked their opinion?

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    1. "If the claim is that telepathy invalidates the test, can't the facilitator telepathically instruct the person being facilitated (there must be a shorter way to say that ...) to talk about what he saw with his own eyes?"

      We're already in wonderland and you're talking about more scientific tests? I know the answer. To give the autist any instruction at all would break the bound of trust between him and the facilitator and ruin any possibility of communication. (Of course, I'm not whether the autist would be capable of receiving such an instruction.)
      I don't think we should bother Dr. Koppel with such nonsense- I'm sure he has better things to do. In any case, Koppel's recent work makes him persona non grata in the charedi world. Never mind that he stood up for Torah & Mesorah and thumbed his nose at Bible critics. That he agreed with them on some technicality will render his opinion treif.
      By the way, your statement about color-blindness is very interesting. It reveals that there's nearly always a possibility to devise a fool proof test. Proponents of pseudoscience often claim their methods are somehow untestable. Your statement shows they haven't been thinking enough. Which is of course the problem to begin with....

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  37. To Ephraim and others: Please note one very important thing: we are discussing actual people here, one of whom has taken the trouble to respond personally. Some of the sentiments written here have the potential to be extremely hurtful to those people, and I ask you all to bear that in mind when writing your thoughts. Think about how YOU would feel if such things were publicly written and directed at you or your children.

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    1. I too have close people to me who suffer from an autism spectrum disorder. I'll try to keep things civil. Nevertheless I do find FC personally offensive. Only after I studied, did I find it treif as well.

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  38. I STILL don't get it, maybe because I'm slow? and maybe because I started doing Teshuva. Could you Please explain something to me, whats wrong with Moishela asking us to do Teshuva & give us hard fact advice that we can all utilize. FREE ADVICE.

    After all don't we all want to greet Moshiach?

    Please Let me understand: Just in case Moishela (who is ONLY asking us to do Teshuva) is telling us Prophecy's or predicting the future, WE are Just going to go on STRIKE, sit back and do nothing? not do Teshuva? in the end we will not be Zocha not greet Moshiach? Chas Vesholom, then blame it on Moishela?????????????

    How foolish can we be?

    The problem that many of us are having is that we are looking to go on with business as usual, by not making enough positive changes in our lives and Moishela's words are Just giving us a big headache. We don't like his harsh words that makes us feel guilty.


    So instead we will join the Shirat Devorah Blog and try bashing his speeches in every-way possible.

    Lets remember that we had many Gedolim and Rebbis in our generation who told us much Prophecy, for example the Lubavitcher Rebbi the Satmar Rabbi etc. so are we Chas VeSholom going to condemn their teachings? their advice? Hay I am a real Chosid and you can't tell me that.


    Why don't we just do the "Teshuva thing" and get ready for Moishiach regardless who is encouraging us to do it? Rabbi Lazer Brody among others, also suggested to Klall Yisroel to move to Israel!!!

    Why aren't we changing? because..... we don't want to.......we are lazy.. obnoxiousness......Lets have some Achudas do the Teshuva that's required to greet Moshiach...... .

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    1. " Please explain something to me, whats wrong with Moishela asking us to do Teshuva & give us hard fact advice that we can all utilize."

      It's not about the content, it's about the process. There are several Torah prohibitions involved here. First there's the issue of דרכי האמורי. To summarize, this includes superstitious practices. Any practice which can't be explained scientifically or proven ineffective is considered forbidden superstition. If somethings does work, but is not understood scientifically, it probably is permitted. (Consider the infamous red string. The reason why many poskim allow it, is because they rely that on its use in previous generations and assume that its traditional use prove that it's an effective amulet. Others have found a rational explanation why the red string would be effective. So we both have a rational understanding and some proof of effectiveness. Thus, on both accounts the red string is defended from accusations of דרכי האמורי. Personally, I don't use it- but I won't condemn those who do, since they have real gedolim to rely upon.)

      Then there is prohibition of קוסם- which includes any action to elicit future/hidden matters in a supernatural way. As mentioned earlier, both the Malbim and the תשורת שי forbade the use of a ouija board as קוסם, and Rav Dessler included telepathy in the prohibition as well. Finally, there's also the issue of תמים תהיה. The only permitted forms of divination are the גורל הגר"א (and its variants) and asking a child to cite a posuk. Everything else is forbidden.

