Jewish Holiday Bloopers



These are real student bloopers from exams in my college course on Jewish Holidays

Jonathan D. Safren
Dept. of Biblical Studies
Beit Berl College



Ushpizin is a very ancient Sukkot custom. It comes from the Modern Hebrew word l'ashpez.

The main idea [of Ushpizin[ is to invite people who were vagabonds, such as Abraham, Isaac...

In Israel, Simhat Torah and Shemini Atzeret are observed on the same day. In the morning, it's Shemini Atzeret...and by the evening we start to celebrate Simhat Torah.

[Asked about the true miracle of Hanukkah,] Rabbi Ashi...would say that we celebrate Hanukkah because...it is based on an ancient Persian custom of celebrating with fire.

[On the wars of the Maccabees] In the Talmud, Hanukkah is mentioned 7[!] times, but [the] war is not mentioned. In the Gemara and Mishna the war is not mentioned either.

Antiochus was a henotheist [sic!], he accepted other religions, therefore it is unthinkable that he persecuted the Jews, it is a prove that the Hashmoneans did it.

[Tu B'Shevat is celebrated on the 15th] because by that time the sap from the tree comes out of the leaves and renews the tree and makes it more lively.

Originally, Tu B'Shevat had no significance and was just the day when the Jews brought the first tithes to the Temple.

After Second Temple times {Tu B'Shevat] became associated with the State of Israel.

[In Deuteronomy 8:8, which mentions the Seven Species,] there are 2 fruits which are not mentioned at all: raisins and carob.

[On] Shabbat Zakhor we read from the Book of Esther, Chapter 3. It talks about the Amalek king who was called Agag and as we know Agag was also the last name of Haman the evil.

King Amalek attacked the Israelites who lived in the Negev from behind.

On the first day of Purim we read from the Book of Esther, and on Purim we read the Megilla.

Purim is special since it is a late book.

The Book of Esther...can be found in the Scroll of Esther.

Originally, [Purim] wasn’t a Jewish holiday, and it was added to the Torah, unlike Passover, for example.

Purim is a nice change for the Jewish People. Most of our holidays we are repenting for our sins and remembering our ancestors' hard times. During Purim we are happy and this [is] the one day of the year when even the ultra-Orthodox let go a little and act foolish.

[On Shabbat Parah] we read about how the Israelites killed a holy cow, and not just the cow, but everything that belonged to it, and burn it and we read it.

This is done because people need to be pure before eating the puscule lamp on Passover.

Every family in Israel has to sacrifice a lamp.



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