Halakhah QuizJewish 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 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 2. 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 3. Which 17th-century rabbi helped define halakhot about how Sephardic and Ashkenazic rabbis may react with each other?
Joseph di Trani
Zvi Hirsch Ashkenazi
Yom Tob Algazi
Question 4. 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
Question 5. 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 6. Why, according to its author, was the Shulhan Arukh written?
In order to instill a uniform halakhic code for all Jews
Because the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and their subsequent dispersion among Ashkenazic communities had caused confusion about the rules of observance
Because rabbis had become scarce, and Jews needed an easy way to answer their questions
To create a break from the strict rabbinical system of answering questions through the local town rabbi
Question 7. Who was the Rif?
A North African rabbi who wrote a book of Jewish law
The foremost commentator on the Torah and Prophets
The Safed-based compiler of the Shulhan Arukh
The first person to determine how to tie tzitzit