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. What are the names of the books of legal midrash that comment on Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy?
 Mishneh and Mishnah
 Tzedek and Tzedakah
 Sifre and Sifra
 Rabbi and Rebbe


Question 2. True or false: Classical works of midrash sometimes contain polemics against Christianity or Islam.


Question 3. Which of the following are examples of contemporary midrash?
 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I See the Promised Land" speech
 Passover Haggadahs
 "Turn, Turn, Turn," sung by the Byrds, written by Pete Seeger
 All of the above


Question 4. Which laws does the midrash derive from the text of the Shema?
 Details regarding the time of day when Shema should be recited
 All of these


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 was Maimonides' position about how Jews should approach midrash?
 They should understand midrashic teachings literally
 They should write midrash off as philosophically unsophisticated
 They should accept only the most rational midrashim
 They should approach midrash as a code of metaphors hinting at deeper truths


Question 7. Which Torah commentator sometimes dismissed the work of another Torah commentator by saying that "he relies too much on aggadah?"
 Rabbenu Bahai
 Kli Yakar


Question 8. Midrash Aggadah appears in discrete volumes of midrash, and also in
 The Scroll of Esther
 The Book of Maccabees
 The Talmud
 The Torah


Question 9. Which of the following texts no longer exists in completion?
 Sifre on Numbers
 Sifre on Deuteronomy
 Sifre Zuta
 All are extant


Question 10. What does Mekhilta mean?