My Jewish Learning

Suffering & Evil Quiz

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

Question 1. 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 2. 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 3. According to Saadiah Gaon, which of these is not a purpose of human suffering?
 None of the above


Question 4. Is the character of Job (from the Book of Job) a Jew?
 We are unsure


Question 5. 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


Question 6. True or false: In the Talmud, the rabbis tend to focus on theological solutions to the problem of evil, rather than the human response to suffering.


Question 7. 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 8. What is karet?
 When a particular sin is punishable by death
 The biblical penalty of being "cut off from the people"
 A certain kind of justice meted out in biblical courts
 The term for one who has been sentenced to death but has not yet been executed


Question 9. True or false: The concept of reward and punishment is the Torah's explanation for the existence of suffering.


Question 10. Which of these offenses was not penalized by karet?
 Failing to be circumcised
 Eating leaven on Passover
 Committing incest