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People of Judaism Trivia Quizzes

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Many people have played a key role in Judaism over thousands of years, some of them never appearing in the scriptures. From Bar Kokhva to Maimonides to Saadia Gaon, these people span thousands of years of history and created infinite traditions.

Test your knowledge of these Jewish people.

4 quizzes and 40 trivia questions.
  Rambam - The Great Commentator   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Rambam, also called Maimonides in English, was one of the greatest commentators on the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, as well as the Mishnah, the oral Torah. See what you know of this interesting person.
Average, 10 Qns, LeoDaVinci, Jan 31 22
LeoDaVinci editor
Jan 31 22
123 plays
  Shimon Bar Kokhva   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This Jewish hero led the most successful revolt against the Roman empire of all time. Test your knowledge of this religious and military leader (also written as Bar Kochva - Kochba - Kokhvah - Kochbah, as it's translated from Hebrew).
Tough, 10 Qns, LeoDaVinci, Apr 29 17
LeoDaVinci editor
660 plays
  Judah Maccabee   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Test your knowledge of the second leader of the Judean revolt against the Greco-Syrian (Selucid) empire.
Tough, 10 Qns, LeoDaVinci, Sep 10 21
LeoDaVinci editor
Sep 10 21
761 plays
  Rabbis through the Ages    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This quiz tests knowledge on rabbis who have lived from Mishnaic times until today, and on rabbis in general.
Average, 10 Qns, avromf, Jul 14 22
Jul 14 22
1132 plays
trivia question Quick Question
Against which Roman Emperor was this Jewish revolt led?

From Quiz "Shimon Bar Kokhva"

Related Topics
  Old Testament / Tanakh People [Religion] (166 quizzes)

  Religious Figures [Religion] (280 quizzes)

People of Judaism Trivia Questions

1. The Rambam, or, as he is commonly known in English, Maimonides, was a philosopher and scholar. What was his first name, named after the leader of the Jewish people as they were redeemed from slavery in Egypt?

From Quiz
Rambam - The Great Commentator

Answer: Moses

Moses ben Maimon was more commonly referred to as Maimonides in English. In Hebrew, the acronym Rambam stands for Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, essentially meaning the same thing. Similarly, the Arabic version of his name was Abu 'Imran Musa bin Maimun bin 'Ubaidallah al-Qurtabi. This not only implies his lineage, but also gives him a family name. Rambam was a prominent philosopher and scholar, not just in Jewish circles, but in Islamic and Arab circles, with which he was closely acquainted. Well-travelled, he learned from many people and cultures as he became one of the leading thinkers of his time.

2. Bar Kokhva, what does that mean?

From Quiz Shimon Bar Kokhva

Answer: son of a star

"... a star shall shoot out out from Jacob an a scepter from Israel shall smite the corners of Moav and destroy the children of Seth..." Numbers 24:17 That was the psalm that Rabbi Akiva attributed to Simon Bar Cosiba, renaming him Shimon Bar Kokhva, the son of the star. Akiva believed him to be the new Messiah, and he became the charismatic leader of the rebellion, believed to be the deliverer of the Jewish people from the Roman yoke.

3. Which Syrian king did Judah revolt against?

From Quiz Judah Maccabee

Answer: Antiochus IV

Antiochus IV Epiphanes decided to replace the Jewish God with Zeus and made many decrees against the Jewish faith. Many Jews saw this as progress and a way to avoid conflict with the ruling empire, but Mattathias and his sons saw this as an affront.

4. What is a Tanna?

From Quiz Rabbis through the Ages

Answer: Rabbi of the Mishna

The plural is Tannaim.

5. The Rambam was very well travelled in his adulthood. He was born in a city in Andalusia that is known for starting the Spanish Civil War of 1936. What city is this?

From Quiz Rambam - The Great Commentator

Answer: Cordoba

The Rambam was born in 1138 in the Almoravid-controlled city of Córdoba. This was the time of the height of the Golden Age of Jewish culture in the area under the Almoravid Empire who, while they did not give equal rights to non-Muslim inhabitants, came pretty close to what was considered a fair and open citizenship for the Jews and Christians living in the Iberian Peninsula. In fact, the conditions were far better than in the Christian-controlled north, so many Jews came to live in Córdoba. However, this Golden Age was going to be short-lived. The less-accommodating Almohad Caliphate took over the city and made life very difficult for all of the non-Muslims.

6. Against which Roman Emperor was this Jewish revolt led?

From Quiz Shimon Bar Kokhva

Answer: Hadrian

The Jews saw in Hadrian another Antiochus, the Roman Emperor at the time of the rebellion of Judah Maccabee. Hadrian took up rule when Trajan died, and upon his journey to Jerusalem found a ruined city. Hadrian decided to rebuild it, as a pagan city, and to build an altar to Jupiter where the Jewish High Temple stood 60 years previously. The Jews saw this as a direct affront, as Jerusalem had always (and will always be) the most important of Jewish symbols.

