My Jewish Learning

Magic & the Supernatural Quiz

Judaism has many folk customs with magical undertones. But these are not without controversy. How well do you know Jewish magic, and the debates around it?

Question 1. Which of the following "magical" rites was Moses not responsible for?
 Turning his staff into a snake
 Hitting a rock to exhort water to flow
 Speaking with a burning bush
 Hardening Pharaoh's heart


Question 2. What is the grave of Jonathan Ben Uziel?
 A site in Amukah, in northern Israel
 A place that is believed to have magical powers
 A place where some people go when looking for love
 All of these


Question 3. Rabbi Moses ben Yehiel had to defend which Jewish custom as not being a form or sorcery?
 Breaking glass at a wedding
 Covering challah before blessing it
 Hanging the mezuzah on a doorpost
 Throwing a clot of dirt behind you at a funeral


Question 4. True or false: In the Torah, God curses people.


Question 5. Why were Jews thought of as excellent magicians in the Middle Ages?
 Many were moneylenders, and had an affinity for silver
 They prayed at night
 Jewish congregations held a service each month publicly blessing the moon
 Many Jews had scientific or medical training


Question 6. What is a dybbuk?
 A dead human that takes possession of the body of a living human
 A demon that takes possession of the body of an animal
 A giant creature made of clay which is brought to life by magical means
 A carnivorous blood-sucking creature living in the forests of Eastern Europe


Question 7. What is divination?
 Gazing into the future using supernatural means
 Any act of creation, natural or supernatural
 Anointing oneself directly as a divinity (God)
 Making objects or people appear or disappear