      To make it obvious, if someone gazes into a crystal ball and then gives a mussar shmooze based on his mystical experience- that would be קוסם. It someone deals out Tarot cards and proceeds to interpret the results with a mussar lecture, that too would be קוסם. If someone gathers children to join him at a ouija board, and tells the world that they spend more time visiting the sick- that would be קוסם. It's not about the message, it's about the medium.

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  39. Shua - you wrote two days ago "I would love for one of these FCs to be done with a facilitator who is irreligious. I have a feeling the message would come out quite differently...." Don't you know that there is a well-documented case from about 20 years ago of a chiloni Israeli mother from Holon by the name of Mrs. Shulamit Gad, an experienced special education teacher, who became the facilitator of her young daughter and the girl's deeply religious messages quickly made her mother become Haredi? My wife met Mrs. Gad and I spoke to her a number of times over the telephone, so my wife and I have direct personal knowledge. The girl's name is Galia. I have heard of other such situations, where the messages were always deeply religious, but I am not aware of any other such extensive documentation. Why do you have your feelings, which are so factually wrong? Please don't make wrong guesses based on your feelings but seek the real direct facts, as I have done since I first heard about FC in 1990. My identity has been well-known on the internet for 15 years and although my long-time email address of golden@shani.net listed in many places is now defunct, I can be reached at golden.arthur@gmail.com which I expect IY"H should be good for a long time.

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  40. To Ephraim - from the timing of your comments before and after Shabbos, it seems that you are located in Israel. If so, you are welcome to meet me and my son Ben in our home in Jerusalem, which can be arranged by contacting me by email to golden.arthur@gmail.com Actually, my offer is open to anyone reading this blog. I have not yet tried to contact Rabbi Yechiel Sitzman about this blog but I will try to do so later today. I will not have time to write up any more comments until later today and I suspect that Devorah should then be asleep by then and they will not be able to be approved and posted for nearly another day.

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  41. To Warren Burstein - let me see if I can make a couple quick comments, in reply to your comments that I have not yet responded to, which can be approved and posted today. On January 2, 2012 you ask: "But has there ever been a navi who only communicated by the mail?" I realize you are reading these spiritual messages on the internet, but I can assure you that all the Facilitated Communication from Moishela and and from others posted on Dani18.com that was written since the website was started was done in front of other people besides the Facilitator. On January 4, 2013 you ask: "Do I understand correctly that Arthur is Ben's facilitator?" While I have been a regular facilitator for my son Ben since April, 1994, including spiritual messages, other people are the facilitators for all the messages found on the Dani18.com website. I have never disclosed on the internet any of the spiritual messages that Ben writes with me. I do let other facilitators know that Ben wrote identical information with me that he wrote with them, including very specific points that are highly unlikely to be written with two different people as facilitators. This is my own validation test. Now I have to run to my Kollel so I cannot try to write anymore now.

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  42. To Ephraim - I came back home for a little while to get my son Ben to go out again very soon. I tried to call Rabbi Sitzman and he is out for the next 10 hours. I will quickly note that I know the credentials of the Gadol in Bnei Brak who wrote in March 1993 that FC is kosher and told me in August 1994 that it was kosher for my own son to use. Please tell me your credentials to be able to declare that it is treif?

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    1. I have no problem if you follow your own posek. But it's another thing to make halachic claims without backing them up in a public forum. This FC meshugas has been going on for years and we have yet to see a coherent psak as to why it's not a violation of דרכי האמורי, קוסם or תמים תהיה. Instead we have rumors and proclamations from non-poskim without any halachic reasoning provided.

      See here: http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14677 . It's a psak from RMF in his אגרות משה. Here is from Rav Tendler's translation: "In our time no one is permitted to issue final rulings on halachic issues without also publishing his sources and his halachic reasoning."

      Rav Moshe did not make halachic pronouncement without explaining them. His reasoning was that if he made an error, a Torah scholar could see through his mistake and pasken otherwise. Rav Moshe considered it irresponsible for someone to rely on his psak without reading and understanding the reasoning behind it. (Of course, I'm not claiming that everyone has the capability to critique a psak of Rav Moshe. But that doesn't absolve the posek from publishing his sources/reasoning.)

