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. From the 13th to the 15th century, where was the world center of kabbalistic teachings?
 Small villages throughout Eastern Europe


Question 2. 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 3. What are kelipot?
 The head coverings that observant Jewish men wear
 The shells or husks that imprison the Holy Sparks
 The red strings that the Kabbalah Centre sells
 The scrolls that contain the most important works of kabbalistic thought


Question 4. 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 5. Which of the following kabbalistic thinkers attempted to attain prophecy?
 Isaac Luria
 Abraham Joshua Heschel
 Abraham Abulafia
 All of these
 None of these


Question 6. What is significant about Safed, the northern Israeli city?
 In medieval times, many spectral lights were seen in the sky over Safed
 The water surrounding Safed was seen as mystically enriching
 The city contained dirt carried from Mount Sinai, where the Torah was received
 After the Jews were exiled from Spain, many Jewish mystics settled there


Question 7. 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


Question 8. 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 9. Abraham Abulafia, a 13th-century mystic, was a devoted follower of
 The Emperor Constantine
 The prophet Samuel
 David Ben Gurion


Question 10. Which of these forms of Jewish mysticism came first?
 Merkavah mysticism
 Jewish Renewal
 Hasidic mysticism
 The Zohar