Categorized | Lighter Side, Zimmerman_Mark

Jewish trivia quiz: Solar eclipses

By Mark D. Zimmerman

Mark D. Zimmerman

MELVILLE, New York — Some rabbinic sages say that solar eclipses are bad for gentiles, while lunar eclipses are bad for Jews (based on the idea that gentiles follow a solar calendar, while Jews follow a lunar calendar). In the Gemara Sukkah 29a, it says “When the sun is eclipsed it is a bad omen for the entire world.” The Gemara goes on to state that there are four circumstances that lead to the occurrence of a solar eclipse. One circumstance is when a head judge dies and is not sufficiently eulogized. Another is homosexual relations. The third circumstance is when a betrothed woman yells for help when she is being raped, and no one responds to help her. What is the fourth event that would lead to the bad omen of a solar eclipse, according to the Gemara?

A. When hackers released this season’s Game of Thrones episodes before they aired on HBO.

B. When twin brothers are killed at the same time.

C. When domesticated animals, such as cows and goats, are mistreated by being beaten or starved.

D. When someone defiles the Temple in Jerusalem by entering during a state of impurity (for example, someone who has touched a dead body and not yet cleansed at the mikveh).

E. When Steve Bannon is angry (which explains today’s solar eclipse).

Link to answer:

Zimmerman is the author of the Rashi, Rambam and Ramalamadingdong series of Jewish trivia e-books. Learn more at

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