JONAH FINAL EXAM REVIEW – Everything you’ll need to know for the test is here!

8th Grade TaNaKh

Review for Jonah Exam

Rabbi Lubliner


I. Structure of TaNakh


1.  Terms to Know: Torah/Nevi’im/Ketuvim; Nevi’im Rishonim, Nevi’im Ahronim; Trei Asar; Hamesh Megillot (and what they are).

2. Be able to identify to what part of TaNaKh each biblical book belongs, e.g., Daniel belongs in Ketuvim, Jeremiah is part of Nevi’im etc.


II. Jonah’s background in TaNaKh & Midrash

1. Where else is Jonah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible?

a. II Kings 14:25

b. prophesizes restoration of Israel’s territory in the north during reign of King                   Jeroboam II (late 9th century C.E.)

c. father’s name is Amittai

d. Jonah is from Gath-hepher (ancient town in lower Galilee, Israel’s north)


2. What does midrash teach us about Jonah’s origins?

a. son of the widow Zerephat, having succumbed to a terrible illness, the boy Jonah was believed to be dead – until he was revived by Elijah the prophet (see I  Kings 17:17-24).    [Source: Jerusalem Talmud, Sukkah 55a]

b. Jonah grows up as a disciple of the prophet Elisha.

 III. The Story of Jonah

A. Chapter I (P’shat questions)

1. What does God command Jonah to do?

2. What is so unique about this command?

3. How does Jonah respond?

4. Where is Jonah heading?

5. Where is Tarshish?

6. What does Jonah do onboard the ship?

7. What do the sailors do when the storm hits?

8. What does the captain ask and how does Jonah respond?

9. How do the sailors know that Jonah is responsible for the storm?

10. What does Jonah tell the sailors to do?

11. How do the sailors react?

12 When the storm calms down, what do the sailors do?  What is the irony                       of this part of the story?

B. Chapter I (Midrash questions)

1. Why does Jonah disobey God?

a.  He’s fearful that if the Ninevites repent and his threat of doom                                       doesn’t come to pass, he’ll be ridiculed as a false prophet                                                     (Tanhuma Vayikra 8)

b. Jonah was motivated by a desire to preserve Israel’s honor – he                                       knew that the pagans of Nineveh – unlike Israel – would repent,                                         and didn’t want Israel to look wicked by comparison (Jerusalem                                            Talmud, Sanhedrin 30b)

2. The sailors are very reluctant to cause Jonah’s death.  They submerge                             him in the water several times without letting go – each time he goes in,                               the waters become calm . . . until they pull him out of the sea.                                       Reluctantly, they come to the conclusion there’s nothing they can to                                     save Jonah.

C. Chapter II (P’shat Questions)

1. What happens to Jonah in the sea?

2. How many days and nights does he remain in the belly of the fish?

3. What kind of fish swallowed Jonah?

4. What does Jonah do after spending a period of time in the great fish?

5. What is strange about Jonah’s prayer, what seems to be missing?

6. What does the fish eventually do?


D. Chapter III (P’shat Questions)

1. How large is Nineveh?

2. What are the words of Jonah’s prophecy?

3. What is the reaction of the Ninevites?

4. What does the king decree?

5. What does the king hope will happen?

6. What element of parody appears in chapter 3?

7. How does God respond to the actions of the Ninevites?

E. Chapter III (Midrash Questions)

1.  Who was the king of Nineveh?  How does that help us understand his                                       reaction to Jonah’s prophecy?

F. Chapter IV (P’shat Questions)

1. How does Jonah react to the Ninevites’ behavior?

2. What does Jonah say to God?

3. What are the similarities and differences between Exodus 34:6-7 and                              Jonah 4:2?

4. What does Jonah ask God to do?

5. How does God respond?

6. What makes Jonah glad and then unhappy?

7. What does God say to Jonah at the end of the book?

 IV. Miscellaneous Thought Questions about Jonah

 1.Some commentators describe Jonah as a parody of prophecy. Name at least four aspects of the story that run counter to what we might otherwise expect from a book of biblical prophecy.

