How much do you know about the Torah? Quiz

By: Narra Jackson
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

For thousands of years Jews have been studying texts in pairs or in groups, respectfully debating each other, and learning the stories and legal texts of Judaism. How much do you know about studying Torah?

What does the word Torah mean?

The word Torah means teaching or instruction in Hebrew. The Torah itself is a scrolled parchment that contains multiple books.

What is Kabala?

Kabala is Hebrew for that which is received. It is a mystical thread go Judaism which dates back thousands of years. Like all mystical traditions, it privileges personal experience and therefore attractive to a wide range of people. It embraces the power of ritual to directly transform one's life.

How often is the Torah read?

Jews read the Torah from the beginning to the end each year, one section every week, and then start fresh after the Jewish New Year.

Which one of these things is a strange thing that is kosher?

Medicinal Marijuana is considered kosher in some cases in Judaism. This is usually in the more laid-back or reform sectors of Judaism, as orthodox Jews are very rigid in their traditions and practices. I doubt they'll be lighting up a joint anytime soon.

How many letters are in the Torah?

There are 304,805 letters found in each and every Torah. Each Torah is written and created (when a new one is made) by a scribe.

How long does it take the scribe to transcribe the Torah?

It takes a scribe about a year to pen the 304,805 letter that are found in each Torah. The scribe has to write the Torah exactly the same way it's been written since the time of Moses.

How many laws dictate the writing?

There are over 4,000 laws that dictate the writing of the Torah. Even the slightest slip of the pen, the smallest mistake, can be reason to burn the scroll and start over, especially if a mistake is found in the word God. God's name is holy and a scribe must bathe in a ritual pool before writing the Lord's four-letter (Hebrew) name.

How many sheets of parchment is each Torah made up of?

Torahs are made up of between 62 and 84 sheets of parchment produced from the skin of a kosher animal. The pen used to write one is actually a quill from a kosher bird, usually a goose feather, and only special, permanent black ink is acceptable.

What does "Atzei Chaim" mean in English?

Aztec chaim means "trees of life" in English. Using thread made from the leg sinews of a kosher cow, the scribe sews the backs of the parchment together so the stitches aren't visible from the front. Each scroll is then sewn onto the two wooden shafts, or the "trees of life."

How much does a Torah weigh on average?

Torah's are quite heavy (as you might suspect, knowing now all that goes into it). They usually weigh around 25 pounds. Dropping a Torah is a VERY serious matter, if it is dropped tradition holds that every person in the room must fast for 40 days in atonement.

How long was the tradition solely oral before the Torah was written?

Judaism believes in a different Torah that Moses passed down orally in an unbroken chain from generation to generation for 1,400 years. That's a long time to have it solely oral before it was written!

How many New Years days do Jews have?

In Judaism there are 4 different New Years days. It is common in the Jewish tradition to have multiple days of celebration (or mourning) during all of their major holidays. This could either be a great thing or not depending on the holiday...

Which one of these was an invention made by a Rabbi?

You probably would not have guessed this as it is indeed, quite strange! A Rabbi in 1999 invented the idea and concept of speed dating. What a guy!

How big is Judaism in the U.S.?

No one talks about Judaism, or at leas not commonly. Either we hear about Christianity or we hear about the marginalized much smaller religions. But, Judaism is in fact the largest religious affiliation in the U.S. right after Christianity.

Do you know which of these people was a famous Jewish person?

Marilyn Monroe was in fact Jewish... what?!? She converted for her husband Arthur Miller.

Do you know which of these people was a famous Jewish philosopher?

Despite the fact that he was a Jew, Karl Marx hated Judaism with a passion. He said that "money is the jealous God of Israel."

What is an uncommon obsession prevalent in Judaism?

A man in Nebraska is breeding red cows and sending them to Israel. He is doing it so that Jews will build a Third Temple, a place where "Jesus comes again." If that isn't crazy superstitious and weird, I don't know what is.

What is Neturei Karta?

A Jewish sect, called the Neturei Karta, are a famous group of Jews that support Palestine and actually calls for a peaceful dismantling of the State of Israel.

What could you compare the Jewish population to?

The population of Jews in the world is similar to the margin of error in the Chinese census. Why and how this was found it, I couldn't tell you. Seems like more than one group has historically been a fan of dismantling the Jews...

