My Jewish Learning

Suffering & Evil Quiz

Jewish thinkers throughout the ages have asked: Why do bad things happen to good people?



Question 1. What is Berkovits and Cohen's “Free Will Defense" argument about the source of evil and suffering?
 Human evil is the necessary and ever present possibility entailed by the reality of human freedom
 Because humans have free will, nothing is truly evil
 Because free will does not exist, God is culpable for all sins
 Humans have too much freedom, and only religion may restrict it

 

Question 2. Which of the following did Mordecai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, believe?
 God is responsible for creating both good and evil forces in the universe
 The term "God" represents "the power for salvation" in the universe
 Our idea of God is merely a representation for that which we consider to be good
 Evil is merely a human construction for that which we cannot understand

 

Question 3. What is the philosophical conclusion reached by the Book of Job?
 Job suffered in this world in order to achieve a reward in the next
 Humans are just toys to be played with by God and the angels
 It is fruitless for humans to try to figure out why God causes some righteous people to suffer
 All of these
 None of these

 

Question 4. How does the Bahir, the earliest kabbalistic work, describe the sefirah (God’s emanation) of "power"?
 "The penitential sefirah"
 "That which has the name of evil"
 "The sefirah of Satan"
 "The compassionate one"

 

Question 5. What did Abraham Isaac Kook think about the relationship between God and evil?
 That evil was the opposite of God
 That evil did not exist
 That, for some reason, God created the force of evil
 That one day God would destroy all evil in the world

 

Question 6. According to the Book of Ezekiel, can someone be punished for the deeds of his or her ancestors?
 Yes
 No

 

Question 7. According to Saadiah Gaon, which of these is not a purpose of human suffering?
 Education
 Punishment
 Testing
 Restitution
 None of the above

 

Question 8. Who said that "in strict covenant theology, there can be no innocent sufferers"?
 Richard Rubenstein
 Elie Wiesel
 Shimon Peres
 Viktor Frankl

 

Question 9. According to the Bible, what did God promise to the Jews at Mt. Sinai, if they followed God's ways?
 Rewards if they followed God, suffering if they did not
 Only rewards
 Only suffering
 Nothing

 

Question 10. Who wrote the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People?
 Blu Greenberg
 Rabbi Louis Jacobs
 Rabbi Harold Kushner
 Gertrude Berg