FREE! Click here to Join FunTrivia. Thousands of games, quizzes, and lots more!
Trivia Questions and Answers
photo of Judaism

570 Judaism Trivia Questions, Answers, and Fun Facts

How much do you know about Judaism? This category is for trivia questions and answers related to Judaism (Religion). Each one is filled with fun facts and interesting information.
Related Questions & Answers:   Christianity    World Religions    Hinduism    Islam    Latter Day Saints    Paganism   
1 It was common for rabbis to use an abbreviated form of their name. What was Maimonides' real name?
Answer: Moshe ben-Maimon

It means: Moses son of Maimon, he is also known as "Rambam" (ra=rabbi/m=moshe/ ba=ben/m=maimon). Born in 12th century Spain, the Jewish community, who before had been well-regarded, was beginning to feel the pressures of the Roman Catholic church. Tensions between the growing Catholic presence and Spanish Muslims were rising, and the Jews there were placed somewhere in the middle. In nearby France at this time, the first inquisition had just begun. Many rabbis of middle-age Europe used abbreviated forms of their name to distinguish themselves from others of the same name and also to protect their identity.
  From Quiz: Figures of Kabbalah: Maimonides
2 Kabbalah, the word itself, is of Hebrew origin, meaning to:
Answer: receive

Kabbalah is Hebrew, meaning: "to receive." This refers mainly to the reception of holy revelation, the main focus of Kabbalists. For an ernest follower, revelation is often preceded by extensive fasting, prayer, meditation and study.
    Your options: [ receive ] [ search ] [ transcend ] [ enlighten ]
  From Quiz: Kabbalah: an Entry-level Quiz
3 Starting at the beginning, what does Cohen mean?
Answer: Priest

Cohen means priest, and originally the priesthood was strictly inherited in this way. Nowadays any Jew can qualify as a rabbi but Cohanim (the plural) still have certain unique privileges and duties within the religion overall.
  From Quiz: The Cohen Quiz
4 The English term "messiah" comes from the Hebrew word, "mashiach". What is the literal meaning of this word?
Answer: Anointed one

The word "mashiach", which is translated into English as "messiah", comes from the Hebrew root that means to "anoint". It was the practice in Biblical times to anoint the heads of kings with oil. The same Hebrew root which forms the word "messiah" - so full of mysticism and faith - forms more banal words such as "tooth paste" and "shoe polish" in modern Hebrew.
  From Quiz: The Jewish Messiah
5 What is the Hebrew word for "commandment"?
Answer: mitzvah

The word "mitzvah" means "commandment", thus a "bat mitzvah" is a "daughter of a commandment", and a "bar mitzvah" is a "son of a commandment". The word "mitzvah" is often used to mean a "good deed". For instance, one could suggest to one's child, "Why don't you do a mitzvah and give your grandmother a call?". In Orthodox Jewish circles, it is common to thank a person for his assistance by saying "Tizkeh le mitzvot", which means "you should merit doing good deeds". The wrong answers: "hakalah" means "to ease, or lighten", in other words, to be less stringent about a ritual, while "chumrah" means just the opposite. "Gader" means "fence". This refers to the concept of "building a fence around the Torah" - in other words, not cutting a ritual so close that one might inadvertently trespass on a commandment.
  From Quiz: Commandments and Jewish Tradition
6 For the first question, I will ask some basic knowledge that every Jew should know. What is the most commonly used name in Judaism for God?
Answer: Hashem

Hashem comes from the Hebrew word "HaShaim", meaning, "the name". We do not normally refer to God by his actual name unless in prayer, because it is so holy. There are many different names forGod, all relating to different traits. Hashem is the name we use when referring to God indirectly, to preserve the holiness of His name.
  From Quiz: Do You Know Judaism?
7 The founder of Hasidic Judaism was Polish Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer. He was commonly known as the "Ba'al Shem Tov" or by the acronym "Besht." What does "Ba'al Shem Tov" mean in English?
Answer: Master of the Good Name

