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 is blood libel?
 The use of blood for healing purposes
 The accusation of ritual child murder
 A theory pertaining to Jewish genetics
 The practice of storing blood in customary vases

 

Question 2. True or false: Judaism ascribes some supernatural powers to the zodiac.
 True
 False

 

Question 3. Which is NOT used to ward off the Ayin Hara (evil eye)?
 A hamsa, or a divine hand
 A red string tied around the wrist
 A Magen David, or six-pointed star
 An incantation stating that one is "of the seed of Joseph"

 

Question 4. 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 5. 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 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. Which of the following is not a punishment for the use of magic as cited in the Mishnah?
 Death by stoning
 Loss of place in the world to come
 Hanging
 Death of one's firstborn son