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. What was the Urim and Tummim?
 A method of divination that was worn as part of the priestly garments
 The prayer used in a Jewish exorcism
 Special marbles often carried by Jews in the Middle Ages, said to bring good luck and fertility
 The two designated groups of Jews said to practice magic under the direct command of God


Question 2. True or false: in the Talmudic period, bowls etched with magic formulas were used by Christians, Mazdeans, Mandeans, but never Jews.


Question 3. 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.


Question 4. What does Lilith do, according to Jewish legends?
 Coerce Jewish men into being unfaithful to their wives
 Snatch newborn babies and take them away from their parents
 Turn into a wolflike creature at the full moon
 Encourage idolatry and non-kosher eating practices


Question 5. Which two early rabbis were famous for having a healing power that resided in their touch?
 Masmasiah & Kaskasiah
 Hiyya & Yohanan
 Joshua ben Levi & Judah
 Tannaim & Yehuda


Question 6. What is divination?
 Gazing into the future using supernatural means
 Any act of creation, natural or supernatural
 Anointing oneself directly as a divinity (God)
 Making objects or people appear or disappear


Question 7. Why do the rabbis in the Talmud oppose magic?
 Because it is the way of the Amorites
 Because it is the way of the Romans
 Because it can lead to idolatry, adultery, or murder
 All of the above