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Is Déjà Vu Real?

Is Déjà Vu Real?

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Question:

I often get déjà vu, the sensation that I have already lived this moment before. It has happened when I travel to new destinations with people I have never met, and I feel that I have been there in that place, with the same people, hearing that very conversation before. Is there a Jewish explanation for this?

Answer:

Some suggest that déjà vu is a sign of reincarnation. You feel you were here before because you were, in a previous life. Others explain that you had a predictive dream of the scene before it happened, and now you are seeing your dream materialize.

Maybe. There is a more mundane explanation. In my personal experience, I get déjà vu only when my brain is a little tired. What seems to be happening is that my conscious mind is idle, but my memory is working in the background. So I am feeling the sensation of remembering the scene in front of me before I actually experience it in the present. It is as if the scene has slipped past my awareness and gone straight into my memory.

There is a simple test to see whether déjà vu means you really have seen this before, or your mind is playing tricks on you. Can you blurt out what someone else is about to say before they even say it? If so, that must come from somewhere beyond intellect. But if you feel like you knew what they were going to say only after they already said it, I’m not so sure it means anything, except that you need to get some rest.

But then there is a far deeper type of déjà vu. It’s called resonance. You hear an insight, a teaching, a truth, and although you have never heard it before, you know it is right. The idea rings true, seems familiar and comfortable. You are at home with it. It’s what you always knew, but had never put into words. It resonates with you.

This happens when you study authentic Torah. You hear its message, and you know deep down that it is true. This is because you have heard it before. Our souls are taught the divine truths before we enter this world, but we forget it all at birth. However, an imprint remains, a faint memory, so we will know truth when we find it.

There are many false ideas and temporary fads that sound interesting and may gain much popularity, but on the deepest level they do not resonate with us. Our mission on earth is to search for the divine message, to put aside momentary distractions and regain that eternal truth, the truth our soul is waiting to hear again.

This is real déjà vu. Have you heard that before?

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Anonymous Amarillo TX January 4, 2017

I can remember when I first heard my first Torah lesson...it resonated with in me so deep... Reply

Abigail Jakarta January 4, 2017

Real déjà vu Yes! I have heard about it before regarding the "studying Torah is like déjà vu because your soul has actually known that truth before birth" concept.

As for the other déjà vu, I actually read somewhere (I can't remember where) that one of the reason for it is due to our eyes or brain being tired and our left and right eyes sending information to our brain a split second apart, thus the brain thinking it's seen/experienced something before. Reply

Vanessa Moodie September 28, 2015

My husband and I are convertig to Judaism...please G_d soon! Resonance seems to be part of my life.I've often felt like I was Jewish.Of course wasn't born to Jewish parents.Plaese elaborate on the Jewish soul concept. We have been practising Judaim for over eight years.But we cant seemto get to a place to convert properly.In all this time we have not had a rabbi in our community.Why is our progress so slow and an upward battle? Reply

Clayton Slutsky NJ August 16, 2015

Again and again I don't really beleive in deja vu. I believe in coincidences happening, and perhaps getting out of control. These lives we have lived many times. This earth has been many times. As far as dreams go.... you shouldn't get so caught up in dreams and write them all down. People will use this against you! However you can occassionally get a useful hint in a dream that will tilt favorability in the waking world more into a sort of dreamstate for you. This in turn will make your life move more naturally and organically, though may not be the most logical choice you would make. Having clues in dreams and adding them to our modern life can help us enter a different world full of more peace. Besides that, I must say that I really do not beleive in deja vu, in it's strictest sense. Reply

Anonymous Los Angeles, CA via chabadbw.com August 16, 2015

deja vu I used to have the experience back in Iran where I was born and lived up to age 16. I've never experienced it since I left Iran 35 years ago. I've thought about it a lot of times. Does that mean my life was supposed to continue there and was interrupted by the migration to United Stated? Reply

Anonymous pittsburgh August 14, 2015

that is so weird this happens to me alot and i thout it was only me Reply

Sara Arizona August 14, 2015

Deja Vu This always happens to me i like to say what i said in the dream because i like to see my dream materialize and it always happens the person that i said it to said what she said in the dream!
Last year at the end of my dream i always see a picture and then i kinda think something in my dream this year i went somewhere that i never went and i caught myself thinking what i thought in the dream! Reply

philip jones Folkestone, Kent. August 13, 2015

Experiences in my life. Deja vu may be the outcome of travailing in dream time. At one time i would have said that to travel while asleep was complete bunkum. Or the feeling that i have been there before ,knowing full well that i had not was the same. I can tell you that i have been in a dream where my friend and i were doing two separate jobs of work. The dream was quite clear in the morning and i was going to tell him of the out come but i was so surprised when he said to me. " morning Phil .i had a dream last night and you were in it " I let him carry on and tell me about it without saying a word. It was exact ...I would love to tell you all more ,because there is much more but this little square is far to small....please find me and i will be glad to tell you. shalom Reply

Nechamah Goldfarb Brooklyn August 13, 2015

I have definitely had the experience, more than once, where I knew I had seen a situation before, knew what someone was going to say, and then he said it! At first it was unnerving, but then I just became intrigued. WHen I was 13, I had a dream that one of my sisters was in a car accident. When I woke up, my parents were not home, and, puzzled, I got my little and myself ready for school and we left. When we got home, we found that my parents were called in the middle of the night that my sister had been in a car accident. ANd, when my sister BH recovered, we found that the accident was exactly as I had seen in my dream. I also went (at age 14) to a visit a friend who had bought a new house, which I had never seen (this was 40 years before internet and smart phone et al, so she could not have sent me photos!) and I not only knew somehow what the house including the front door looked like, but I also knew the house--knew exactly where each room was, etc! I wish I could use it at will! Reply

Anonymous Everett August 13, 2015

Yes, I actually have heard all of this before...
And quite frankly, stopped "blurting out" years ago because it would freak people out. Now, I just sit back and watch as the moments go by; now it is a sign-post for me from HaShem that I am on The Path. Reply

Anonymous August 13, 2015

Fascinating answer! Thanks for posting! Reply

Fro August 12, 2015

your article totally resonates deep down in me...thank you Reply

Jared Heron MT August 12, 2015

Deja Vu Theory I have a theory that we have lived everything and made our decisions before, but we don't remember it, like you experience your own future before it happens, but reality won't let your mind remember it. But sometimes those memories slip by and you get Deja Vu. Time may not be what we think it is, maybe some big decisions in life are just chances to re-write mistakes. Life has so many possibilities and outcomes and I think we have already experienced them all. Now we just live this one and wait for the next one to come.

Tell me what you think!

-Jared Reply

craig newnes Francre August 12, 2015

Is deja vu real Deja vu is a feeling. If feelings are real then deja vu is real - by definition. Reply

K.B. Land of mountains and valleys August 7, 2015

Such an interesting topic!! i think the 'magnetic resonance' that you speak of as possibly creating deja vu is generated and supported by a view of Time as mutable, not static. In our consciousness flow there is potentially a range of thoughts, earthbound, mystical, connecting memory cycles from past lifetimes ... or future 'visions'.

Sometimes moments of deja vu happen when a child hears a piece of music 'for the first time' ... Our conscious mind may be wondering how that mozart concerto could be so resonant with our 3 year old, but we have no idea of how many times the soul of our child could have been exposed to that melody ... so there appears that there is some connective tissue between lifetimes that is conducting ... non-local consciousness ....

When one is tired the threads between conscious and unconscious minds start to thin, creating the beginning cycles of REM sleep frequency waves ... changing our experience of time and allowing non-local consciousness more free 'roaming' capabilities. Reply

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