The Passover Quiz 2014

Ready for a challenge? Take this fun (and funny) Passover quiz created annually by Murray Berkowitz.

by Murray J. Berkowitz

This is the 33nd year of this acclaimed quiz. The first Golden Shmura Matzah was awarded in 1982

There is one correct answer to each question (I think). The person with the most correct answers wins the
Golden Shmura Matzah Award. (See answer key at bottom.)

In case of tie, the winner will be decided by the following tie-breaker: According to some, where is the most proper place to hide the afikoman? (hint: It has the same numerical value as nafshi, meaning ‘my soul’)

1. Why do we lift our cups while reciting Ve’hesheamedah?
a. This paragraph highlights the constant protection G-d has afforded us through the ages. Thus, in the spirit of the verse, “I will lift up the cup of salvations (Psalms 116:13),” we raise our cups.
b. To commemorate another six syllable word that Alec Baldwin scored in ‘Words with Friends’ while he was made to rise as he was booted off a plane with cup of wine held high in his hand.
c. Taking advice from Daft Punk in “Get Lucky,” we rap the lyrics, “We’ve come too far to give up who we are. So let’s raise the bar and our cups to the stars”. We’re lucky to be free to celebrate Pesah.
d. Aruch HaShulhan agrees with the answer in “a.” and further states that wine is the primary medium for the celebration of great joy. (Though he was known to always drink out of a large goblet.)
e. Two of the above.

2. What is Seharane?
a. It is a term used to describe a condition which results from seeing Miley Cyrus, sans clothing, swinging and singing on a wrecking ball. It is a combination of the shilshul and a migraine.
b. The only term Paula Deen didn’t use to refer to middle aged African-Americans who she liked to cast as slaves. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. The eleventh plague.
c. An item of clothing that I bought with my bitcoin. At last, I am virtually well dressed.
d. The noise drones make when they pass overhead and violate our personal privacy.
e. The annual Kurdish festival, a celebration of spring, originally held on hol hamoed Pesach. In 1975 the leader of the community moved it to Sukkot because he felt it would be swallowed up by Mimouna. In this spirit, maybe Obama could move healthcare registration back.(Oh, he did, you say)

3. Why, according to the commentators, were there exactly ten plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians?
a. It was related to the fact that it took ten medications to treat the plague of pink eye for Bob Costas at the Olympics. He would have scored a perfect ten in announcing but he couldn’t see the teleprompter.
b. Because they were a precursor of Mayor Rob Ford blurting out ten expletives in less than ten seconds while high on ten different substances. In the next election will he get ten votes?
c. The Heavenly echelons of the Kabbalistic system consist of ten spheres. (Demi will need help from all ten now that she has lost Ashton and Rabbi Berg)
d. The world was created with ten utterances. When G-d speaks….
e. There were ten generations between Noah and Abraham.(Generations X)
f. c., d. and e.

4. The Egyptians had no warnings before plagues #3, #6 and #9. What is the significance of these numbers?
a. Normally when people do wrong you give them two warnings and then impose a penalty without a warning for the third infraction. (The wimpy MLB gave Alex Rodriguez too many warnings.)
b. If you combine the first two numbers you reveal the three dozen celebrity lovers that Lindsay Lohan has ‘entertained’. The third number is her IQ when she is drinking. She is beyond warnings.
c. Ramban stated the warnings were only given for plagues that had potentially fatal consequences (maybe Mel Gibson will succumb in a future “Lethal Weapon” #6–please don’t warn him).
d. Udo’s Choice Oil Blend is a carefully blended mix of the finest Omega 3, 6 and 9. If the Israelites took these regularly they would have little need for warnings from plagues or any other health threat.
e. In the album Sun from Cat Power Radio, the refrain from track #4 is, “3,6,9 you drink wine, monkey on your back you feel just fine” -which warns you about drinking four cups at the Seder and simians.
f. Two of the above.

5. If you forgot to recline while drinking the second cup of wine, you should…
a. Drink a replacement cup while reclining.
b. Drink till you can’t possibly sit up straight.
c. Pretend a piece of maror fell into your glass and claim you didn’t have to recline because you were eating maror—aka—as the bitter half-truth.
d. Quickly change the inclination of the table so that, although you’re sitting up straight, you appear to be leaning relative to the table. Thus the genesis of the Exodus expression, “turning the tables.”

