Afikoman For The Brain

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Afikoman For The Brain or: Four Post-Seder Questions

Guest post by Shlomo Karni

Shlomo Karni was Professor of Electrical Engineering and Religious Studies at University of New Mexico until his retirement in 1999. His books include Dictionary of Basic Biblical Hebrew:Hebrew-English (Jerusalem: Carta, 2002).

  1. Where do you find the words וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב at the end of the sentence?
  2. Where do you find five consecutive verbs, same tense and same person?
  3. Where do you find five consecutive words, each starting with the same letter?
  4. (General Hebrew) What is arguably the word with the highest גימטריא
    value? Legitimate prefixes and suffixes are allowed, but strict grammatical
    spelling must be observed, e.g., “my heart” = לִבִּי , not לִיבִּי

Happy hunting! Answers to be added to the bottom of this post after a full day.


Answers:

  1. In the story of Jacob’s wresting with the unnamed man, Gen. 32:28
  2. When Esau sells his birthright to Jacob, Gen. 25: 34
  3. In the Song of the Sea, Ex. 15:9 – the first 5 words
  4. וְלִכְשֶתִּשְתַּתֵּקְנָה = “and when they (fem., pl.) will fall silent”, has the value
    of 2,011

About Shlomo Karni

20 comments

  1. Lawrence Kaplan

    1. Gen 32:28

    Re 3: Why only five words? Ish el ahiv aval asheimim anahnu.

  2. Lawrence Kaplan

    2. Gen 25:34.

  3. 2 and 3 (Breishit 25:34): וַיֹּאכַל וַיֵּשְׁתְּ, וַיָּקָם וַיֵּלַךְ; וַיִּבֶז

  4. #4: תִשְׂתָּרֵר (Bamidbar 16:13)

  5. #3: Song at the Sea, Exodus 15:9 אָמַר אוֹיֵב אֶרְדֹּף אַשִּׂיג, אֲחַלֵּק שָׁלָל; תִּמְלָאֵמוֹ נַפְשִׁי אָרִיק חַרְבִּי, תּוֹרִישֵׁמוֹ יָדִי.

  6. #4 is האחשדרפנים, I think.

  7. Oh, saw Phil. Well, perhaps it’s the shortest shoresh.

    Of course, it’s a Persian word.

  8. Whoops, longest shoresh.

  9. Wait, what are the rules? Chumash, Tanach, or anything else?

  10. Lawrence Kaplan

    To be honest, my answer to 3, namely, Gen.42:21, I remember hearing years ago, as I also heard Phil’s answer, Exod. 15:9. The answers to 1 and 2, I figured out myself.

  11. Another 6 א in Shemot 3:6
    And 8 ו in Bemidbar 32:3 and Devarim 16:14
    And 10! in Divrei Hayamim 2 31:13

    Admittedly I used my Bar Ilan

  12. Lawrence Kaplan

    Are there any five consecutive words beginning with same letter aside from alef or vav?

  13. 5 yuds in Haazinu
    5 ב in Shemot 9:3

    I haven’t tried every letter, but hopefully have got the ball rolling

  14. Lawrence Kaplan

    Note how with reference to bet and vav the examples are, not surprisingly, all prefixes. I liked the “yod” example in Deut. 32:10.

  15. Yes – I think that we often pass over the Pentateuch’s pure poetic power

  16. LongTimeReader

    Guess on #4 – בראשית.

  17. 12 Kafs in yeshaya 24:2!

  18. Lawrence Kaplan

    Shmuel: Great example. But note, again they are all prefixes.

    Dr. Karni: Thanks for the “afikoman” quiz. But, as we have shown, there are more and better answers to question 3 than yours. Perhaps you might acknowledge this, along with as some general acknowledgment of those who took up your challenge.

  19. Thank you to all those who took up my challenge!

  20. P.S.: To Shimon – the statement was “General Hebrew”, not limited to any book(s) in particular.

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