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 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 2. According to Judaism, why do bad things happen to good people?
 We cannot know
 The people suffering might seem "good" but they are in fact being punished for sins they committed
 Those who suffer now will be rewarded in the afterlife
 Jewish thinkers have advanced all of these answers


Question 3. 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 4. 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 5. 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 6. Why is the question of suffering and evil unique among theological and philosophical problems?
 It confronts us almost daily
 Jewish history is replete with tragedy, both individual and communal
 The Holocaust significantly impacted the discourse around this problem
 All of the above


Question 7. What is the subject of the well-known Jewish book on suffering, For Those I Loved?
 The Holocaust
 Becoming religious
 Stopping being religious


Question 8. What is Rabbi Harold Kushner's belief about "When Bad Things Happen to Good People"?
 Certain people may seem outwardly good but be evil on the inside
 God does not cause our misfortunes, because not everything that happens in the world is due to God's will
 Bad things that happen in this lifetime are advance repayment for good things that will happen in the next
 All of these
 None of these


Question 9. Which of these texts was the first to ask the question "Why do bad things happen to good people"?
 A bestselling self-help guide
 The Book of Leviticus
 The Book of Job
 The Book of Isaiah
 The Book of Daniel


Question 10. Who said that "in strict covenant theology, there can be no innocent sufferers"?
 Richard Rubenstein
 Elie Wiesel
 Shimon Peres
 Viktor Frankl