2. Why do you think God chose Jonah to be a prophet?

3. List three major themes of the book.  What makes the story of Jonah so relevant to our day and age?

  • 4. When do we read Jonah as a haftorah and why?
  • 5. What is so strange about the way in which the book of Jonah ends?  What lesson is God trying to teach Jonah?  Why do you think the book ends the way it does?

6. Name two other reluctant prophets in TaNaKh – What are the similarities and differences between Jonah and these individuals?  Why might a person be reluctant to serve as a prophet – shouldn’t it be seen as a great honor?  How does the following insight of scholar Abraham Joshua Heschel help us understand the challenge of being a prophet?

To be a prophet is both a distinction and an affliction.  The mission he performs is distasteful to him and repugnant to others; no reward is promised him and no reward could temper its bitterness.  The prophet bears scorn and reproach. The prophet is a lonely man. He alienates the wicked as well as the pious, the cynics as well as the believers, the priests and the princes, the judges and the false prophets.  But to be a prophet means to challenge and to defy and to cast out fear.”

Homework Assignment #4: How Compassionate is God? Questions Sheet

8th Grade TaNaKh

Sefer Yonah

I.  Read Jonah 4:2 and compare with Exodus 34:6-7 (read both in Hebrew and English).  How are these passages alike and how are they different?


II. Take a look at Psalm 103:8-14 – How is it similar/dissimilar to the Jonah and Exodus passages?


III. Now compare Exodus 34:6-7 with the Thirteen Attributes of God’s compassion that are chanted on the Yamim Noraim and as part of the Torah service for festivals (You can find the passage in Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Holidays, p. 140).  What’s missing from the Siddur passage that is part of the Torah’s text?


IV.  What is the message of Exodus 34:6-7 and why do you think the rabbis changed it for use in the Siddur?  Would the texts of Jonah 4:2 and Psalm 103:8-14 agree more with the passage in the Siddur or the statement of Exodus?



How compassionate is God? The view from Exodus, Jonah, Psalm 103 and the Siddur: Text sheet

שמות ל”ד:ד-ח
ד וַיִּפְסֹ֡ל שְׁנֵֽי־לֻחֹ֨ת אֲבָנִ֜ים כָּרִֽאשֹׁנִ֗ים וַיַּשְׁכֵּ֨ם מֹשֶׁ֤ה בַבֹּ֨קֶר֙ וַיַּ֨עַל֙ אֶל־הַ֣ר סִינַ֔י כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה ה’ אֹת֑וֹ וַיִּקַּ֣ח בְּיָד֔וֹ שְׁנֵ֖י לֻחֹ֥ת אֲבָנִֽים: ה וַיֵּ֤רֶד ה’ בֶּֽעָנָ֔ן וַיִּתְיַצֵּ֥ב עִמּ֖וֹ שָׁ֑ם וַיִּקְרָ֥א בְשֵׁ֖ם ה’: ו וַיַּֽעֲבֹ֨ר ה’ ׀ עַל־פָּנָיו֘ וַיִּקְרָא֒ ה’ ׀ ה’ אֵ֥ל רַח֖וּם וְחַנּ֑וּן אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם וְרַב־חֶ֥סֶד וֶֽאֱמֶֽת: ז נֹצֵ֥ר חֶ֨סֶד֙ לָֽאֲלָפִ֔ים נֹשֵׂ֥א עָוֹ֛ן וָפֶ֖שַׁע וְחַטָּאָ֑ה וְנַקֵּה֙ לֹ֣א יְנַקֶּ֔ה פֹּקֵ֣ד ׀ עֲוֹ֣ן אָב֗וֹת עַל־בָּנִים֙ וְעַל־בְּנֵ֣י בָנִ֔ים עַל־שִׁלֵּשִׁ֖ים וְעַל־רִבֵּעִֽים: ח וַיְמַהֵ֖ר מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיִּקֹּ֥ד אַ֖רְצָה וַיִּשְׁתָּֽחוּ:

So Moses carved two tablets of stone, like the first, and early in the morning he went up to Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, taking the two stone tablets with him. The Lord came down in a cloud; He stood with him there and proclaimed the name Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed: “The Lord! The Lord! A God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He does not remit all punishment, but visits the iniquity of parents upon children and children’s children, upon the third and fourth generations.” Moses hastened to bow low to the ground in homage.

