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


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. 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 5. What is the name for the vindication of Godís justice despite the existence of evil?
 Deus ex machina


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. Does Judaism believe in a system of reward and punishment, according to the Bible?
 It does not explicitly say in the Bible


Question 8. 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 9. 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 10. True or false: The concept of reward and punishment is the Torah's explanation for the existence of suffering.