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Puzzles Tov! - A Book Review

Puzzle Tov! A collection of Jewish Brainteasers, Puzzles and Enigmas to Drive You Totally Mushuggeneh

By Peter Weisz
Paperback, 121 pages
Gefen Publishing House, 2017
40 shekels

Reviewed by Judy Shapiro

Puzzle Tov was a big success with my grandchildren as well as their parents.

The puzzles, conundrums and riddles are divided into 5-star categories, with one star being the easiest: "Name the next letter in the series…ABGDHV." There is a plethora of Jewish elements inserted into the text by the use of objects, names, subjects and the illustrated cover, but one need not be Jewish to appreciate the book. The inclusion, however, makes the book "heimish" (culturally friendly). There are a few riddles which are definitely Diaspora-oriented and need to be explained to most Israelis, such as two consecutive Seder nights and women rabbis. This can even be an educational opportunity for readers to become more familiar with Diaspora communities.

One can cuddle up with the book or sit at the table, as I did, with pen, pencil, paper and computer to figure out the conundrums alone. Making it a family or class activity, even a competitive one, is another level of enjoyment.

However, some of the answers to the riddles are far- fetched and some are based on incorrect Jewish Law (Halacha). For example, the author includes a riddle which implies that albatross is a kosher bird. It isn't.

And then, there's this clever one: "The person who builds it doesn't use it. The person who buys it doesn't use it. The person who uses it doesn't know he's using it. What is it?" A reader from the Diaspora might guess the answer. An Israeli will not.

But all readers will scratch their heads with Sid who is asked how old he is. "I was 32 years old the day before yesterday," he replied, "and I'll be 35 next year." How could this be possible?

Buy the book and find out. 



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