7. Where did Mattathias and his sons move to from Jerusalem?

From Quiz Judah Maccabee

Answer: Modi'in

He moved to Modi'in because of the edicts in Jerusalem prohibiting the practice of the Jewish faith. Why Modi'in? Probably because the edicts were less enforced there, at first, and yet still close enough to Jerusalem to visit the Temple.

8. What is an Amora?

From Quiz Rabbis through the Ages

Answer: Rabbi of the Talmud

That is Amoraim in plural. Not all of them lived in Babylonia, quite a few lived in what is now Israel.

9. When the Almohad Caliphate took over the city of Córdoba, the Rambam and his family had to relocate rather than convert to Islam. In which Moroccan city, associated with a type of head-wear, did the Rambam find a home?

From Quiz Rambam - The Great Commentator

Answer: Fez

The Almohad Caliphate took over the city of Córdoba around 1148 CE and the dhimmi laws that protected the non-Muslims were gone overnight. This forced the Christians and the Jews to either choose to convert to Islam or face exile and leave the city. Those who chose to stay and not convert were put to death. Maimon, the family head, chose to move his family all over the south of the Iberian peninsula before making Fez, in Morocco, their home base. It was there that the Rambam wrote his Mishnah (oral Torah) commentary, one that was very definitive and comprehensive.

10. What was the name of the spiritual leader backing Bar Kokhva and the revolt?

From Quiz Shimon Bar Kokhva

Answer: Akiva & Rabbi Akiva & Akivah & Rabbi Akivah & Akiba & Rabbi Akiba

Rabbi Akiva ben Joseph's story is an interesting one: He was the poor illiterate son of a convert to Judaism. He worked as a shepherd for one of the wealthier Jewish landlords in Judea, and fell in love with the landowner's daughter, Rachel. When they decided to marry, the landowner refused to acknowledge the marriage and drove away the newlyweds from his lands. Rachel encouraged Akiva to start to learn basic things, such as reading and writing, at the time he was about 40 years old. Within 24 years, Akiva was to become Rabbi Akiva, one of the more prominent of the Jewish sages, and a man with much influence. It was Akiva's spiritual backing that drove Bar Kokhva to start the rebellion.

11. Judah's surname - Maccabee - means what?

From Quiz Judah Maccabee

Answer: hammer

He received the title of "hammer" for his valor in the field of battle. He was a great military leader, defeating better equipped armies and larger numbers of foes.

12. What does the word Gaon mean (a title applied to some rabbis)?

From Quiz Rabbis through the Ages

Answer: Genius

The term was applied to all rabbinical leaders in the era after the Talmud. It was also applied to others in a later time period who displayed exceptional talents of genius, such as the famous Vilna Gaon.

13. At first, how did Bar Kokhva test the bravery of his soldiers?

From Quiz Shimon Bar Kokhva

Answer: Dared them to bite off a finger

Bar Kokhva wanted to ensure that his soldiers were both doughty and brave, and dared them to bite off (some sources say cut off) a finger from their hand. Those who did, were accepted into the army. Bar Kokhva amazingly recruited 200,000 soldiers this way. The sages got mad that Bar Kokhva was crippling the soldiers and forced him to think of a better way to test the soldiers. New recruits now had to uproot a Lebanon cedar sapling while on horseback, by riding into it with their arm outstreched. Those of you who don't know, a Lebanon cedar is one of the strongest trees there is. Nevertheless, another 200,000 soldiers were recruited this way. In addition to the soldiers that were already in the army, Bar Kokhva had upwards of half a million soldiers.

14. Which famous rabbi was a contemporary of Shamai, the Tanna?

From Quiz Rabbis through the Ages

Answer: Rabbi Hillel

Hillel was famous for his infinite patience. Both of them started schools of students called 'Beis Shamai' and 'Beis Hillel'.

15. The pinnacle of the Rambam's commentary came in a unassailable text called the "Mishneh Torah" meaning the "Secondary Torah". A very powerful book, it was also called "Sefer Yad ha-Hazaka". This means "Book of the _____ Hand".

From Quiz Rambam - The Great Commentator

Answer: Strong

The "Mishneh Torah" is often considered to be the Rambam's 'magnum opus'. It is a monumental piece of work that was composed around 1175 CE. It has commentary not only on the Tanakh, but the Mishna (oral Torah) as well, and is clear and concise but very deep in its knowledge. Its alternate name, "Book of the Strong Hand", is often thought to refer to the word for hand - 'yad' which in Hebrew is composed of two letters, yod and daled. In Hebrew numeracy, they add up to 14, which is the number of books the whole composition is broken up into. Amongst Biblical scholars, this is one of the most-cited works, and one of the most researched commentaries.

