My Jewish Learning

Suffering & Evil Quiz

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

Question 1. Does Judaism believe in a system of reward and punishment, according to the Bible?
 It does not explicitly say in the Bible


Question 2. True or false: The concept of reward and punishment is the Torah's explanation for the existence of suffering.


Question 3. Is the character of Job (from the Book of Job) a Jew?
 We are unsure


Question 4. What do traditional Jewish sources teach about Hell?
 There is no afterlife in Judaism
 There is a heaven and a hell, similar to the Christian division
 There is an incorporeal "middle ground" called Gehennom, or purgatory
 There is an afterlife, but only for good people


Question 5. True or false: For Jews, the problem of suffering is twofold, including a universal problem and a particular problem.


Question 6. Which of the following claims did Maimonides deny in his philosophical writings?
 God is perfectly good
 God is all-powerful
 God is all-knowing
 Evil is real


Question 7. 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 8. 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 9. 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 10. The problem of justifying God despite the existence of evil is called:
 None of the above