The Besht was known as a healer and as someone who could predict the future. As such, there are many legends surrounding him. It was said of these legends, "Someone who believes in all the stories of the Baal Shem Tov and the other mystics and holy men is a fool; someone who doesn't believe them is a heretic."
  From Quiz: The Hasidim
8 The Mishna is the compilation of teachings of prominent rabbis from the Roman period. Who compiled it?
Answer: Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi

The Mishna is comprised of six books, or sedarim: Zeraim, dealing with the laws of food and agriculture, Moed, dealing with the laws of holidays, Nashim, which deals with relationships between men and women, Nezikin, dealing with the laws of money and property, Kedoshim, which deals with the laws of the Temple and its vessels, and Tehorot, which deals with the laws of ritual purity and impurity. Each of these sedarim are further divided into tractates. There are over thirty tractates in all.
  From Quiz: Judaism 1: Personalities
9 In how many days, according to the Torah, did God create the world?
Answer: 6 days

The Torah says in Genesis 2:1, "And God stopped working in the sixth day of His creation, and He rested in the seventh day from all the work of creation." Many celebrate this day, which is also known as the Sabbath or Shabat, by resting, in a similar manner to God.

The Spanish word for Saturday is "sábado," which means Shabbat, yet the day of rest is celebrated on Sunday, a precaution made by the Spanish who did not want Jews to practice the Sabbath privately.
  From Quiz: Judaism and Jewish People
10 In 1984, members of this Jewish community were airlifted to Israel in a secret mission known as "Operation Moses". Which African country was their home?
Answer: Ethiopia

Due to famine in Ethiopia, large numbers of this community made their way to Sudan, from where they were airlifted by the Israeli Air Force to Israel. According to legend, the Ethiopian Jews are descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
    Your options: [ Sudan ] [ Libya ] [ Egypt ] [ Ethiopia ]
  From Quiz: Exotic Jewish Communities
11 How do most Jewish people respectfully spell the name "GOD" when writing?
Answer: G-d

By choosing to replace the "o" with a hyphen, most Jews feel it is a way to avoid the risk of the sin of erasing or defacing the Name, and G-D's name should NEVER be used in vain.
  From Quiz: Judaism For Beginners
12 What is the Yiddish name for the skullcap that religious Jewish males wear?
Answer: Yarmulke

Kipa is the Hebrew word for it. A Shtreimel and spodek are two kinds of fur 'hats' that various chasidim wear.
  From Quiz: More Judaism Mixture
13 The Western Wall was a part of which Temple area?
Answer: Second Temple

It was built as a retaining wall for the Second Temple by King Herod.
    Your options: [ It wasn't. It was part of the city wall. ] [ First Temple ] [ Second Temple ] [ Third Temple ]
  From Quiz: Judaism Mixture
14 The focus of Kabbalah is Biblical study and interpretation, but one section of the Jewish Bible (Tanakh) is focused upon more-so than others. What is it called?
Answer: The Torah

The Torah, or the first five books of the Old Testament (Tanakh), are focused upon more-so, because it is believed to be authored by Moses, held by Kabbalists as the most significant prophet of G-D. The Torah also provides many hidden answers to those who seek deep enough.
  From Quiz: Kabbalah: an Entry-level Quiz
15 Who was the original Cohen?
Answer: Aaron

The first appointed priest was Aaron, the brother of Moses (Exodus 28-29). His descendants have gone on to become Cohanim in each generation since. However, the status has been described as one of service rather than one of authority.
  From Quiz: The Cohen Quiz
16 According to Jewish belief, how many commandments are found in the Torah?
Answer: 613

Most people are familiar with the Ten Commandments which Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai, but the Torah actually contains 613 commandments. According to Jewish tradition, a pomegranate contains 613 seeds - therefore we pray on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), that our good deeds may be "as numerous as the seeds of the pomegranate".
  From Quiz: Commandments and Jewish Tradition
17 What was the name of the European Jews who opposed the rise and spread of Hasidism, literally meaning "opponents" in Hebrew ?
Answer: Mitnagdim

