My Jewish Learning

Halakhah Quiz

Jewish authorities have produced over time a major body of legal texts, governing nearly every aspect of Jewish practice--or Halakhah. How much do you know about Jewish law and its foundational texts?

Question 1. What is Gates of Mitzvah?
 A medieval book that first gave rabbis a set of guidelines for administering halakhah
 The first known book of halakhah written in the post-talmudic era
 A Reform popular guide to religious practice
 The Orthodox Union's guide to answering halakhic questions


Question 2. Which movement attempted to claim the Vilna Gaon as an ancestor?
 Conservative Judaism
 Jewish Renewal


Question 3. Which of the following compilers of halakhah was careful to cite the sources in his work?
 Maimonides (Mishneh Torah)
 Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe)
 Joseph di Trani (Maharit)
 Yehiel Mekhel Epstein (Arukh HaShulhan)


Question 4. In the biblical story of the Daughters of Zelophehad, how do the title characters settle their halakhic dispute?
 They use the Sanhedrin court, its first known mention
 They create an altar and pray for an answer
 Their husbands take the case to Moses and Aaron
 They take the matter to Moses, who brings it directly to God


Question 5. What was Rabbi Moshe Feinstein's ruling regarding taking out life insurance?
 It violates the principle of trusting in God
 It is like any other business transaction--God helps those who help themselves
 It is not forbidden, but is frowned upon, as a form of gambling
 He never issued a ruling regarding life insurance


Question 6. What do most scholars believe about the She'iltot?
 It was meant as a specific legal code for one community
 It was originally a collection of sermons
 It was originally one extended discourse
 It was first discovered with the Dead Sea Scrolls


Question 7. In which area was the Vilna Gaon critical of Maimonides?
 In Maimonides' application of science to Jewish law
 In Maimonides' rejection of amulets and demons
 In Maimonides' attempts to theorize the existence of God in scientific terms
 In Maimonides' reliance on gentile medicines