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. 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


Question 2. What is the grave of Jonathan Ben Uziel?
 A site in Amukah, in northern Israel
 A place that is believed to have magical powers
 A place where some people go when looking for love
 All of these


Question 3. Why were Jews thought of as excellent magicians in the Middle Ages?
 Many were moneylenders, and had an affinity for silver
 They prayed at night
 Jewish congregations held a service each month publicly blessing the moon
 Many Jews had scientific or medical training


Question 4. Which two medieval Jewish thinkers address the theological legitimacy of astrology?
 Rav & Shmuel
 Ibn Ezra & Maimonides
 Rashi & Rabbenu Tam
 Sforno & Sahl ben Bishr al-Israeli


Question 5. Which of the following supernatural practices is forbidden in the Bible?
 Hepatoscopy (reading animal entrails)
 Belomancy (casting or shooting arrows as lots)
 All of these
 None of these


Question 6. Which of these is NOT a reason that a talmudic sage was granted special powers?
 He was the first person in synagogue every morning of his life
 He never walked four cubits without speaking words of Torah
 He never drank any liquid except water
 He never laid out a bed and slept for a regular period of time
 He never called anybody by a nickname


Question 7. 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