My Jewish Learning

Suffering & Evil Quiz

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

Question 1. What did Abraham Isaac Kook think about the relationship between God and evil?
 That evil was the opposite of God
 That evil did not exist
 That, for some reason, God created the force of evil
 That one day God would destroy all evil in the world


Question 2. What is the subject of the well-known Jewish book on suffering, For Those I Loved?
 The Holocaust
 Becoming religious
 Stopping being religious


Question 3. 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 4. True or false: The concept of reward and punishment is the Torah's explanation for the existence of suffering.


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


Question 7. 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 8. 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 9. How does Process Theology understand the Holocaust?
 It posits that God had no role in the Holocaust; that it was all human beings
 It rethinks traditional notions of a beneficent and providential God
 It rejects the idea of God in the first place
 It suggests that God's role was to save those who survived the Holocaust


Question 10. 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"