My Jewish Learning

Kabbalah & Mysticism Quiz

Jewish mystical teachings about the nature of God and reality have had a profound impact on the development of Judaism. How much do you know about this area of Jewish contemplation and spirituality?

Question 1. What is Kabbalah?
 A 26-volume book of Jewish mystical thought
 A loosely-defined umbrella term representing Jewish mystical thought
 A collection of the mystical passages in the Torah and Talmud
 The most mystical of the four sects of post-Babylonian Exile Judaism


Question 2. According to Luria and his followers, what does tikkun olam represent?
 The idea that following mitzvot, no matter how seemingly trivial, takes on a cosmic definition
 Repairing the world by doing good deeds for non-Jews
 Visualizing every part of the body as a separate vessel of God
 Combining the ideas of involuntary commandment and voluntary service


Question 3. The key concepts of Lurianic kabbalah include
 tzimtzum (contraction)
 the “shattering of the vessels”
 Both of the above
 Neither of the above


Question 4. What is tzimtzum?
 A product of the shevirah, shattering
 A vessel of light flowing from the orfices of the first man
 God’s essential self
 A contraction of God into a finite space


Question 5. Merkavah mysticism attempts to conceive of God as:
 A chariot, based on the Book of Ezekiel
 A lion, based on the Book of Daniel
 A pillar of fire, based on Exodus
 A vessel of oil, based on the story of Elisha


Question 6. Which of these is NOT a work of Jewish mysticism?
 Heikhalot literature
 Midrash Tehillim
 Sefer Yetzirah


Question 7. What are kelipot?
 The head coverings that observant Jewish men wear
 The shells or husks that imprison the Holy Sparks
 The red strings that the Kabbalah Centre sells
 The scrolls that contain the most important works of kabbalistic thought


Question 8. Why is Avraham Berg's Kabbalah Centre organization criticized by many Jewish institutions?
 The paraphernalia it sells
 They accuse it of distorting kabbalistic teachings and concepts
 Its recruitment and teaching methods
 All of these
 None of these


Question 9. Which rabbi is responsible for challenging the convention that the study of Kabbalah is only for a few elite scholars and thinkers?
 Joseph Caro
 Yehuda Ashlag
 Moshe Soleveichik
 The Vilna Gaon


Question 10. What does Sefer Yetsirah posit about the Hebrew alphabet?
 That Hebrew is the only holy language
 That each of the 22 letters was used in the creation of the universe
 That each Hebrew letter corresponds to a different part of the human body
 That the 22 letters are symbolic of the constellations in the sky