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 the following special abilities does the Talmud ascribe to the sage Rav?
 The ability to curse others with sterility
 The ability to fly
 The ability to learn an entire tractate of Talmud each night
 The ability to raise the dead

 

Question 2. 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 3. True or false: In the Torah, God curses people.
 True
 False

 

Question 4. True or false: in the Talmudic period, bowls etched with magic formulas were used by Christians, Mazdeans, Mandeans, but never Jews.
 True
 False

 

Question 5. In the bible, what is the most common cause of God sending disease?
 Sin
 Adultery
 Practicing magic
 Ignorance

 

Question 6. What book contains formulas that were ostensibly used to create golems?
 The Bahir
 The Talmud
 Sefer Yetzirah
 The Necronomicon

 

Question 7. Which of the following "magical" rites was Moses not responsible for?
 Turning his staff into a snake
 Hitting a rock to exhort water to flow
 Speaking with a burning bush
 Hardening Pharaoh's heart