Question: I am an extraordinary factory that processes ordinary
grass and plants into a common drink. Ironically, Jewish tradition tells us that you cannot eat me at the same time you are enjoying my drink. What am I?
Answer: A Cow
Kosher animals are identified by the Torah as those which have a split hoof (not a whole hoof like the horse and not toes like a bear) and chew plants, swallow them, bring the food back up and chew it a little
more). All kosher animals are plant eaters, non-predators.
Now, I ask you:
1. What is the largest kosher animal still roaming the wilds of North America?
2. What large kosher animal roamed this country in
herds of millions of animals and was nearly exterminated?
3. What is the tallest kosher animal in the world?
Answer: The Moose (up to 1500 lbs!)
Answer: Bison / Buffalo
Giraffe (also one of the quietest animals in the world)
Question: What are two food items that never come from kosher animals but in their natural state are 100% kosher?
Human Breast Milk & Bee Honey
Question: If God did not create a single thing without purpose, then why did God make snowflakes all different shapes instead of a uniform shape? (Hint: Look at the
Torah's description of the second day of creation. You will find it in the opening chapter of Genesis.)
Answer: By having different shapes they will not interlock when they fall. The reason for this is
to create tiny bubbles of trapped air space which is the principle upon which all insulation works. Air temperture may be well below zero, but with a foot of snow on the ground, the ground temperature below the snow
remains a toasty 30o F, keeping the plant roots from freezing even in the middle of winter!
Question: The Torah tells us that after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden they had a
conversation with God. In this conversation, an everyday food is mentioned. What is this food product and what does it have to do with Passover?
Answer: Genesis 3:19 "By the sweat of your brow you
will eat bread." Of course, bread is the primary food we rid our homes of during Passover. Do you think there is any connection?
Question: Which spring flower has six petals arranged in two rows
in such a way as to produce a Star of David?
Answer: narcissus, a genus of endogenous bulbous plants with handsome flowers, having a cup-shaped crown within the six-lobed perianth, and comprising the
daffodils and jonquils of several kinds.
Qustion: The traditional recipe for gefilte fish includes the use of three different types of fish. What three kinds of fish are used and which of these fish
poses a health risk due to high levels of PCB and mercury contamination?
Answer: Carp, white fish and pike -- carp is especially problematic because it feeds off of the bottom; pike is a problem
because it is high on the food chain.
Question: What natural resource is never specifically mentioned in the Torah's Story of Creation as having been created by God? It seems to "just be
Answer: Water! From Genesis 1:6 - "God said, 'There shall be a sky in the middle of the water and it shall divide the water above from the water below.'"
Mystery of the Disappearing Tulip Bulbs. This month I present you with a real-life riddle.
I planted 100 tulip bulbs across my front yard one year. Some of these were in the shade of a tree, some were in areas of direct sunlight and all were planted in rich soil with good drainage. Come spring, only 10 plants appeared. Some of these were in the shade, some in the sun and a few scattered. What happened to the other 90 bulbs?
Answer: Squirrels ate them. Bulbs are a favorite edible of squirrels and I inadvertently "rang the dinner bell" when I planted mine. To avoid feeding your neighborhood squirrels,
plant your bulbs in the fall and cover them with pieces of screening material weighted down with stones.
Question: Finding the New Moon (Rosh Chodesh). You decide to look for the New Moon, called Rosh
Chodesh in Hebrew. Which direction will you look and will you try to find it very early in the evening, late in the evening or anytime at all in the evening?
Answer: The New Moon appears low on the
western horizon for only a short period of time right after sunset.
It has traveled across the sky during the day and is just barely in position for the bottom half of the moon to reflect the sun's light. This is why the Rosh Chodesh moon always appears like the "horns" of a cow facing upwards.
Question: What does a chipmunk and a menorah (chanukiah) have in common?
Answer: Both hold 9 items. The menorah holds 9 candles – eight candles plus the shamos – and a chipmunk can carry
9 nuts at once – 4 nuts in each cheek and one between the teeth.
Question: One by one they normally come. This time there are two, Followed by none. What am I?
Answer: The Rosh Chodesh
(New Moon). For the first time in 80 years, the month of January will have two full moons; February will have none; and March will have two more. Cool.
Question: Environmental Terrorism in
Biblical Times. Which Biblical character committed the most outrageous act of environmental terrorism according to Jewish tradition?
Answer: Sampson, who set on fire 300 foxes, to burn down the
fields of the Philistines. He succeeded and they were pissed.
Question: You are walking through the woods and find an old shotgun cartridge lying on the ground.
You pick it up to examine and much to your surprise you find something "Jewish" about it. What have you found?
Answer: Look at the end of the cartridge, and you'll see a Star of David.
Question: As everyone knows, a cow must be slaughtered in a certain way for the meat to be considered kosher. There is an exception to this rule that would make it possible to shoot a cow and still the meat
would be considered 100% kosher. What is this exception?
Answer: If a cow is slaughtered the proper way and gives birth to a calf during the slaughtering process, the calf is considered to be a
by-product of the cow (like a leg or shoulder) and therefore does not need to be slaughtered "again".
Question: WHO SAID IT? "The best remedy for those who are afraid,
lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God.
Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be . . . And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles."
Answer: Anne Frank
Question: What's in a Name – Especially a Hebrew
One???? Okay, you Hebrew mavens, here are some questions for you!
1. What is the name for leopard in Hebrew and what is the literal meaning of that word?
2. What is the name for deer?
3. What is the name for eagle?
4. What is the name for lion?
BONUS QUESTION: Where in Jewish text do you find these
four animals mentioned together?
1. Leopard is name which means "spotted coat"
2. Deer is tzvi (there are many names for different members of the deer family)
3. Eagle is nesher
4. Lion is ari
Pirke Avot (5:23) – Be as strong as a leopard, as light as an
eagle, as swift as a deer, as brave as a lion to do the will of your Father in heaven
Question: In the "Old Days," about 10 years ago, M&Ms were not
kosher. One of the major problems was the candy-coating used to cover the chocolate. Here's the question, "Why was the candy-coating of M&Ms not kosher?
Answer: Coating was made from insect excretement which
many rabbinic authorities ruled as non-food while others ruled as non Kosher.
Question: The Moon Points the Way. Well, it finally
happened. You went out for a short stroll through Creation and you got yourself lost.
Fortunately for you, you know that if you head southward, you will be able to find the way back to your car. The only problem is that it's dark and most of the sky is cloudy. All you can see toward one of the horizons is a crescent moon, not even one-quarter full. "No problem," you say. "Now I know exactly how to get back." So...
How do you use the crescent moon to find your direction at night?
Answer: Start with the point at the top of the moon and
draw an imaginary line from it through the point at the bottom of the cresent. Continue this straight line down to the horizon. Wherever it would touch the horizon is due south.
Question: What is the first fruit mentioned in the Torah?
Question: New Moon – Full Moon Holidays - Let's see how
well you know your Jewish holidays. Can you name all of the holidays that start during a New Moon, all of the holidays that happen during a full moon and the one holiday that happens during the dark phase of
A Lulav Question: Sukkot is a holiday filled with the
performance of more specified mitzvot than any other Jewish holiday.
One of the mitzvot is the Waving of the Lulov. The lulov is a most unusual object made from palm leaves woven into a holder. Into the holder go twigs from myrtle trees and from willow trees. The lulav consists of palm, myrtle and willow. What is interesting is that these trees are very, very different from each other. In the combining of these trees, we are led to a metaphoric lesson.
What's so different about the palm, myrtle and willow trees? What's the lesson?