Early in Hasidism's history, a rift arose between Hasidic and non-Hasidic Jews. The opponents of Hasidim criticized it for many things including: its belief in miracle-working, its devotion to its leaders, and its belief that God permeates all physical objects in nature, among other things.
  From Quiz: The Hasidim
18 When would the blessing, "Blessed are You ... who remembers the covenant, and keeps His promise faithfully" be recited?
Answer: On seeing a rainbow

The rainbow is a reminder that the Almighty will not destroy the earth by flood again. In the story of Noah from the book of Genesis, we are told "I have set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between the Lord and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth". (Genesis IX, verses 12 and 16.) This blessing is recited in remembrance of His promise.
  From Quiz: Jewish Blessings
19 Who were the three forefathers?
Answer: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob

In the Amidah prayer, many orthodox and traditional Jews recite the prayer with just the Avot (fathers): Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

In Egalitarian synagogues all the Emahot (mothers) and the Avot are said. The Avot consist of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, while the Emahot consist of Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah.

Many wonder why Joseph is not included in the prayer, and that is due to Joseph humbly excluding himself from the blessing of the people in the Torah.
  From Quiz: Judaism and Jewish People
20 The Bnai Menashe claim they are descended from the biblical tribe of Menashe. Where are they from?
Answer: The states of Manipur and Mizoram in India

The Bnai Menashe were not immediately recognized as Jews by the established Jewish community. In 2005 mikvehs, or ritual baths, were built in each province, and the members of the community were formally converted. In the same year Rabbi Amar, the chief Sephardic rabbi of Israel, recognized them as Jews, and many have since made their way to Israel.
  From Quiz: Exotic Jewish Communities
21 What is the most sacred of all Jewish holidays to the Jewish people?
Answer: Yom Kippur

According to Judaism, the Sabbath is the most sacred day to the Jewish people; it is considered the seventh day of the week, and acts as a constant reminder to observant Jews of G-d's rest after his creation of the earth. We learn about this, and are reminded by this as we congregate in Synagogue to listen to the Torah being read, as it is read aloud on every Sabbath; the scripture prohibits us from engaging in any kind of work on this special day such as driving, working and cooking; it's a day of rest.

Yom Kippur is the holiest of the holidays, and on that day Jews atone for their sins of the past year by fasting, prayer and not partaking in everyday activities. In the streets of Israel, all is silent, and you can find many Jews in their local synagogues.
  From Quiz: Judaism For Beginners
22 In the most famous Golem tale, how does Rabbi Loew animate the Golem?
Answer: Magical use of language

Most stories and religious works concur that language in some form is the driving force in animating the Golem, be it special combinations of words, writing on parchment embedded in the Golem, or prayerful and meditative reading of the Cabala. (Note that I'm using the Library of Congress spelling here--send correction notices to them, not to me:) In the text Wisniewski uses, Rabbi Loew whispers a name in the Golem's ear, and the Golem comes to life.

Incidentally, in some stories the Golem is created in order to defend the Jews against false accusations of blood sacrifice of Gentile children. These accusations, known as the "blood libel", figured largely in antisemitism for centuries, and false rumors of this sort are still circulated among the ignorant today.
  From Quiz: The Golem
23 Who started Chasidus (Hasidism)?
Answer: Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov

He was called the 'Baal Shem Tov' (or Besht in its acronym form) which means 'Master of the Good Name'.
  From Quiz: More Judaism Mixture
24 What is the Hebrew word for Jews who came from Central European lands?
Answer: Ashkenazim

Ashkenaz is an old Hebrew word referring to Germany (modern Hebrew: Germania). Ashkenazim now comprise about 80 percent of world Jewry.
  From Quiz: Judaism Mixture
25 In what direction is Hebrew read?
Answer: right to left

