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 does midrash tend to focus on?
 Theological concepts
 Holidays and special occasions
 Specific verses from the Torah
 Providing self-help advice

 

Question 2. 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

 

Question 3. 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 4. What does the word midrash mean?
 Searching out
 Going on a journey
 Reading
 Reciting

 

Question 5. True or false: After the destruction of the Temple, midrash halakhah was used to create new liturgies and rituals while still maintaining continuity by linking to the words of the Torah.
 True
 False

 

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

 

Question 8. Were midrashic texts discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls?
 Yes
 No

 

Question 9. What are the two main categories of midrash?
 Yerushalmi and Bavli
 Ashkenazic and Sephardic
 Halakhah and Aggadah
 Aseh and Lo Ta’aseh

 

Question 10. Serah has no part in any narrative in the Torah, but there are many midrashic traditions about her, including:
 That she was Moses' mother
 That she married Pharaoh in order to save Moses
 That she identified Moses as the redeemer who would deliver the Israelites from Egypt
 That she taught Moses how to perform miracles in front of Pharaoh, because he was initially too scared