Talking to the Dead: Possible? Prohibited?
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim (Mesora.org)
Medium: Lately, I've been studying Mediumship, connecting people in spirit to their loved ones on Earth. I'm doing a project this week where I will read for the first 10 FB friends who message me. (No charge)
Mesora: This violates Torah, and is also a baseless unvalidated superstition. As one cannot know another person’s thoughts while that other person is alive, one equally cannot know the thoughts of a dead person. And the problem is increased, as the dead person has less [none] thoughts than a live person. Furthermore, this has never been validated.
Medium: So you don't believe the Torah on the existence of mediumship, but you believe the Torah's prohibition of this?
Mesora: Torah does not endorse any dialogue between the living and the dead. The story of Saul and the witch describing Saul talking to the dead Samuel occurred entirely in Saul’s imagination: http://mesora.org/saulandthewitch.htm
Medium: Wow, seems this upsets you.
Mesora: On the contrary, I'm very happy to be able to enlighten somebody to the truth of the Torah! But let us remain on the facts and not make this a personal issue, since it is not. Please prove necromancy is real.
Medium: I'm pretty sure the Torah says it's true. It wouldn't make sense for the Torah to forbid someone for doing something that's not possible.
Mesora: Your point is invalid. As Ibn Ezra says,"Torah forbids things precisely because they are false, and the proof is the prohibition against worshipping stone idols." And as I said above, nowhere does Torah endorse necromancy as a reality. As my friend said, “If some phenomenon were true, why would God prohibit it?!”
Medium: How could the Torah prohibit doing something that can't be done?
Mesora: Torah prohibits the “attempt.” Deut. 18:11 states this prohibition openly: "[There shall not be found among you ]...one who casts spells, or one who consults ghosts or familiar spirits, or one who inquires of the dead." Torah says not to "inquire" of the Dead, it does not say don't "converse" with them because there is no conversation. But a person is able to approach a dead person and inquire, even though there's no response. One can inquire of cardboard as well.
Medium: I have looked at it and I've had someone who is a native Hebrew speaker translate it. It says not to go to fortune tellers.
Mesora: Yes, that is another prohibition in the Torah, to refrain from going to fortune tellers because they too don't know anything. There are numerous idolatrous acts that are useless, and God commands us not to engage in the inquiry process.
The bottom line is that nobody ever spoke to a dead person and a dead person spoke back. Nobody ever got truth from a fortune teller. Nobody has ever performed witchcraft, etc. Reality refutes all of these superstitions. Study Egypt and the stories in Exodus regarding Pharaoh and the Egyptians. In every one of the 10 Plagues, not one of the Egyptian gods, magicians or dead corpses were able to cancel the plagues, precisely because there are no powers except for God.