Hebrew is read from right to left. Many Jewish prayer books have Hebrew on the right leaf, and a transliteration in another language on the left leaf.
  From Quiz: Judaism for Gentiles
26 Which relative can pass on the Cohen line to the current generation?
Answer: Paternal grandfather

Although Judaism itself comes through the mother (which has not always been the case), the Cohen line comes through the father as it is tribal. Therefore only the father's father's status can determine the child's. It doesn't help me as although my lineage has twice as much of the gene as some Cohanim, it came through both my grandmothers.
    Your options: [ Any grandparent ] [ Maternal grandmother ] [ Paternal grandfather ] [ Either parent ]
  From Quiz: The Cohen Quiz
27 The Thirteen Principles of Faith are the basic beliefs of Jewish belief. Who wrote them?
Answer: Rambam

Rambam stands for Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon. He is commonly called Maimonides. He lived in Spain in the 1100s (at the time under Muslim rule) and is considered one of the ten greatest Torah scholars of all time.
  From Quiz: Judaism 1: Personalities
28 What prophet's name is recited during the Pesach (Passover) Seder and after Havdallah?
Answer: Elijah

Elijah the prophet has a very interesting story. After many perils, he ascended from life in a "pillar of fire." His name is mentioned in Eliyahu Hanavi, after Havdallah, and during the Pesach Seder we sing the same song and open the door for him. We also have Elijah's cup of wine on the table. Elijah also has a special place in the 'brit milah', the circumcision of all male Jews.
  From Quiz: Judaism and Jewish People
29 The Jews of Cochin, Kerala, India, have a unique tradition. What is it?
Answer: Women's choirs perform in the synagogue

The women of the Cochin community perform songs in Judeo-Malayam in the synagogues. The songs are written down in notebooks by the women. Out of concern that this tradition might disappear, the Hebrew University has undertaken to record and preserve this special music. The wrong answers are all nonsensical!
  From Quiz: Exotic Jewish Communities
30 What does the holiday of Chanukah/Hanukkah symbolize?
Answer: Festival of lights

According to Jewish history, there was very little oil left that had not been ruined by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was then declared to commemorate this miracle. The holiday simply commemorates the miracle of the oil and not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.
  From Quiz: Judaism For Beginners
31 In which country did Reform Judaism originate?
Answer: Germany

In the 19th century, the Reform movement began in Germany as a response to modernity in tension with traditional Judaism.
    Your options: [ United States ] [ Germany ] [ Israel ] [ England ]
  From Quiz: The Jewish Community
32 How many Jewish holidays or fast-days in total are there in the Hebrew month of Tishrei (in Israel)?
Answer: 12

They are Rosh Hashana (two days), Tzom Gedaliah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot (seven days), Simchat Torah and Shmini Atezret. Outside Israel, Simchat Torah and Shmini Atezret are on separate days while in Israel, they are on the same day, giving twelve different days for the celebration of the six feasts.
  From Quiz: Judaism Mixture
33 Most of the Jewish scriptures are originally in Hebrew, but the Books of Daniel and Ezra are originally in another Language. What is it?
Answer: Aramaic

Aramaic was the language of first century Judah, and had been the language of Jews for some time by that point. It is a Semitic language, in the same family as Hebrew.
  From Quiz: Judaism for Gentiles
34 In "The Guide for the Perplexed" Maimonides wrote that man was created in the likeness of God not concerning men's physical bodies, but concerning God's Divine Intellect, of which man possesses a lower form, known as what?
Answer: Intellectual Perception

He taught against any notion that God contained any physical, or corporeal, form. He said man was created in God's likeness in terms of intellectual perception, which does not require the use of corporeal organs.