6. At a Seder in Detroit, ie. Motown, what does a “new song” in the Hallel refer to?

a. Actually it is “the same old song but with a different meaning since you’ve been gone,” which is sung by the Four Tops, who fit right in with the Passover theme of four. The ‘different meaning’ (which I always thought was a ‘different beat’) is that now we are ‘gone’ and left Egypt meaning we are free.

b. It is the song sung by Moses and the Israelites after the miraculous drowning of the Egyptians at the Red Sea. Celebrated by the Miracles in their song, “I second that (d)emotion”.

c. The song “Heaven must have sent you” by Bonnie Pointer and the Elgins. This is for the divine intervention that save the Jews while the Elgins kept ‘watch’ over the Exodus.
d. When the Israelites reached the Red Sea they at first began to sing, “Nowhere to Run” by Martha and the Vandellas. But they sang a new song as the sea parted, “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” by Brenda Holloway and they walked through dryshod.

7. Though Moses, the hero of the Exodus, is barely mentioned in the Haggadah, he is featured in many illustrated Haggadot. In which of the following do we find Moses?
a. The Sarajevo Haggadah, circa 1350 CE, which depicts Moses at the burning bush. (He is cool under fire.)
b. In the Golden Haggadah, where Pharaoh watches Aaron causing the plague of blood and Moses points to the dead fish in the river. (The pointer brother.)
c. In the NRA Haggadah, Moses is featured as a gaunt George Zimmerman who confronts Pharoah with a concealed weapon while his battered girlfriend looks on and denies everything.
d. In the “Passover Pop-Up Book”, you can move tabs to raise Moses’s rod and then split the sea in very life-like simulations. If the tab is stuck for more than four hours seek immediate medical treatment.
e. All but one of the above.

8. In Genesis (19:3) when two messengers visited Lot, “He prepared a meal for them and baked unleavened bread and they ate.” Rashi explains, “It was Pesah.” Since this was chronologically prior to the Exodus, what could be an explanation for Rashi’s statement?
a. Lot, like the Israelites, went into a place and dwelled there and became part of the society. But when push came to shove, he was an outsider and had to leave, like the Jews, and get away from an evil society. Therefore, combine his similar situation with unleavened bread and you have a Pesah-type experience.
b. Because of Lot’s wife’s demise the first ‘kosher for Pesah’ salt was available for use. Even in the eleventh century Rashi realized the marketing potential with a biblical theme. (Holy Land Experience)
c. Rashi figured if anyone served matzah to guests by choice there must be a really good reason. The only explanation he could come up with is that Lot must be in a time warp and thought it was Passover.
d. Rashi was French. “c’est la vie”

9. Pesah is later this year on the secular calendar because it’s leap year on the Jewish calendar. When the Sanhedrin presided in Jerusalem and there was no set leap year, how did they decide when to add an extra month?
a. The spring equinox occurred later than the middle of Nissan (the ‘Altima’ determinant).
b. The barley had not ripened and fruit trees were not blossoming yet (after all, Pesah is Hag He’aviv.)
c. Roads to Jerusalem were in disrepair due to the winter rainy season impeding pilgrims travel (giving credence to the three constants in life — death, taxes and pot holes).
d. All of the above.

10. According to a Haggadah compiled by Rabbi Fink, fifty miracles took place at the splitting of the Yam Soof. Which of the following were among them?
a. Even fetuses within the mother’s womb sang a “new song”. What does this do for the pro-choicers?
b. Whenever an Israelite desired a drink, they touched the column of water and a fountain of fresh sweet water flowed—the precursor of Soda Stream.
c. One wheel of the Egyptians’ chariots came loose causing the vehicle to wobble and crash injuring the riders. GM should have learned from this to be a little more careful.
d. The waters were so powerful that they removed the Egyptians’ clothing. This inspired the new reality TV show, “Say Yes to the Undress.”

e. The water which consumed the Egyptians contained 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol and those who survived the ordeal came out speaking with a West Virginian accent.

f. All but one of the above.

11. In dayenu, G-d gave us the Shabbat and the Torah but only brought us into the land of Israel. Why is there a difference?
a. The Torah and Shabbat were unconditional gifts. The land of Israel was contingent on our observance of the mitzvot. That’s why the numerical value for “Balfour” is 613.
b. Jews have not needed the land to survive, but they have needed the Torah and Shabbat.
c. After G-d gave the Jews the first two items, they forgot to send thank you notes so He decided to teach them a lesson in etiquette. Jews weren’t chosen to be socially incorrect.
d. If you read “My Promised Land” by Ari Shavit, then you begin to understand the complex situation of a Jewish state in the land of Israel. Though, we cannot be without it (i.e. Israel not the book).
e. a. and b.

