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


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. 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 5. 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 6. Which biblical character is said to be a witch?
 King Manasseh
 Queen Esther
 Queen Jezebel


Question 7. In the bible, what is the most common cause of God sending disease?
 Practicing magic