UPDATES 9 am Israel time, Thursday, June 5 2014:
**In yet another worrisome development along the Israeli-Syrian border on the Golan Heights, two high trajectory rockets were fired into Israel for the first time last night near Kibbutz Aloni Bashan. An attempt to shoot down one of the incoming rockets with an Iron Dome interceptor was unsuccessful. Fortunately no one was wounded, but fires were started in the areas of missile impact.
**John Kerry was at his absurd dissembling worst yesterday in Beirut. Following up on the Obama Administration’s unseemly rush to recognize the PLO-Hamas unity government, Kerry claimed that there had been no U.S. recognition at all because “such recognition means the recognition of a Palestinian state.” Nevertheless, he continued, “we will continue to work with the national unity government in Ramallah and follow its policy everyday to make sure it does not cross the line.”
Ah yes, another one of those lines that the Americans are so fond of . . . just like the one in Syria, the one in Iran, the one in Ukraine . . .
**Speaking of chaotic, disjointed American foreign policy, your humble servant wonders what you think, dear reader, of Washington’s rush yesterday to embrace new Egyptian President Al-Sisi. Here is the beginning of the statement of the White House press secretary:
“The United States looks forward to working with Abdelfattah al-Sisi, the winner of Egypt’s presidential election, to advance our strategic partnership and the many interests shared by the United States and Egypt. President Obama, who is currently traveling in Europe, plans to speak with President-elect al-Sisi in the coming days.”
86-year-old Hosni Mubarak, long-time U.S. ally that Barack Obama did not hesitate to throw under the bus, must be doing somersaults in his detention cell right now.
**Whatever good things that your humble servant may have written about the Jerusalem Police and their opening of the Temple Mount to Jews on Tuesday, please take them and toss them in the garbage.
It turns out that the granting of Jewish access to the Mount on Tuesday (which the Jordanians subsequently and ludicrously claimed was “a flagrant violation of international law”) before the Shavuot holiday was merely a ruse leading to the complete closure of the Mount to Jews yesterday on Shavuot.
Today’s blog contains the answers to yesterday’s Shavuot Trivia Quiz. Let’s see how you did:
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
The answer is B.
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
The answer is A. Shavuot occurs 49 days, seven weeks, following the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.
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”)
The answer is A.
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
The answer is C. Because there are two new moons between Passover and Shavuot, the holiday can fall on the 5th or 6th of Sivan.
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.
The answer is B. Tradition has it that heaven momentarily opens and that God will answer any prayer made at that moment.
6. What Jewish historical figure was said to have been born and died on Shavuot?
The answer is C. King David.
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.
The answer is A. Here is a moving account of the event:
From the late hours of the night, thousands of Jerusalem residents streamed toward the Zion gate, eagerly awaiting entry into the Old City. At 4 a.m., the accumulating crowds were finally allowed to enter the area of the Western Wall. As the sun continued to rise, there was a steady flow of thousands who made their way to the Old City.
Every section of the population was represented. Kibbutz members and soldiers rubbing shoulders with Neturei Karta. Mothers came with children in prams, and old men trudged steeply up Mount Zion, supported by youngsters on either side, to see the wall of the Temple before the end of their days.
Some wept, but most faces were wreathed in smiles. For 13 continuous hours, a colorful variety of all peoples trudged along in perfect order, stepping patiently when told to do so at each of six successive barriers set up by the police to regulate the flow.
In total, 200,000 visited the Western Wall that day.”
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
The answer is B. The great Kabbalist, Isaac Luria, lived in Tzfat (Safed) during the 16th century.
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
Obviously, based on the answer to question one, the answer to this question is C.
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”.
This was a trick question; all three answers are correct.
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
Israelis love our cheese. The answer is C.
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
Israelis really love our white cheese though the proportion of yellow cheese has been increasing in recent years. The answer is A.