My Jewish Learning

Midrash Quiz

Midrash Aggadah and Midrash Halakhah are rabbinic tools for interpreting the Bible. How much do you know about the origins and methods of these exegetical traditions?



Question 1. Which of the following texts no longer exists in completion?
 Sifra
 Sifre on Numbers
 Sifre on Deuteronomy
 Sifre Zuta
 All are extant

 

Question 2. The concept of kal víhomer is common in midrash. It means:
 God's presence
 If X is true, then Y must also be true
 The question at hand is too easy to be worth answering
 If X is not true, then Y must be true

 

Question 3. How did the rabbis composing midrash express themselves?
 Through exaggeration and inventive history
 Through sound and word association
 Through parallel verses and concepts across the Bible
 All of these

 

Question 4. The oldest existing aggadic midrashim are
 Bereshit Rabbah and Vayikra Rabbah
 Shemot Rabbah and Devarim Rabbah
 Ruth Rabbah and Esther Rabbah
 Shir HaShirim Rabbah and Eikha Rabbah

 

Question 5. How did Midrash Tanhuma get its name?
 Tanhuma specifically refers to the era in which it was collected
 Rabbi Tanhuma was the first character to speak in the collection
 The Aramaic word "tanhuma" means "opening"
 "Tanhuma" was the original title of the collection

 

Question 6. What belief about Torah is attributed to the school of Rabbi Ishmael?
 The Torah text makes use of human conventions such as digression and repetition; not every textual quirk is significant
 The Torah's language is divine in character, and thus no letter or word in the Torah can be dismissed as a mere redundancy or convention
 The Torah was significant in the time it was given, but without midrash it loses its contemporary relevance
 One should study Torah on one's own for many years before attempting to study midrash

 

Question 7. What is a Midrash Yelamdenu?
 A midrash that opens with the words "Teach us, Rabbi"
 A midrash that answers a legal question through exegesis of a biblical verse
 Primarily a mnemonic device to help one remember an already existing halakhah
 All of these

 

Question 8. According to midrash, which of Judaism's forefathers once worked in a store that sold idols?
 Abraham
 Isaac
 Jacob
 Moses

 

Question 9. The laws derived from midrash halakhah:
 Are specifically commanded in the Bible
 Are interpretations from biblical verses
 Mimic specific actions carried out by people in the Bible
 Include any law that isnít specifically given in the Torah

 

Question 10. Which laws does the midrash derive from the text of the Shema?
 Tefillin
 Mezuzah
 Details regarding the time of day when Shema should be recited
 All of these