My Jewish Learning

War & Peace Quiz

Peace is one of Judaism's most revered concepts. And yet Jewish tradition assumes that war is inevitable. How much do you know about the Jewish ethics and laws of combat?

Question 1. In the Mishnah, the rabbis describe a category of "commanded wars" that are to be fought against whom?
 The seven nations of Canaan
 Idol-worshipping nations
 A & B only
 All of these


Question 2. According to the Torah, what did Amalek do to deserve the scorn of the Israelites?
 They tried to assassinate Moses
 They attacked the weakest members of the Israelites
 They stole all of the Israelites' food
 They burnt down the First Temple


Question 3. Complete this quote from the Talmud: "If someone comes to kill you_________"
 Welcome him with open arms
 Get up early in the morning to kill him first
 Reason with him as best you can
 Save yourself by hiding from him


Question 4. According to the Book of Samuel, the commandment to erase the nation of Amalek extends to
 Their cattle
 Their camels
 Their infants
 All of the above


Question 5. According to Deuteronomy, what must an Israelite army do prior to attacking an enemy?
 Offer peace
 Offer sacrifices
 All of these


Question 6. What kind of war does the Talmud prohibit?
 Nuclear war
 War with any nation other than Amalek
 War where the casualty rate will be more than one sixth of the population
 War where the casualty rate will be more than one tenth of the population


Question 7. Which of these sages refers to "obligatory war" as a positive commandment?
 Joseph Caro


Question 8. What is Maimonides' principle for how to lay siege on a city?
 Provide food and water for its inhabitants
 Surround it on only three out of four sides, so civilians who wish to flee may do so
 Kill anyone who tries to escape
 Cut down all fruit-bearing trees in the area


Question 9. True or false: In Judaism, peace is an eschatological dream, not a goal for the here-and-now.


Question 10. True or False: According to Jewish law, communal self-defense and personal self-defense are the same thing, with the same rules.