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 significant about Safed, the northern Israeli city?
 In medieval times, many spectral lights were seen in the sky over Safed
 The water surrounding Safed was seen as mystically enriching
 The city contained dirt carried from Mount Sinai, where the Torah was received
 After the Jews were exiled from Spain, many Jewish mystics settled there

 

Question 2. 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 3. Abraham Abulafia, a 13th-century mystic, was a devoted follower of
 Maimonides
 The Emperor Constantine
 The prophet Samuel
 David Ben Gurion

 

Question 4. According to Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, the study of Kabbalah is:
 An otherwordly tradition
 A logical system intended for the ethical and political redemption of human society
 The only way to guarantee one will have a place in the World to Come
 A good way to rub elbows with celebrities

 

Question 5. 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

 

Question 6. The poem Yedid Nefesh was written by
 The Arizal
 Eleazar Azikri
 Rashi
 Isaac Luria

 

Question 7. 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 8. Which of these is a characteristic of what the contemporary scholar Moshe Idel calls "intensive mysticism"?
 It is purely intellectual in nature
 It is similar to studying chumash with Rashi
 It is experiential, including chanting and meditation
 All of these
 None of these

 

Question 9. 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 10. Which of the following non-kabbalistic books was written by a kabbalist?
 Shulhan Arukh, the code of Jewish law
 Sefer Hahinukh, the list of mitzvot in the Torah
 Halikhot Bat Yisrael, the code of Jewish women’s behavior
 Sefer Minhagim, the directory of Jewish customs