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 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 2. Which of these Jewish thinkers expressed the strongest anti-magic position?
 A.J. Heschel
 Joseph Karo


Question 3. What are segullot?
 Animals said to have magic powers
 Evil spirits
 Good luck prayers
 Good luck charms


Question 4. 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 5. What was the cause of the violent mob assault against Jews in England, which started at the coronation of Richard I in 1189?
 A Jewish delegation bearing gifts was accused of coming to cast their spells over Richard I
 A Jewish citizen with a speech impediment was accused of being possessed by Satan
 Richard I declared a city-wide ban of Jews in his coronation speech
 The rabbi scheduled to bless Richard I did not show up


Question 6. 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 7. What is a golem?
 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