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 illustrates the power of speech in Judaism?
 God creates the world through a series of speech acts
 God uses speech to bless and curse the people of Israel
 Uttering God's name destroys the walls of Jericho
 A & B only
 All of the above


Question 2. In the Middle Ages, which of these Jewish customs lapsed because of Christian suspicions of black magic?
 Certain mourning practices
 The search for leaven
 Certain Shabbat practices
 Some of these
 All of thee


Question 3. 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 4. True or false: In the Talmud, unusual events can be interpreted as either magic or miracle, depending on who is responsible for the event.


Question 5. What is Kabbalah Ma'asit?
 Another name for the Zohar
 Mystical literature that is more theoretical than practical
 Mystical literature that offers formulas for achieving closeness to God through meditation and name-recitation
 A book from the Jewish enlightenment that decries magical practices


Question 6. Which of the following is a symbol that might be found on a hamsa?
 Star of David
 Both C and B
 All of the above


Question 7. 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.