16. What was the name of the appointed governor of Judea that the Jews objected to?

From Quiz Shimon Bar Kokhva

Answer: Tinneius Rufus

Julius Severus was the Roman general dispatched from the wars in Britain to quell the uprising and to take back Judea, and Hadrianus Quintus Lollius Urbicus was the governor of Germania sent with Severus to Judea. Publus Marcellus was the governor of Syria who along with the Judean governor Tinneius Rufus was not able to take care of the rebellion. Tinneius Rufus was appointed by Hadrian, mainly because he had a reputation as a strict and harsh leader. It was Rufus who enforced the edicts against Torah study and circumcision. Rufus also took advantage of many Jewish women, and the rage of the Jews was directed against him specifically.

17. With which empire did Judah forge an alliance against the Selucids?

From Quiz Judah Maccabee

Answer: Romans

This was unprecedented. Rome was coming into power and the Selucids were losing it, and Judah capitalized on this, hoping that the Romans would be more tolerant of Judaism. Little did he know that 250 years later there would be an even greater Jewish revolt against Roman rule...

18. Where was Vilna Gaon from?

From Quiz Rabbis through the Ages

Answer: Vilna

I hope you didn't get this one wrong! Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna (also known as Vilnius, and the capital of Lithuania) was the greatest rabbi of his era (18th century). Extra obscure bit of trivia - the Vilna Gaon's last name was 'Kramer'.

19. What was the fate of Bar Kokhva?

From Quiz Shimon Bar Kokhva

Answer: he was found strangled by a snake

After the final battle of Betar, Bar Kokhva was found strangled by a snake, as it was said that he could not be killed by a man. His head was brought to the Roman General Severus, although the Romans wanted him alive to make an example out of him. Nevertheless, the Romans gathered ten of the Jew's more prominent sages (Rabbi Akiva amongst them) and had them tortured and were executed by Rufus personally. Rabbi Akiva and the others faced this torture rather than giving up their religion believing that there are fates worse than death, not necessarily in this world.

20. How long did Judah command the rebels?

From Quiz Judah Maccabee

Answer: 3 years

Mattathias died in 165 B.C. Judah's untimely death in 162 B.C. gave him just a three year reign, during which he accomplished great things, most importantly the release and cleansing of Jerusalem.

21. Which rabbi wrote the Shulchan Aruch?

From Quiz Rabbis through the Ages

Answer: Rabbi Yosef Caro

The Shulchan Aruch is *the* book (four sections) on Halacha. Glosses (minor additions) were written by the Rema, Rabbi Moshe Isserles of Crakow. Rabbi Yosef Caro was born in Spain and moved to Tzefat, Israel in the 16th century.

22. The Rambam had a younger brother, David, who passed away before his time. Perhaps trying to emulate Marco Polo, how did David ben Maimon pass away?

From Quiz Rambam - The Great Commentator

Answer: Drowned in the Indian Sea

David ben Maimon was the youngest brother of the Rambam. He fancied himself a trader, and the Rambam supported him financially and spiritually, also having been his teacher and mentor in the ways of the religion. On a journey to Sudan to seek out goods, David ben Maimon sought better offerings after he inspected the wares in the port of 'Aydhab. Instead of waiting, David ben Maimon boarded a ship bound for India in the hopes of bringing back something more exotic. The ship went down along the way and David ben Maimon drowned. The loss of his brother affected the Rambam greatly. By his own account, he was in a state of depression for a year after hearing the news and was still moved even eight years after the incident. The Rambam also lost a significant part of his wealth and his family's, and David also left behind his widow and a daughter that needed to be cared for.

23. How many children did Judah Maccabee have?

From Quiz Judah Maccabee

Answer: 0

Judah didn't have any children and his younger brother Jonathan took over from him. Descendants of Judah's brother Shimon became the Hasmonean dynasty. Judah never even had the time to take a wife, as he was busy with the revolt, and could not settle down.

24. Who wrote 'The Guide to the Perplexed' (Moreh Nevuchim)?

From Quiz Rabbis through the Ages

Answer: Maimonides

Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, known in hebrew by the acronym 'Rambam' was one of the greatest rabbis of his day. He was also well known as a physician.

