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. 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


Question 2. What was the main difference between the Vilna Gaon and the leaders of the Hasidic movement?
 He believed that Kabbalah was nonsense, and banned it from study
 He believed that only the very highly learned should have access to esoteric and mystical texts
 He believed that all secular learning was nonsense, while Hasidim embraced the marriage of secular and religious
 He believed that study of Jewish law was the only way to commune with God


Question 3. Who was the author of the Iggerot Moshe?
 Moses ben Maimon
 Moshe Feinstein
 Moses Mendelsohn
 Joseph Caro


Question 4. What is the central difference between the code of law written by Joseph Caro, and the gloss to that code written by Moshe Isserles?
 On nearly every matter of practice, Caro is more strict than Isserles
 Caro did not cite sources, Isserles did
 Caro was considered one of the Geonim, Isserles was considered a medieval halakhic authority
 Caro wrote for Sephardic communities, Isserles presented the positions of Ashkenazic authorities


Question 5. What did the book Sefer Me'irat Einayim try to do to the Shulhan Arukh?
 It filled in the blanks in the scope of the Shulhan.
 It systematically disagreed with each point made.
 It translated the Shulhan into modern Hebrew.
 It provided a Reform equivalent for the Shulhan.


Question 6. In halahkic texts, what does the word teshuva mean?
 An unanswered question
 A responsum
 A convening court
 An obligation


Question 7. Who is Ovadiah Yosef?
 The author of the Tur, the predecessor of the Shulhan Arukh
 A popular Sephardic Orthodox rabbi and the author of his own halakhic compilation
 A leading German scholar of the "Positive-Historical" approach to Judaism
 The compiler of the Kitzur Shulhan Arukh