יונה ד’:א-ב

וַיֵּ֥רַע אֶל־יוֹנָ֖ה רָעָ֣ה גְדוֹלָ֑ה וַיִּ֖חַר לֽוֹ: ב וַיִּתְפַּ֨לֵּל אֶל־ה’ וַיֹּאמַ֗ר אָֽנָּ֤ה ה’ הֲלוֹא־זֶ֣ה דְבָרִ֗י עַד־הֱיוֹתִי֙ עַל־אַדְמָתִ֔י עַל־כֵּ֥ן קִדַּ֖מְתִּי לִבְרֹ֣חַ תַּרְשִׁ֑ישָׁה כִּ֣י יָדַ֗עְתִּי כִּ֤י אַתָּה֙ אֵֽל־חַנּ֣וּן וְרַח֔וּם אֶ֤רֶךְ אַפַּ֨יִם֙ וְרַב־חֶ֔סֶד וְנִחָ֖ם עַל־הָרָעָֽ

This displeased Jonah greatly, and he was grieved. He prayed to the Lord, saying, “O Lord! Isn’t this just what I said when I was still in my own country? That is why I fled beforehand to Tarshish. For I know that You are a compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in kindness, renouncing punishment.


תהילים ק”ג:ח-י”ד

ח רַח֣וּם וְחַנּ֣וּן ה’ אֶ֖רֶךְ אַפַּ֣יִם וְרַב־חָֽסֶד: ט לֹֽא־לָנֶ֥צַח יָרִ֑יב וְלֹ֖א לְעוֹלָ֣ם יִטּֽוֹר: י לֹ֣א כַֽ֭חֲטָאֵינוּ עָ֣שָׂה לָ֑נוּ וְלֹ֥א כַֽ֝עֲוֹנֹתֵ֗ינוּ גָּ֘מַ֥ל עָלֵֽינוּ: יא כִּ֤י כִגְבֹ֣הַּ שָׁ֭מַיִם עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ גָּ֘בַ֥ר חַ֝סְדּ֗וֹ עַל־יְרֵאָֽיו: יב כִּרְחֹ֣ק מִ֭זְרָח מִֽמַּֽעֲרָ֑ב הִֽרְחִ֥יק מִ֝מֶּ֗נּוּ אֶת־פְּשָׁעֵֽינוּ: יג כְּרַחֵ֣ם אָ֭ב עַל־בָּנִ֑ים רִ֘חַ֥ם ה’ עַל־יְרֵאָֽיו: יד כִּ֣י ה֖וּא יָדַ֣ע יִצְרֵ֑נוּ זָ֝כ֗וּר כִּי־עָ֘פָ֥ר אֲנָֽחְנוּ:

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love. He will not contend forever, or nurse His anger for all time. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor has He treated us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who revere him. As east is far from west, so far has He removed our sins from us. As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who revere Him. For He knows how we are formed; He is mindful that we are dust.

י”ג מדות (Thirteen Attributes of God’s compassion found in siddur – based on Exodus 34)

וַיַּעֲבֹר ה’ עַל פָּנָיו וַיִּקְרָא: ה’ ה’ אֵל, רַחוּם, וְחַנּוּן, אֶֽרֶךְ אַפַּֽיִם, וְרַב חֶֽסֶד, וֶאֱמֶת, נֹצֵר חֶֽסֶד לָאֲלָפִים, נֹשֵׂא עָוֹן, וָפֶֽשַׁע, וְחַטָּאָה, וְנַקֵּה.

Thirteen Attributes of God’s compassion as found in the Siddur

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed: “The Lord! The Lord! A God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.


Homework Assignment #3: What If You Were in the Belly of the Fish? Write Your Own Version of Jonah’s Prayer


Have you ever been confronted by a situation of fear or anxiety?  If you had been swallowed alive by a great fish and had to express yourself to God, what would you write?  Using our discussion of Jonah’s prayer in chapter 2, include in your creative effort some of the elements missing from the actual text of the prophet’s words found in Sefer Yonah.

