My Jewish Learning

Kabbalah & Mysticism Quiz

Jewish mystical teachings about the nature of God and reality have had a profound impact on the development of Judaism. How much do you know about this area of Jewish contemplation and spirituality?

Question 1. True or false: Hasidism spread mystical thinking and living to the masses of European Jewry by teaching that all people could have an experiential connection with God.


Question 2. According to Luria and his followers, what does tikkun olam represent?
 The idea that following mitzvot, no matter how seemingly trivial, takes on a cosmic definition
 Repairing the world by doing good deeds for non-Jews
 Visualizing every part of the body as a separate vessel of God
 Combining the ideas of involuntary commandment and voluntary service


Question 3. What are the sefirot?
 Attribures of God that are understandable to human beings
 All of these
 None of these


Question 4. The poem Yedid Nefesh was written by
 The Arizal
 Eleazar Azikri
 Isaac Luria


Question 5. Which of these is a characteristic of what the contemporary scholar Moshe Idel calls "intensive mysticism"?
 It is purely intellectual in nature
 It is similar to studying chumash with Rashi
 It is experiential, including chanting and meditation
 All of these
 None of these


Question 6. Gershom Scholem was:
 A Jewish Renewal rabbi who popularized Shema meditation
 The philosopher who wrote I and Thou
 The founder of modern academic study of Jewish mysticism
 The assistant and most enthusiastic proponent of Shabbetai Zevi


Question 7. What is Kabbalah?
 A 26-volume book of Jewish mystical thought
 A loosely-defined umbrella term representing Jewish mystical thought
 A collection of the mystical passages in the Torah and Talmud
 The most mystical of the four sects of post-Babylonian Exile Judaism


Question 8. Merkavah mystics chose the first chapter of one prophetic book as their textual starting point. Which book was it?
 The Book of Isaiah
 The Book of Jeremiah
 The Book of Samuel
 The Book of Ezekiel


Question 9. What does Sefer Yetsirah posit about the Hebrew alphabet?
 That Hebrew is the only holy language
 That each of the 22 letters was used in the creation of the universe
 That each Hebrew letter corresponds to a different part of the human body
 That the 22 letters are symbolic of the constellations in the sky


Question 10. In 1968, Arthur Green, before he became a prominent Jewish Renewal rabbi, compared the experience of studying kabbalah to:
 Transcendental meditation
 Taking drugs
 Sexual fulfillment