12. Which of the following applies to the Jews of Afghanistan?
a. To kasher utensils made mostly of copper and brass, they would engage a Muslim tinsmith to burn the vessels inside and out and then plate them with pewter. Then they boiled them (paper plates anyone?)
b. The afikoman was hidden in the burqa of an unrevealed family acquaintance. A prize was given to the first child who found the afikoman without revealing the friend’s identity—this ritual was known as ‘Starch Search’.
c. During hol hamoed people didn’t work but went on picnics and spent quality family time together (occasionally engaging in spelunking)
d. During Pesah they avoided Carnival cruises for fear of illness and stomach upset, but instead ate fried, spiced meat called ‘pishkurd’.

e. 3 of the above.

13. Why did the children of Jacob settle in the Land of Goshen?
a. Because they knew that in the twenty-first century the Land of Goshen would become a popular community farmers’ market in Indiana with 791 likes on Facebook (791 is gematria for kohlrabi).
b. When Abraham tried to pass off Sarah as his sister, Pharaoh tried to woo her. To entice her he gave the Land of Goshen to her as a possession. When the truth came out, Pharaoh let her keep it anyways and it became the Israelites’ inheritance.
c. It was the first Jewish ghetto by choice. The Jews could keep away from the idolatrous and immoral Egyptians in a fertile spot and be fruitful and multiply.
d. Because they knew the expression, “Land of Goshen”, shows amazement. And who doesn’t want to be amazed and excited especially during a famine?
e. two of the above.

14. There is a custom of having tall candles on the Seder table. Which of the following relates to this?
a. The candles are large enough to burn all night and thus you can fulfill the obligation of recounting the story of the Exodus illuminated by the warmth of candlelight flickering throughout the night.
b. The Zohar teaches that on the night of Pesah, it was as bright as day. To commemorate this miracle and to celebrate that the essence of G-d is light, we have the tall candles.
c. The kids are used to seeing only short Shabbat candles, so we pique their curiosity. In fact, some call them the ‘ManNishtana Candles’.
d. The Maccabeats, a Jewish a capella group, sings “Candlelight,” which doesn’t have anything to do with Pesah but is really good. Listen to them on Youtube. The Pesah Les Miz is great.
e. The tradition of large candles may have been borrowed by Christianity’s Pascal Candle, which symbolizes the pillar of cloud by day and the fire at night that led the Israelites in the desert.
f. answers a., b., & c.

15. What is wrong with this picture? Below is Moshe Yaacov, a typical Seder leader. There are a number of mistakes in this picture. Please choose from the items indicated below.

seder puzzlea. He is holding the carpas in his left hand with a fork. Before eating the carpas, we wash our hands without saying a prayer. Since our hands are clean, no fork is needed, even though it does have 4 tines.
b. He is wearing a kittel. As a Seder leader, one usually wears the garb. However, if you are a newlywed or in mourning you go without the kittel. Our leader is not a blushing bridegroom, but he has been a Cleveland Browns fan for a very long time and mourning might be an understatement.
c. He is wearing old torn shoes. Even though these appear to be Jack Purcells and we are to be comfortable at the Seder, we should always be well dressed free men.
d. His right hand appears to be making an attempt at sign language, probably trying to communicate with the kid who doesn’t know how to ask. But, as we have seen at the Mandela funeral, incorrect sign language is improper. It does look like Willie Fan Club sign so maybe there is deep meaning being sent to a privileged few.
e. all of the above.

16. Two Zuzim are worth…
a. Ukrainian citizenship.
b. A pair of Google Glasses
c. A 1972 Duck Commander duck call.
d. A solar powered sky light taking into account tax incentives.

17. “ In every generation they seek to destroy us” refers to…
a. Hezbollah
b. Hamas
c. Dieudonne and many in France
d. Iran

18. Next year in….
a. Jerusalem.
b. Beit Shean again.
c. in a country with reasonable health insurance.

Answer key:
1.e. 2.e. 3.f. 4.f. 5.a. 6.b. 7.e. 8.a. 9.d. 10.f. 11.e. 12.e. 13.e. 14.f.
15. e. 16.choice. 17.choice. 18.choice.

This quiz was written by Murray J. Berkowitz –