Your submission should be no shorter than a half page.  Creativity and style count for extra credit!

Homework Assignment 2 — Fate and Lotteries in Jonah



 You are required to answer the first four questions below in writing.   Question #5 is for extra credit.  Each answer should be as long as necessary to address the question (a paragraph or two per question at a minimum).  Care and thoughtfulness in answering the questions will be taken into account!

1.  In what ways were lotteries used in the TaNaKh?  Use your concordance sheet (distributed and explained in class) to find three biblical sources (other than Jonah and the ones listed in question #3) in which lotteries were employed.
2.  There are many connections between Yom Kippur and Jonah.  One of them involves a lottery.  Where in the Torah reading for Yom Kippur is there mention of a lottery (see Leviticus chapter 16 to find the verses)?  What do you make of this connection – what religious message does it teach?
3.  The biblical word for lottery is goral.  Look up the following sources in the TaNakh to see in what other contexts it’s used – is its use in these passages different from the way it’s used in Jonah?
  • Psalm 16:5
  • Proverbs 1:14
  • Jeremiah 13:25

4.   In modern Hebrew goral means “fate” or “destiny”.  In your opinion, is fate something governed by chance, by our actions, or both?  Explain your answer!!

5. EXTRA CREDIT QUESTION:  Read Shirley Jackson’s short story, The Lottery (distributed in class).  Does the story remind you of the various ways in which lotteries were used in the TaNaKh? In what ways is it different?  What point do you think Jackson is trying to make in her disturbing short story?

Homework Assignment 1

Rabbi Jonathan Lubliner
8th Grade Judaic Text Class
Due: Monday, September 8, 2014

Complete the first question (Roman numeral I) on a separate sheet of paper; Answer the second (Roman numeral II) in the space below and on the back of this sheet as needed. You must complete both items I & II.


The word מדרש comes from the root ד.ר.ש meaning “seek” or “expound.” One of the tasks of Midrash is to fill in the blanks of a story where certain detail are omitted by the text. In some cases Midrash tries to resolve a difficulty found in the story (e.g., a contradiction); at other times, Midrash seeks to understand a disturbing aspect of a biblical text, or teach us an important spiritual insight. While we associate Midrash with the period of the Talmud, the truth is anytime we use our religious imagination creatively we are engaging in Midrash!

I. Imagine that YOU are Jonah and are traveling to Yafo to book passage for Tarshish. Why are you running away from God? Did you argue when God told you to go to Nineveh, or did you just defy God’s command without a word? Why don’t you want to go to Nineveh? Share your feelings about not obeying God’s command and/or your decision to sail to Tarshish. Imagine you are writing a letter to a close friend about the situation . . . or having a conversation with a total stranger you happen to meet on the way to Yafo. How would you explain your decision to this person.

Your Midrash should be no more than one page total. You may construct it as a short short story, or as a scene from a play with dialogue.

II. How can a person run away from God? If we can’t literally escape, how do we metaphorically run away from God? What might be a modern day equivalent of trying to escape God’s presence or command? Respond to these questions in the space below and on the back of this sheet.




















For your convenience here’s a chart listing all the books of the Hebrew Bible. Please note the תְּרֵי־עָשָׂר (the Twelve “Minor” Prophets) are listed in red; the חָמֵשׁ מְגִילוֹת are listed in green. This list will come in handy when studying for future quizzes.

You are responsible:

1. for knowing the order of the books of the Torah;

the names of all the other books of the תנ”ך and whether or not they are part of נְבִיאִים or כְּתוּבִים;

3. the names of the חָמֵשׁ מְגִילוֹת and the order in which they appear in כְּתוּבִים.

