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 the name for the vindication of God’s justice despite the existence of evil?
 Deus ex machina


Question 2. 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 3. According to Maimonides, what is the worst punishment for sinners?


Question 4. Which approach to a painful experience does Rabbi Harold Kushner recommend?
 Pretending it didn't happen
 Dwelling in the pain
 Asking, "What did I do to deserve this?"
 Asking, "Now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?"


Question 5. Is the character of Job (from the Book of Job) a Jew?
 We are unsure


Question 6. What is the subject of the well-known Jewish book on suffering, For Those I Loved?
 The Holocaust
 Becoming religious
 Stopping being religious


Question 7. What do traditional Jewish sources teach about Hell?
 There is no afterlife in Judaism
 There is a heaven and a hell, similar to the Christian division
 There is an incorporeal "middle ground" called Gehennom, or purgatory
 There is an afterlife, but only for good people


Question 8. Which of the following thinkers first posited that both good and evil forces emanate from God?
 Mordecai Kaplan
 Rav Kook
 Rabbi Jill Jacobs
 Rabbi Harold Kushner
 Rabbi Akiva


Question 9. 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 10. Who called evil "the most difficult matter…with which scholars of all ages, people and tongues have struggled"?
 Rabbi Harold Kushner