TORAH RIDDLE, RHYME & REASON

Riddle:
Which perakim (chapters) in Tehillim have pesukim (verses) arranged according to the Aleph Bet?
 
Rhyme:
A day of judgment this is,
The shofar’s blast piercing and severe!
Hashem’s sitting on His throne
Judging us on our deeds this past year.
If this is such a serious day,
Why then do we celebrate
With holiday clothing, eating, happiness-
Shouldn’t it be a somber date?
 
Reason:
Why do we say in the Rosh Hashana Amida “zecher l’yessiat Missrayim – a remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt”? What’s the connection between Rosh Hashana and leaving Egypt?
 
Answers:
Riddle: Perakim 34, 111, 112, 119, 145.
 
Rhyme: Rosh Hashana is epitomized by the words “vegilu biraada – rejoice with trembling” (Tehillim 2:11). The Sefer Hahinuch (chapter 311) writes that the accounting taken of a person’s deeds each year is a profound expression of divine kindness, as otherwise our sins would accumulate, leaving no possibility for repentance. The annual accounting helps to minimize our sins such that Hashem can either punish for them little by little, or dismiss them altogether. Therefore, while on the one hand we act somberly, aware of the seriousness of the day, we also celebrate the fact that our judgment is in the loving “hands” of Hashem. Furthermore, if there would be no Rosh Hashana, the misdeeds of mankind would accumulate and the world would have to be destroyed. Rosh Hashana ensures the continued existence of the world, and it is therefore worthy of being celebrated as a holiday.
 
Reason: According to some sources, it was on Rosh Hashana when the Jews in Egypt were first allowed to stop their backbreaking slave labor, as the maccot (plagues) began descending upon the Egyptian oppressors.
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Riddle:

You put a meat spoon into a pot of chicken soup that’s on the fire. Then it was cleaned and put away. That same day, the spoon was mistakenly used to stir hot cocoa. What’s the status of the dairy cup, the meat spoon, and your delicious hot cocoa?

Rhyme:

A family of five
From a town called Modi’in
Great scholars, fierce warriors,
Called the Hashmona’im.
Their father was Mattityahu
The revered Kohen Gadol
And his sons were the Maccabim –
Can you name them all?

Reason:

Why did the Jews of Yerushalayim remove their doors during the time of Antiochus’s rule?

Riddle Answer:

Of course, you should not stir cocoa with a spoon that had been used for meat. But if this was done unintentionally, then you may drink your hot cocoa, and, after they are rinsed, you can still use the cup and spoon. They do not require “koshering” because the meat spoon was inserted into the cocoa mug (a “keli sheni”), and not into the pot in which the cocoa was boiled. (If you prepared your cocoa cup in the microwave, it may be considered a “keli rishon,” and a rabbi must be consulted!)
(Source: The Jewish Kitchen, by Rabbi Rafael Abraham Cohen Soae)

Rhyme Answer:

Yehuda Hamacabee (of Yerushalayim); Yochanan of Kadesh; Shimon of Tassa; Elazar of Choran; and Yonatan of Vafas.

Reason Answer:

The Greeks issued a decree requiring the Jews to inscribe on their doorposts the proclamation, “We will have no part of the Gd of Israel.” Anyone whose home did not bear this inscription would be slaughtered. The Jews could not leave their cities to escape this decree, because the city gates were blocked. Their ingenious solution was to remove the doors of their houses, so they would not have doors on which to write inscriptions. However, the removal of their doors exposed them to soldiers seeking out rebellious Jews. With no doors for safety, the homes were pillaged and many Jews were dragged out and beaten. (Source: Midrash Chanuka, Munich manuscript.)

 

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