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 these is NOT a reason that a talmudic sage was granted special powers?
 He was the first person in synagogue every morning of his life
 He never walked four cubits without speaking words of Torah
 He never drank any liquid except water
 He never laid out a bed and slept for a regular period of time
 He never called anybody by a nickname


Question 2. Which is NOT used to ward off the Ayin Hara (evil eye)?
 A hamsa, or a divine hand
 A red string tied around the wrist
 A Magen David, or six-pointed star
 An incantation stating that one is "of the seed of Joseph"


Question 3. True or false: In the Torah, God curses people.


Question 4. What is blood libel?
 The use of blood for healing purposes
 The accusation of ritual child murder
 A theory pertaining to Jewish genetics
 The practice of storing blood in customary vases


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 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. Which of the following Jewish ritual objects did Christians (mistakenly) believe Jews used human blood to create?
 The etrog, at Sukkot
 The matzah, at Passover
 The bitter herb, at Passover
 The menorah, at Hanukkah
 The Torah