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  43. For the real science, search "Facilitated Communication" on scholar.google.com.

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  44. Shalom Devorah

    "To Ephraim and others: Please note one very important thing: we are discussing actual people here, one of whom has taken the trouble to respond personally. Some of the sentiments written here have the potential to be extremely hurtful to those people, and I ask you all to bear that in mind when writing your thoughts. Think about how YOU would feel if such things were publicly written and directed at you or your children."

    Its nice to see that you Devorah are sensitive to other peoples feelings.

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  45. I have a question for Mr Golden, given that I happen to know many people in such a situation. As your son (if I understand correctly) was unable to communicate, was locked in, and then suddendly, technology allowed him to express himself (I do not believe in FC, but innovations are always possible) why do you discuss the Geulah with someone who is patur mitzvot? If it were me, I would ask him if he prefers chocolate or vanilla icecream, if he would like to take a ride in the car with you, who is his favourite nurse and what TV programs he'd like, and what else can be done to make his life more pleasant, or even if he'd like to be accompanied to the Kotel. I wish your son a refuah shleimah.

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  46. Dear Daniela,

    I am NOT Mr.Golden but if you don't mind I will try to contribute my two cents....

    Everybody in this world is attached to what they think will make them happy, it seems from your post that in your life (not condemning you in any way) TV, Ice cream, Cars etc. are important and makes you happy, on the other hand I have personally met with Ben Golden and I can vouch for him that he was privileged to receive a very spiritual Neshomah, he loves Hashem, he loves to learn Torah, he is yearning to greet Moshiach, much more then we are yearning to win the 100,000,000,000,000 Million Dollar Lottery!!!!

    The subject of Moshiach is what Ben's life is all about, the subject of Moshiach makes Ben Happy, he was sent to this world to awaken “””US””” from our dream, from our materialistic life style, i.e. we think about a new job, a great career, a new car, an amazing vacation, remodeling our kitchen, a new paint job, a new suit, makeup & jewelry, exciting ways to prepare a meal or a new dish, restaurants, Broadway Shows, the latest electronic gadgets, etc. But in Ben Golden’s life all of the above is not important!!! What’s important to him is TO MAKE HASHEM HAPPY BY DOING MORE MITZVOS in every ways possible, bringing Moshiach closer to us.

    So it’s not that Mr. Golden asks Ben about Moshiach, it’s that Ben brings up the topic of Moshiach all the time, because “MOSHIACH” is very very important to Ben, Moshiach is Ben’s life.

    Ben was obviously sent to this world to awaken us, I became a BAL Teshuva from speaking to Ben, only because I was seeking the truth, the truth as why I came to this world, the truth as what Hashem is expecting from me, and from us.

    In my humble opinion ALL the above posts trying to disqualify Moishela’s writings or Ben's writings for one way or another (Le Shame Somayim) are looking for an excuse as why not to let go of their lavish life styles, but the right thing is to throw it away and get closer to Hashem.

    In the beginning it was kind of difficult for me too, I had a great life style, (great for the Yatzer Hora) but when Ben Golden opened up my eyes I realized that I’m not making Hashen happy the way I am living, (BTW I still love Ice Cream & cars) I was only making myself happy, “my life style was only great to me” and not to Hashem, but as time went on I got used to being a better Jew in Hashem’s eyes, I am still trying to improve every day of my life, I’m striving to greet Moshiach. But what we have to remember is: that just like in Egypt only 20% left and got to see Hashem give us the Torah on Mount Sinai, same will be when Moshiach arrives.

    I pray that I will be from the 20% who will greet Moshiach together with Ben and Moishela and of course the rest of Am Yisroel who are willing to make sacrifices and changes in their life.

    M.J.

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    1. MJ: I personally know of other people who have met with Ben Golden and echo your sentiments. Thank you for commenting.

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  47. M.J I echo your post too.

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  48. Tonight I got hold of Rabbi Yechiel Sitzman who no long has a computer nor internet access. I plan to print out the blog entry and comments from Ephraim and hand deliver them to Rabbi Sitzman tomorrow. I look forward to getting his response back to this group.

    I will check out the link from Ephraim about science and respond later but it is now almost midnight here in Israel and I am going to bed.

    I am waiting for others to respond to my previous comments before I try to respond any further.

    Arthur Golden

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