What does the phrase, "Eye for an eye" mean in Judaism?

The "eye for an eye" principle is not translated literally in Judaism, but rather it is understood as a proportional monetary compensation given to the person(s) in trade with one another.

What century did the Khazars convert?

The rulers of the first Feudal state of Eastern Europe, the Khazars converted in a mass to Judaism in the 8th century. The reason for this huge conversion? It is speculated that it was financial.

Is science or religion right in Judaism?

Since the 12th century, Judaism believes that if the truths derived from science or philosophy contradict religious beliefs, than they assert that the religious beliefs are then seen as incorrect. What a forward thinking religion, ay?

What is the only kosher insect in Judaism?

The locust is the only insect that is considered kosher in the Jewish tradition. The rule states that there are only certain colors of the locust family that kosher (red, white, yellow, and grey) and that all other four legged insects are to be avoided by Jews.

What is the highest form of charity in Judaism?

The greatest level of charity in the Jewish tradition is when you support a fellow Jew by finding employment for him, giving him a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him. This is because it allows that Jew to now become self-supporting and is no longer dependent on others.

What does kosher mean?

Kosher does not mean blessed by a Rabbi like so many people think. Kosher means fit for use, according to Jewish tradition. With food, it means eating accordingly to a biblically rooted code that asks that people eat with reverence for all life, and nurture the awareness that there is a connection between what we put in our mouths and how we act in the world.

What is the purpose of Judaism?

Judaism isn't necessarily about being Jewish, it is more importantly about a spiritual connection of being a good person. Adam and Eve, even historically were not Jewish, they were just two people trying to make a good life together.

What is an interesting Jewish fact?

There is actually no single spiritual authority for Jews. All Jews are spiritually equal. Judaism does not designate anyone as more of a leader than another. They truly believe in tradition that no one person is any more Jewish than any of their fellow Jews. Even Rabbis.

What do Jews not believe in?

Jews are not worried about "salvation" in the Christian sense and tradition of the word. Jews do believe that God is the sole judge and that they have no warrant to anticipate his judgement in any way. Their biggest concern is proper conduct in this life so that when they leave for the next life, if there is one, God will be waiting.

What is the Jewish belief about heaven?

For Jews, the after-life in even the most ancient and traditional understandings of Judaism embrace the notion that all those that live ethical lives, no matter which tradition they follow, will be "close to God" in the world to come.

What is a Jews purpose?

For Jews, being part of the "chosen people" is not about being better than anyone. Although Jewish tradition does see the Jews as the chosen people, they do not make any claims about Jews being inherently better than other people. The goal of the religion is to be blessings to the entire human race- to be light to the world.

Do Jews believe in sex for pleasure?

There is an old wives tale about sex through a "hole in the sheet," and this couldn't be more false. Judaism embraces sex not only for procreation but for pleasure as well. It even teaches that human optimum time for making love is on the Sabbath, and says that holiness of the day and great sex are a good match for each other.

How many days are there during the Chanukah celebration?

Chanukah is way more than a holiday looking for gift-giving and the celebration of Jesus' birth. Chanukah relives an ancient fight for religious freedom and celebrates the deep spiritual light that can be found even where we might least expect it. For Jews this was a small flask of oil burning for many more days than anyone thought possible, saving the Jewish people.

What is Rosh Hashanah?

Even though the Jewish calendar does begin again on Rosh Hashanah it is not celebrating the Jewish new year exactly... It is not about things starting again for the Jewsish people, it is about the fact that we all get to start again. It is really celebrating the birthday of the world. Rosh Hashanah celebrates that renewal is possible and that second chances are real.

What does the Torah mean for Jews?

Jews do not believe that the Torah is the supreme authority in matters of faith, belief, and practice. The tradition of the Torah is expressed as a consensus of the Jewish community which is the guide to its meaning. The "supreme authority" in the Jewish faith is the rational collective judgement of humans.

What is/are the most important holiday(s) in Judaism?

Many people think that Chanukah is the most important holiday in Judaism, which is actually not true. More important holidays in the Jewish faith are Rosh Hashanah, Passover, and Shaviot. All of these holidays are mentioned in the Torah whereas Chanukah is a later holiday that was put together by Rabbis to commemorate victory over the Syrian Greeks and the miracle of oil that it burned longer than anyone thought possible.

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