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 the Sitra Ahra?
 "The Other Side," a reference to the forces of evil
 "That Which Protects from Evil"
 "The Talisman," a reference to writings about suffering
 "The Second Door," a reference to Purgatory


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 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 4. What is Berkovits and Cohen's “Free Will Defense" argument about the source of evil and suffering?
 Human evil is the necessary and ever present possibility entailed by the reality of human freedom
 Because humans have free will, nothing is truly evil
 Because free will does not exist, God is culpable for all sins
 Humans have too much freedom, and only religion may restrict it


Question 5. Which of the following thinkers first posited that both good and evil forces emanate from God?
 Mordecai Kaplan
 Rav Kook
 Rabbi Jill Jacobs
 Rabbi Harold Kushner
 Rabbi Akiva


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 these offenses was not penalized by karet?
 Failing to be circumcised
 Eating leaven on Passover
 Committing incest


Question 8. The problem of justifying God despite the existence of evil is called:
 None of the above


Question 9. 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 10. Who said that "in strict covenant theology, there can be no innocent sufferers"?
 Richard Rubenstein
 Elie Wiesel
 Shimon Peres
 Viktor Frankl