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. The earliest disseminated text of Kabbalistic thought was:
 Yedid Nefesh
 Sefer HaRosh
 Sefer Ha-Bahir


Question 2. Merkavah mysticism attempts to conceive of God as:
 A chariot, based on the Book of Ezekiel
 A lion, based on the Book of Daniel
 A pillar of fire, based on Exodus
 A vessel of oil, based on the story of Elisha


Question 3. 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 4. According to kabbalistic thought, the Holy Sparks are
 the spiritual illuminations inherent in all things
 the 36 righteous people in the world
 the letters of the Torah as seen after fasting for a week
 the inspiration for holiness one finds in misery


Question 5. 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 6. What are the sefirot?
 Attribures of God that are understandable to human beings
 All of these
 None of these


Question 7. Which of the following famous rabbinic commentators joined a group of mystics in Safed?
 Moses Maimonides
 Isaac Abravanel
 Obadiah ben Jacob Sforno
 Joseph Caro


Question 8. 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 9. Which of the following kabbalistic thinkers attempted to attain prophecy?
 Isaac Luria
 Abraham Joshua Heschel
 Abraham Abulafia
 All of these
 None of these


Question 10. What is tzimtzum?
 A product of the shevirah, shattering
 A vessel of light flowing from the orfices of the first man
 Godís essential self
 A contraction of God into a finite space