My Jewish Learning

Suffering & Evil Quiz

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

Question 1. Which of the following claims did Maimonides deny in his philosophical writings?
 God is perfectly good
 God is all-powerful
 God is all-knowing
 Evil is real


Question 2. According to the Talmud, when Rabbi Akiba was tortured by the Romans at the end of his life, what did he do?
 He repeated the Shema prayer again and again
 He closesd his eyes and ignored the pain
 He mystically enabled himself to explode into fire
 He embraced the pain and redirected it for good


Question 3. The problem of suffering and evil took on an unprecedented role in Jewish thought after what event?
 The giving of the Ten Commandments
 The editing of the Mishnah
 The Holocaust
 The Protestant reformation


Question 4. According to the Book of Ezekiel, can someone be punished for the deeds of his or her ancestors?


Question 5. 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 6. The phrase "freedom is a two-edged sword" is most characteristic of which Jewish philosophy?
 Process Theology
 The Free Will Defense
 None of these


Question 7. 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 8. 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


Question 9. How does the Bahir, the earliest kabbalistic work, describe the sefirah (Godís emanation) of "power"?
 "The penitential sefirah"
 "That which has the name of evil"
 "The sefirah of Satan"
 "The compassionate one"


Question 10. Which of these is an interpretation of the biblical punishment of karet?
 Spiritual excommunication
 Dying before the age of 60
 Dying childless
 All of the above
 None of the above