Kabbalists today believe that God can be and is both. More importantly, attributing defining qualities to God (he is a hundred feet tall, or he has no body) can lead to heresy, as one should relinquish all notions of who or what God is, as God is infinite and therefore cannot be quantified.
    Your options: [ Corporeal Form ] [ nothing; man does not possess anything similar ] [ Image and Shape ] [ Intellectual Perception ]
  From Quiz: Figures of Kabbalah: Maimonides
35 Which famous rabbi, along with his son, lived in hiding inside a cave for thirteen years, and left the cave only after being visited by Elijah the prophet?
Answer: Shimon bar Yochai

Also spelled by some: Yohai. He and and his loyal pupils, known as "the Companions" are believed to be the principle authors of the Zohar. (Though some present day secular researchers hold that the famous rabbis are but covers for medieval authors.) Shimon and his son, El'azar were hiding from the Roman government, who, at the time, ruled all Judea with an iron fist, and had recently destroyed the 2nd Temple.
    Your options: [ Shimon bar Yochai ] [ Hillel ] [ Jesus of Nazareth ] [ Amram Gaon ]
  From Quiz: Kabbalah: an Entry-level Quiz
36 There are a number of commandments in the Torah that pertain specifically to Jews living in Israel. With what aspect of life are these commandments concerned?
Answer: Agriculture

In Jewish belief, the Holy Land is precisely that, holy land, and it sanctified in a number of ways. Every seven years a sabbatical year, called "shmitta" in Hebrew, is observed, and Jews in Israel are commanded not to work the land. This practice is still observed, in varying degrees, in modern Israel. During Biblical times, a portion of all produce was set aside for the Cohanim who served in the Temple. Although the Temple no longer exists, observant Jews in Israel still tithe all local fruits and vegetables. And here's a fun fact for you: in Jerusalem, the tithed fruits and vegetables are sent to the animals in the Jerusalem zoo. As a result, the animals are exceptionally healthy. The elephants, for example, are more fertile than elephants in any other zoo in the world!
  From Quiz: Commandments and Jewish Tradition
37 Hasidism claims to prepare the world for the coming of the Jewish Messiah (Moshiach) through the spread of its four main goals. What are these four goals?
Answer: Revival, piety, refinement, demystification

A story says that in a dream, the Besht asked the Messiah when he was going to come to Earth. The Messiah responded that "when the wellsprings of your teachings, which I have taught you, will be spread out."
  From Quiz: The Hasidim
38 The word "bench" is a Yiddish word meaning "to bless", that originated from the Latin via Old French. When a Jew says "Let's bench!", what blessing is he suggesting be recited?
Answer: Grace after meals

There are, indeed, a number of blessings over foods. However, "benching" always refers to the Grace after Meals (birkat hamazon). The Grace after Meals is recited after a meal that began by breaking bread, and it is actually a series of several blessings. These blessings differ depending on whether it is a weekday, a Sabbath or a holiday, and whether one is eating at one's own table, at one's parents, or a guest. There are further additions if the meal is a wedding or circumcision feast. It has become customary to print small pamphlets containing the Grace after Meals to give as favors at bar and bat mitzvahs and weddings - the name of the celebrant and the date of the happy occasion are printed on the cover.
  From Quiz: Jewish Blessings
39 What type of religion is Judaism?
Answer: Monotheism

Judaism is a Monotheistic religion, which means that we only believe in one god. Judaism is considered the first or one of the first Monotheistic religions. The word stems from two roots of "Mono" meaning one and "Theism" meaning belief in god.
  From Quiz: Judaism and Jewish People
40 A 1721 treaty between a Christian and a Muslim country guaranteed the right of Jews to live in this unique location. Which is it?
Answer: Gibraltar

The Gibraltar Jewish community, though small and rather isolated, has maintained Jewish tradition and supports many Jewish institutions. Manfred R. Lehmann, in his website, describes the Gibraltar Jewish community as "the most charming outside of Israel". The treaty that permitted the original Jewish settlement in Gibraltar was between Morocco and England.
    Your options: [ Malta ] [ Corfu ] [ Jersey ] [ Gibraltar ]
  From Quiz: Exotic Jewish Communities
The rest of the questions and answers can be found in our quizzes here:
Judaism Quizzes