תּוֹרָה (The Five Books of Moses):

בְּרֵאשִׁית (“In the beginning” Genesis)
שְׁמוֹת (“The names” Exodus)
וַיִּקְרָא (“And He called” Leviticus)
בַּמִדְבַּר (“In the wilderness” Numbers)
דּבָרִים(“The words” Deuteronomy)

נְבִיאִים (The Prophets):

יְהוֹשֻעַ (Joshua)
שׁוֹפְטִים (Judges)
שְׁמוּאֵל (I & II Samuel)
מְלָכִים (I & II Kings)
יְשַׁעְיָהוּ (Isaiah)
יִרְמִיָהוּ (Jeremiah)
יְחֶזקֵאל (Ezekiel)
תְּרֵי־עָשָׂר (“The Twelve” — often considered one book with 12 sections):
עָמוֹס (Amos)
נַחוּם (Nahum)
חֲבַקוּק (Habbakkuk)
חַגַי (Haggai)
זְכַריָה (Zechariah)
מַלְאָכִי (Malachi)

כְּתוּבִים (The Writings):

תְּהִילִים (Psalms)
אִיוֹב (Job)
חָמֵשׁ מְגִילוֹת (The Five Scrolls):
שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים(Song of Songs)
רוּת (Ruth)
קֹהֶלֶת (Ecclesiastes)
עֶזְרָא / נְחֶמְיָה(Ezra / Nehemiah – sometimes treated as one book)
דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים(“The words of the days” I & II Chronicles)


Welcome to the 2014-2015 8th Grade Judaic Text Class!

Monday mornings, 9:00 – 9:38 AM / Wednesday mornings, 9:00 – 9:38 AM

Rabbi Jonathan Lubliner

268-4200, extension 115

I.         What are we going to be studying this year?

Our 8th grade Judaic Text class takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the Hebrew Bible, Midrash and Talmud. Multi-sensory learning is an integral element of this class; at various points during the year art, music, film, creative writing and acting will be introduced into the classroom.

We’ll begin the year by exploring the book of Jonah.  We probably all know the basic outline of the Jonah story, but may not be familiar with the ways in which the rabbis and later generations of Jews understood the meaning of this story.  Is the story of Jonah “true”?  How do we define religious versus historical truth?  What made this book so radical?  How did Christianity and Islam see Jonah (both have their own take on the prophet of the Hebrew Bible).  What does Jonah teach us about the Jewish concept of teshuvah At the end of this unit we will put Jonah “on trial” and see the extent to which we may justify or condemn his behavior.

After we conclude our unit on Jonah, we will move on to learning about rabbinic literature, the constituent components of the Talmud, and acquire the literacy to study a variety of subjects through an encounter with the rabbinic text itself.

II.        What is expected of me in this class?

1. I need to arrive on time!

2. I will bring a copy of the TaNaKh (for the first unit), and a pen or pencil to all classes, regardless of whether or not I think we’ll be using them that day.

3. Rabbi Lubliner will furnish me with all other worksheets and materials. I also understand I’m expected to bring homework sheets or other material when Rabbi Lubliner asks me to do so at the previous class.

4. To get the most out this class, it’s important that I stay focused and participate in class activities and discussions.  Genuine effort counts more than whether or not I know the right answer to a question.

5. There won’t be a ton of homework in this class; Rabbi Lubliner understands how busy I am with so many different things in my life.  I do understand, however, that occasionally there will be work to take home.  When assigned, it’s because the work is important.  Therefore, I’m expected to complete the occasional homework assignment to the best of my ability and to turn it in on time.

6. When I miss a class, I’m responsible for finding out what happened that day, which includes getting hold of any material distributed in class, including homework.  I may choose to:

a)     go on to Rabbi L’s blog on the MJGDS website where all assignments will be listed;

b)     call a classmate to find out what went on;

c)     contact Rabbi Lubliner at the above phone # or e-mail.

Because I have three different ways of finding out what went on in my absence, I understand that the phrase, “I didn’t know we had work because I wasn’t here” won’t be accepted as a legitimate excuse.

7.  I’m not surprised that there will be the occasional quiz.  Rabbi Lubliner gives quizzes not to be mean, but as feedback to see how much I’m absorbing from class.  I promise to do my best to prepare, but also promise not to freak out.  Effort and participation (including the completion of work assignments) are ultimately the biggest (even if not the only) factors in determining my grade for the class.

Rabbi Lubliner has reviewed the above class requirements with me on the first day of class, and gave me the opportunity to ask any questions I might have.  He has also given me a copy of this sheet.  My signature below attests to my understanding and acceptance of these class expectations.


Print Name


Student’s Signature & Date