Study Guide for the Final Exam

Religion 322: Judaism: Faith and Practice S'00

Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus

A. Terms to know:

"hedge" (siyyag) around Torah


"redemption through sin"



"sanctuary in time"

Pesah, Matzah, Maror


18 benedictions (amidah)


Rabbi Shimeon bar Yohai

R. Isaac Luria (the ARI)

Ayn sof

Baal Shem Tov

Esther Broner


R. Nahman of Bratzlav

Half the Kingdom


R. Nathan of Gaza

Hallah, nidah, lighting candles (HaNaH)

B. Potential essay questions:

  1. In what ways does Judaism present itself as a sort of partnership with God? How do Passover, the Sabbath, and Torah study - according to the texts we studied in class, represent this partnership?
  2. Imagine that Norma Joseph (the feminist Torah teacher in Half the Kingdom) and Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav are having Shabbat lunch together. They get into a heated theological discussion about the nature of God. What do they have to say to one another?

  4. It is 1668. A Bet Din (rabbinical court) has been convened in your town to determine whether or not Shabbetai Tsvi is the Jewish Messiah. You have been called to present the case against (or for) his messiahship. What do you say?
  5. Does the study of Jewish mysticism, Kabbalistic sources in particular, give a distorted picture of Judaism? Isn't Kabbalah pretty much irrelevant to Judaism as it is actually practiced? Whether you answer yes or no, be sure to define your terms (i.e., what is Judaism [if it's not kabbalah]; is Judaism necessarily limited to what Jews practice; when, for which Jews, etc.)
  6. Which of the texts we studied this term do you think came closest to representing the core or essence of Judaism? Make sure you address these points specifically: