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. 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 2. What was the Urim and Tummim?
 A method of divination that was worn as part of the priestly garments
 The prayer used in a Jewish exorcism
 Special marbles often carried by Jews in the Middle Ages, said to bring good luck and fertility
 The two designated groups of Jews said to practice magic under the direct command of God


Question 3. Who is the author of the play The Dybbuk?
 Grace Aguilar
 S. Ansky
 Sholem Aleichem
 Sholem Asch


Question 4. In Jewish thought, dreams are compared to
 Joyful song and dance


Question 5. True or false: Among the Dead Sea Scrolls, there exists a fragmentary text that is a collection of protective formulae for fending off demonic attack.


Question 6. What book contains formulas that were ostensibly used to create golems?
 The Bahir
 The Talmud
 Sefer Yetzirah
 The Necronomicon


Question 7. True or false: In the Talmud, unusual events can be interpreted as either magic or miracle, depending on who is responsible for the event.