Monday, December 18, 2006

The Chanukah Quiz

I wrote this Chanukka Quiz from my Shul's Khanukah Mesiba tonight. Most of the history answers to these questions can be found in my essay here. Besides history questions, there are also halachik and hashkafic questions about Hanukkah. Enjoy! There are three levels of questions, so choose whichever you feel suits you or choose them all.

22 Questions: Chanukah Quiz

Easy Level:

  1. Who did the Hasmoneans fight in the story of Chanukah? The Syrian-Greeks, Yevanim.
  2. Who led the Hasmonean army? Yehuda the Maccabee.
  3. How many sons of Chana did the Syrian-Greek king kill for refusing to bow to idols? Seven.
  4. How many days long is Chanukah? Eight.
  5. How did Yehudis kill the Syrian-Greek general? By feeding him cheese and wine.
  6. Is the full Hallel said on Chanukah or is it only half? Full.
  7. How many sons did Matisyahu have? Five.
  8. What prayer is added to the Shemonah Esrei on Chanukka? Al HaNissim.
  9. How many places to light are there on a candelabra used for Chanukah? Nine.
  10. What is the Chanuka candelabra called? Menorah or Chanukiah.
  11. What was the name of army of the Hasmoneans? Maccabees.
  12. What do some people call Chanukah in English? The Festival of Lights.
  13. Why is there a custom that some have the women do not do work while the candles are burning? Because two women (Chana and Yehudis) helped the miracle of Chanukah.
  14. What was needed but couldn't be found to light the Menorah in the Beis HaMikdash? Pure Olive Oil.
  15. What is the extra candle that is lit each night called? Shamash.
  16. What day of the Hebrew calendar is Chanukah? 23 Kislev.
  17. What Halachos did Antiochus outlaw? Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh, Bris Milah.
  18. How many candles do you use the entire Chanukah not including the Shamash? 36.
  19. What Torah portion is read specifically for Chanukah? The dedication of the Mishkan/Tabernacle.
  20. Who was the father of Matisyahu? Yochanan.
  21. What do toy do some spin on Chanuka? Dreidel.
  22. How many Aliyahs are read on a normal weekday of Chanukah? 3.


  1. How many Hasmonean kings were there? 11
  2. What was the name of the Syrian-Greek general whom Yehudis killed? Helefornes.
  3. Why is there a special mitzvah to have a meal on Purim but not on Chanukah? On Purim they tried to destroy our physical beings so we celebrate with the physical, but on Chanukah they tried to spiritually destroy us, so we only celebrate on a spiritual plane.
  4. What happened to Elazar, the son of Matisyahu? He drowned in elephant dung or was stomped on by an elephant.
  5. The Rosh Chodesh for which month always falls out on Chanukah? Teves.
  6. What does Maccabee stand for? Mi Kamocha B'eilim HaShem or Matisyahu Kohen ben Yochanan.
  7. When do we light the Menorah in Shul? Twice: Once before Shachris and once between Mincha and Ma'ariv.
  8. How many places to light were there on the Menorah in the Bais HaMikdash? Seven.
  9. How does one say "Chanukah money" in Yiddish? Chanukah Gelt.
  10. Whose seal was required to insure that olive oil was truly pure? The Kohen Gadol.
  11. Is the full Hallel said on Chanuka on Rosh Chodesh? Yes.
  12. Who asked the famous question why Chanukah is eight days long instead of seven if the miracle was only that the oil which was enough for one day lasted seven extra days? The Beit Yosef or Shulchan Aruch or Rabbi Yosef Cairo.
  13. Which Kohen Gadol met with Alexander the Great? Shimon HaTzadik.
  14. Why is Chanukah called Chanukah? Because the Maccabees rested from fighting on the 25th of Kislev after beating the Syrian-Greeks.
  15. What prayer is added to the Grace After Meals on Chanukah? Al HaNissim.
  16. What were the names of Matisyahu's five sons? Yehuda, Yonason, Yochanan, Shimon, Elazar.
  17. Why do we light a Shamash? To not get benefit from the light of the other candles.
  18. What was Antiochus' name? Epiphanes.
  19. What are the three levels of fulfilling the mitzvah of Chanukah? One candle each night or one candle per person each night or one candle per night per person.
  20. What was the Menorah in the Bais HaMikdash made out of? Pure Gold.
  21. In Al HaNissim, what do we say the Syrian-Greeks tried to make us do? Forget the Torah and transgress HaShem's commandments (specifically the Chukim).
  22. What prayer is added to davening after Shemonah Esrei on Chanukah? Hallel.


  1. How many years in total did the Hasmoneans rule? 103 years.
  2. Which son of Matisyahu never became the king? Eliezer.
  3. Who killed the last surviving member of the Hasmonean family? King Herod the Great.
  4. Although the Mishkan was completed on the 25th of Kislev, when was it finally erected? Rosh Chodesh Nissan.
  5. Which foreign nation supported the Hasmoneans? The Roman Empire.
  6. Which Hasmonean ruler was the sister of Rabbi Shimon ben Shetach? Queen Alexandra/Shlomzion/Salome.
  7. What is the difference between a Dreidel in Israel and in the Diaspora? In Israel the Dreidel says a "great miracle happened here" but out of the land it says "a great miracle happened there".
  8. Who were some students of Antignus Ish Socho (5 answers)? Tzadok (of the Sadducees), Baysus (of the Boethusians), Yosef ben Yochanan (the Av Beis Din), Yose ben Yoezer (the Nasi), Yochanan the father of Matisyahu (the Kohen Gadol).
  9. When are three Sefer Torahs taken out on Chanuka? If Rosh Chodesh Teves falls out on Shabbos.
  10. What chapter of Tehillim mentions the dedication of the Bais HaMikdash? 30.
  11. Which is the only son of Matisyahu to have been the king and have his descendants also become the king? Shimon.
  12. On Chanukah that's on Friday night, do you light Shabbos candles first or Chanukah candles first? Chanukah first.
  13. Why were the Hasmoneans punished that they were all wiped out? Because they were Kohanim and only people from the tribe of Judah should be kings, not from Levi.
  14. Which two Hasmonean brothers are famous for their quarrel which brought the Romans to Jerusalem? Artistobolus and Hyrcanus.
  15. Which Hasmonean King was killed by his own son-in-law who was the King of Egypt? Shimon.
  16. How do you make Latkes? Fry potatoes.
  17. How old was Elazar the Kohen Gadol when he was killed by Antiochus? Ninety.
  18. Who wrote Ma'oz Tzur? "Mordechai"
  19. Why is there Hallel on Chanukah but not on Purim? Because on Purim the Megillas Esther replaces the Hallel.
  20. What city is the Hasmonean family from? Modi'in.
  21. Which Hasmonean got mad that his lineage was questioned and he killed many Rabbis because of this? King Yannai.
  22. Chanukah comes before Purim in History or in the Jewish calendar? Only in the Calendar.


Reb said...

Actually, the answer to no. 16 is wrong.

Ilan the Portlander Rebbe said...

What, where is the raindeer question?

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