25. Where was the last battle of the revolt fought?

From Quiz Shimon Bar Kokhva

Answer: Betar

Betar was a heavily fortified main city on a mountain ridge that housed over 400 synagogues, the Jewish High Courts (Sanhedrin) and the President (Nasi). It guarded on one side the main road from Jerusalem to Beit Guvrin, and on the other side the entire Sorek Valley. It had high walls and housed the bulk of Bar Kokhva's army. Julius Severus laid siege to the city with what remained of his still formidable army, and even though it was summer and the land was scorchingly hot, the defenders remained firm. It was said that the city was supplied from subterranean secret tunnels, and the defenders had great faith, and prayed every night and day for the safety of the city. One day a Samaritan snuck into the city and pretended to whisper into Rabbi Elazar HaModa'i's ear. The soldiers were suspicious and arrested the Samaritan, but the Samaritan refused to speak, and was eventually put to death. When Rabbi Elazar was questioned, he (rightly) had no idea what the soldiers were talking about. Bar Kokhva was so enraged that he kicked over the Rabbi, and in the Rabbi's weakened state he died. The defenders were broken, because a prophesy foretold that as long as Rabbi Elazar lived and prayed for the safety of the city, the city wouldn't fall. A few days after Rabbi Elazar's death, on the 9th of Av, the anniversary of the destruction of both the First and Second Temples, the Roman army entered Betar. Sources show that a Samaritan traitor showed the Romans a secret way into the city, and in the Jews' degraded mental and physical state, it was no contest. The Jews were also demoralized by the death of Rabbi Elazar. The battle was bloody and vicious, but in the end the Romans prevailed. Over half a million bodies were left dead on the battlefield, but the Romans denied the Jews the right to bury their dead for six days. In the battle, Bar Kokhva was caught, as were the sages of the Jews. The revolt was essentially over, except for a few small skirmishes in the Judean desert, and most of the Jewish males were put to death or sold into slavery. Thus ended the Bar Kokhva revolt. The fate of Bar Kokhva is uncertain, but it was said that no man could kill him, so God sent a snake into his cell, and thus he died. Rabbi Akiva was tortured and publicly executed, along with nine of the main sages, and they were ever known as the ten martyrs.

26. Where was Judah Maccabee killed?

From Quiz Judah Maccabee

Answer: Elasa

After Judah's great loss in Beit Zechariah, he went on to fight a losing battle north of Elasa, where he was mortally wounded on the field of battle. He was buried next to his father in Modi'in.

27. Where did Rashi live?

From Quiz Rabbis through the Ages

Answer: France

Rashi (acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki) lived in 11th-century Troyes, France. He was the greatest commentator on the Torah and the Talmud.

28. When the Rambam commented on the Mishna (oral Torah), he wrote down what he believed were principles of faith. Reminding us of the age that Jewish boys go through a Bar Mitzvah, or the number of attributes of God, how many of them did he write down?

From Quiz Rambam - The Great Commentator

Answer: Thirteen

The Rambam created what he believed were "the fundamental truths of our religion and its very foundations." These were written down pretty early on in the philosophical musings of the Rambam, however, he did not write them down in his later tractates, so historians wonder whether he recanted from them or expected that they were so profound, he did not need to repeat them. In any case, they create the basis for absolute belief (in Judaism). They are, according to 1. Belief in the existence of the Creator, who is perfect in every manner of existence and is the Primary Cause of all that exists. 2. The belief in God's absolute and unparalleled unity. 3. The belief in God's non-corporeality, nor that He will be affected by any physical occurrences, such as movement, or rest, or dwelling. 4. The belief in God's eternity. 5. The imperative to worship God exclusively and no foreign false gods. 6. The belief that God communicates with man through prophecy. 7. The belief in the primacy of the prophecy of Moses our teacher. 8. The belief in the divine origin of the Torah. 9. The belief in the immutability of the Torah. 10. The belief in God's omniscience and providence. 11. The belief in divine reward and retribution. 12. The belief in the arrival of the Messiah and the messianic era. 13. The belief in the resurrection of the dead.

29. What Jewish holiday commemorates the bravery of the Jewish rebels against the Romans?

From Quiz Shimon Bar Kokhva

Answer: Lag (33) BaOmer

Lag BaOmer is celebrated on the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer (piles of wheat). On that day you light bonfires, for two reasons. In the days of Bar Kokhva, when someone died, Rabbi Akiva said that his spirit was released into heaven, and so you must celebrate his death. So bonfires were lit whenever a warrior died. Also, when the Jewish scouts saw the Roman army advancing, they would light bonfires on mountain-tops to warn the command post of this, far ahead of the Romans' arrival.

30. What Jewish holiday commemorates the Judean revolt?

From Quiz Judah Maccabee

Answer: Channukah

The festival of lights remembers the cleansing of the Temple by Judah Maccabee and his followers and the miracle of the little jar of oil. There was only a little jar of kosher oil left to light the Jewish Menorah (lamp), and people were sent to make more oil, but the process took 8 days. Miraculously the little jar lasted for all 8 days, and with each day it was said that the Temple grew brighter.

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