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 supernatural ideas is mentioned in the Torah?
 The Dybbuk
 The Golem


Question 2. 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 3. Which two medieval Jewish thinkers address the theological legitimacy of astrology?
 Rav & Shmuel
 Ibn Ezra & Maimonides
 Rashi & Rabbenu Tam
 Sforno & Sahl ben Bishr al-Israeli


Question 4. What was the cause of the violent mob assault against Jews in England, which started at the coronation of Richard I in 1189?
 A Jewish delegation bearing gifts was accused of coming to cast their spells over Richard I
 A Jewish citizen with a speech impediment was accused of being possessed by Satan
 Richard I declared a city-wide ban of Jews in his coronation speech
 The rabbi scheduled to bless Richard I did not show up


Question 5. Which of these Jewish thinkers expressed the strongest anti-magic position?
 A.J. Heschel
 Joseph Karo


Question 6. True or false: in the Talmudic period, bowls etched with magic formulas were used by Christians, Mazdeans, Mandeans, but never Jews.


Question 7. What is a golem?
 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