My Jewish Learning

Suffering & Evil Quiz

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

Question 1. The problem of justifying God despite the existence of evil is called:
 None of the above


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 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 4. True or false: For Jews, the problem of suffering is twofold, including a universal problem and a particular problem.


Question 5. Who called evil "the most difficult matter…with which scholars of all ages, people and tongues have struggled"?
 Rabbi Harold Kushner


Question 6. 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 7. Who is credited with beginning the post-Holocaust theological discussion in the West?
 Elie Wiesel
 Emmanuel Levinas
 Martin Buber
 President Harry S. Truman
 None of these


Question 8. What was the reaction of the Jewish philosophical community in the first 20 years following the Holocaust?
 That the state of affairs in the world created the evil of the Holocaust
 That the Holocaust was not itself evil--what was problematic was the human desire for cruelty
 There was no forceful reaction--nobody knew how to deal with the Holocaust
 That the Holocaust was, in some way, indirectly the fault of the victims


Question 9. Which of these offenses was not penalized by karet?
 Failing to be circumcised
 Eating leaven on Passover
 Committing incest


Question 10. 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