Friday, September 26, 2008

How Frum Are You, Really? - Guest Post by Yossi Ginzberg

A Test for Those Insecure about Their Religious Status

The following was sent to me by a reader. It is a thought provoking quiz - written mostly tounge in cheek - that should make all of us refect on our values – what they are and what they should be. I would just note that the publication of these questions and the follow-up commentary afterward does not necessarily reflect my own views. - HM

Answer the following questions as best you can. I know that none of the answers will be exactly right for you, because you are so very complicated that no one really understands you, but select the one that is closest to your beliefs.

1) Imagine this scenario: In the course of your work, you find that another “frum” employee is taking large sums from the company, in the process depleting a pension fund so that dozens of lower-level laborers at another site (probably all non-Jews) will be cheated of their retirement funds. What do you do?

A) Ask him for a percentage, implying that if he doesn’t cut you in you’ll tell.
B) Nothing, because taking money would be abetting the theft and telling on him would be mesirah.
C) Tell him to stop stealing and to return what he took.
D) Call the police and/ or the company security force.

2) Your boss, seeing that all 8 days of Chanuka are marked in red on the calendar, asks you if you need all the days off, or just the first two and last two. What do you reply?

A) You tell him you also need a day before and a day after, to set up the Menorah and take it down.
B) Yes, you need all 8 days off
C) Only the first and last days.
D) You tell him the truth, that work is unaffected.

3) A close relative is seriously ill, and you really want to help. What do you do?

A) You fly to a famous Eastern European cemetery, where you recite a prayer.
B) You have a prayer said in the synagogue the next time you are there.
C) You recite Psalms at home.
D) You recite Psalms and give charity.

4) In selecting a bride for your son, how much of a role does her parent’s wealth play?

A) Hugely important, I am tired of supporting him.
B) Hugely important, my son is too learned to have to worry about money.
C) If they have money, it means they are smart, and I want a girl with good genes.
D) More important is how they got the money: is the money kosher?

5) In checking out a potential shidduch, which of the following is a deal-breaker? (Select only the most important, if several qualify)

A) The boy/ girl has been in trouble with the police over drugs & alcohol
B) The family has a history of relatives in jail.
C) The family eats “gebrokts” on Passover.
D) The potential groom/ bride is overweight .

6) If your plumber is known to be refusing to give his wife a “Get”, and your dishwasher isn’t working, what do you do?

A) Call him anyway, since it is impossible to live without a dishwasher.
B) Hire a cleaning lady until you get a number for another “heimishe” plumber.
C) Call a different plumber from the Yellow Pages.
D) Call him, tell him why you are not using him, and call a different plumber from the Yellow Pages

7) Your young child tells you that his Yeshiva is cheating, taking government funding that it isn’t entitled to by inflating attendance figures. He thinks it’s all good fun. What do you do?

A) Ask for a discount on your tuition.
B) Nothing, the Rosh yeshiva is a Godol, and if he does it, it must be okay.
C) Spread the news around in shul.
D) Protest formally to the yeshiva, and take your child out, explaining why.

8) You are down to your last money for the month, there are still four tzedaka appeals in front of you, and you can only respond to one. Which do you send to?

A) Pidyon Shevuyim for a Satmar in jail for beating up an anti-Zalman.
B) Pidyon Shevuyim for a nursing-home crook, a Talmid Chochom caught faking mortgages, or a frum smuggler who “didn’t know”.
C) Kupath Ha’ir, despite their inane ads
D) Your local needy person and/or shul.

9) How do you fulfill the custom of “Kaporos”?

A) I go to the closest place that has live chickens. Period.
B) I use live chickens, but only if they don’t look like they are being abused.
C) I do what my neighbors do, and that’s good enough.
D) I use money only.

10) I skip my evening Daf Yomi when…

A)… Only when my wife won’t find out
B)…..I can find an excuse.
C) . .. I am tired
D) …I need a break.

11) In making a simcha, the following is NOT a factor at all:

A) Money
B) What the “machatonim” want
C) What the kids want
D) What others think

12) My reaction, when I see headlines accusing a religious man of criminality, is:

A) To accuse the media of being anti-Semites.
B) To judge him innocent, period.
C) To judge him innocent until proven guilty.
D) To be ashamed.

13) I drink only Chalav Yisroel…

A) When anyone is looking
B) Always
C) Unless I’m out of town
D) Except for ice cream and candy bars.

14) Shtreimels are…

A) As important as anything else in the Torah
B) Almost as important as anything else in the Torah
C) Optional
D) Too hot to wear in the summer

15) My wife’s hair covering must be…

A) All of it, all the time, double-wrapped.
B) Sheitel, snood, I don’t care as long as it’s covered
C) Whatever, as long as she’s still attractive
D) Basically covered, but it’s really her decision

16) Shabbos meals must be…

A) Precisely the same menu, 52 weeks a year, because it’s holy
B) Absolutely must have at least fish, chicken, kugel and chulent
C) Can vary a little bit, if the Mrs wants
D) Must be inviting to those eating them.

17) After the “Motzi” blessing, I cut the Challah, and then...

A) Handle each piece, dipping it in salt and handing them out
B) The law says to dip it in salt, so I dip it, of course!
C) Realize that salt shakers are a recent invention, as is hygiene
D) Just cut them and pass them around on a plate with the salt shaker

Chai) On Rosh Hashana, the following is on my table:

A) Honey, a dozen fruits whose names I don’t know, and a big animal head
B) Honey, some fruits, and I have no idea why
C) Honey, a pomegranate, and some odd fruit for a shehechyanu blessing
D) Honey, a pomegranate, and a printed guide from a charity that lists customs I can make fun of.

How to score your results:

For every A answer, add one point.
For every B answer, add two points.
For every C answer, add three points
For every D answer, add four points
Add the numbers together to get a total

If your total is:

18 or 19 You should not be reading this, you should be on Yeshiva World or Vos Iz Neiz writing nasty bigoted comments in broken English and in all caps. Also, you need to shower more frequently. Even if they didn’t in the old country.

20 to 36 You are badly in need of continuing education in Judaism’s core values, ethics, and basic morality. Also, you should brush your hat.

37 to 50 You aren’t as closed-minded as some, but you are still far from being a complete human being. You need to learn more about Halacha and about Jewish values.

51 to 65 Mazel Tov, pat yourself on the back, you’re several steps above a Neanderthal. At least you understood all the words here, and most likely feel entitled to act really superior now that you have proven that you are too smart to read the Jewish Press anymore. Still, don’t get too snooty since you actually did demean yourself by taking this quiz.

66 to … Have you already calculated what the highest score could be? I thought so. I also think that you probably cheated a little, choosing answers for point value more than for veracity. So, you’re a top scorer, you think that makes you a mensch? It doesn’t, since you have already betrayed insecurity in your religious values by taking this dumb test. Get with the program- the real program- and start learning so you can help rescue the ignorant from sinking into the morass of ignorance and superstition that is overtaking Orthodox Judaism.