Chag Sameach! Happy Holiday!
The Jewish holiday of Shavuot began last night in Israel with the appearance of three stars in the sky. One of the four major holidays, it is marked here in Israel by the following of Jewish laws and traditions as well as the over-consumption of all types of delicious cheeses (including those in your humble servant’s favorite blintzes).
UPDATES 8 am Israel time, Wednesday, June 4 2014:
**In a disturbing trend, there was another attack on a Border Guard/IDF checkpoint last night. Whereas a gun-wielding Palestinian terrorist had been killed the night before at the Tapuach Junction after shooting a Border Guard, this time a knife-wielding terrorist was subdued at a checkpoint beside Ramallah before he could wound or kill anyone.
**Here’s a picture your humble servant never thought he would see:
It appeared yesterday that, for once, the Jerusalem Police got it right. Apparently determined not to permit Hamas rioting on the Temple Mount on yet another Jewish holiday, the police blocked entrance to the Mount for all Muslims except the elderly, thereby permitting Jews to ascend to the holiest place in Judaism.
Hence the picture above. However, note that the entire scene is being played out under the watchful eye of a employee of the Islamic Wakf (in white on the right margin of the photo).
In honor of the holiday of Shavuot, your humble servant presents the Shavuot trivia quiz today. Good luck, and the answers will be on this blog tomorrow.
1. The festival of Shavuot commemorates:
A. the day that the Israelites left Egypt
B. the day that God gave the Torah to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai
C. the day that the Israelites first entered the Holy Land after 40 years of wandering in the desert
2. The holiday of Shavuot, known in the Torah as the “Feast of Weeks” (Chag ha-Shavuot”) was a harvest festival at which time Jews made a pilgrimmage to Jerusalem to offer agricultural products at the Temple. What “weeks” are referred to by Shavuot?
A. the weeks between Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot
B. the weeks between Shavuot and Rosh Hashana (the New Year)
C. all of the weeks of the year
3. What is the other name of Shavuot that is mentioned in the Torah?
A. Yom ha-Bikkurim (“The Day of First Fruits”)
B. Yom ha-Taanim (“The Day of Figs”)
C. Yom ha-Tapuachim (“The Day of Apples”)
4. According to the Torah, what is the exact date on which Shavuot is to be celebrated?
A. the 5th of Sivan
B. the 6th of Sivan
C. no date is given
5. According to Jewish tradition, what happens exactly at midnight (but only for half a second) on Shavuot?
A. God forgives all sins.
B. Heaven opens.
C. All first born are blessed.
6. What Jewish historical figure was said to have been born and died on Shavuot?
7. The Shavuot that was celebrated on June 15, 1967 has been described as “one of those rare, euphoric moments” in Jewish history. Why?
A. It marked the first Jewish pilgrimmage, en masse, in a Jewish Jerusalem to the Temple Mount on a Jewish holiday in 2000 years.
B. It marked the first Shavuot in Jewish history in which Jews came from around the world to celebrate the holiday.
C. It marked the first Shavuot in which men and women were able to worship together at the Western Wall in 2000 years.
8. One Jewish tradition is that one is supposed to stay up all night studying Torah. Who was the person that started this tradition?
A. Rabbi Hillel
B. Rabbi Luria
C. Rabbi Akiva
9. One Shavuot law is that everyone is required to hear _____ read aloud.
A. the kosher dietary laws
B. the first chapter of Exodus
C. the ten commandments
10. We all stuff our faces with cheese on Shavuot. Why? What is the connection of cheese with the holiday?
A. Jews like cheese–especially blintzes and cheesecake.
B. In Kabbala, the numerical value of the Hebrew word for milk is 40. We eat cheese to remember the 40 days that Moses spent on Mt. Sinai.
C. Another name for Mt. Sinai is “Har Gav’nunim”, the mountain of magnificent peaks. It is etymologically related to the Hebrew word for cheese “gevina”.
11. In monetary terms, how much money do Israelis spend on cheese each year?
A. 750 million shekels
B. 1.5 billion shekels
C. 2.25 billion shekels
12. In terms of preference of cheese type, what % of yellow and white cheese do Israelis consume?
A. 32% yellow and 68% white
B. 44% yellow and 56% white
C. 56% yellow and 44% white
Again, good luck and the answers will appear here tomorrow.