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. 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


Question 2. Which of the following is a symbol that might be found on a hamsa?
 Star of David
 Both C and B
 All of the above


Question 3. A widespread belief states that descendents from which biblical hero are immune from the effects of the evil eye?


Question 4. What are segullot?
 Animals said to have magic powers
 Evil spirits
 Good luck prayers
 Good luck charms


Question 5. Who is the author of the play The Dybbuk?
 Grace Aguilar
 S. Ansky
 Sholem Aleichem
 Sholem Asch


Question 6. 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 7. What is a dybbuk?
 A dead human that takes possession of the body of a living human
 A demon that takes possession of the body of an animal
 A giant creature made of clay which is brought to life by magical means
 A carnivorous blood-sucking creature living in the forests of Eastern Europe