Saturday, / July 13, 2024

Talmud Teasers: Staying Safe

The coronavirus pandemic has made us sensitive to the risks we take in our day-to-day living, and helped us become aware of the different ways we can protect ourselves from exposure to danger. The Talmud offers tips and insights to prevention, safe conduct, and healing.  


When the Talmudic sage Rav Huna, son of Rav Yehoshua, fell ill, his colleague Rav Papa told Rav Huna’s family that he would not survive the illness. But Rav Huna recovered, and Rav Papa was then embarrassed by his failed prediction. Some time later, when the two of them met up, Rav Huna told his colleague that he had been, in fact, on the brink of death, but was saved miraculously because of his:

  1. Devotion to Torah study
  2. Forgiving nature
  3. Fervent prayer 
  4. Charity giving


The Talmud states that in order to minimize their danger, Jews who are living under antisemitic regimes ought to:

  1. Pray for divine intervention
  2. Avoid lighting the Chanukah menorah by the door, where it is visible to the outside
  3. Protest and rally against the government’s policies
  4. Disguise their Jewish identity


The Talmud encourages us to avoid unhealthy eating habits and lists several examples. Which of these is not mentioned among them?

  1. Eating fish and meat together
  2. Combining fish and milk
  3. Talking during the meal
  4. Eating while standing


Which of these statements in the Talmud expresses how seriously it objects to exposing oneself to even a low risk of danger?

  1. Saving a life trumps Shabbat observance
  2. We do not rely on miracles
  3. Taking even a small chance with danger is worse than taking a small chance that would entail violating a possible prohibition
  4. One violates Torah commandments (all but three) rather than be killed for keeping them


The Talmud teaches that a sage who falls ill can be healed if:

  1. His students recite the entire Book of Psalms
  2. People give charity to the poor in his merit
  3. His students visit him daily
  4. His students study Torah outside his door


A2 (Rosh Hashanah 17a)

B2 (Shabbat 21b)

C2 (Pesachim 76b; Taanit 5b; Gitin 70a)

D3 (Chulin 10a)

E4 (Eruvin 26a)

Comment 3
  • Andrew MULBERG MD

    Fun and I scored 40%
    But lots to learn

    • Moshe Rubin Ben Yosef

      One out of five – not very encouraging considering how much studying I do every week.

  • Akiva Nimberger

    Only got one right even though studying as much as possible, this encourages to study even more intensely 🙂


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