My Jewish Learning

Suffering & Evil Quiz

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

Question 1. 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 2. Who said that "in strict covenant theology, there can be no innocent sufferers"?
 Richard Rubenstein
 Elie Wiesel
 Shimon Peres
 Viktor Frankl


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


Question 5. According to Saadiah Gaon, which of these is not a purpose of human suffering?
 None of the above


Question 6. Who is credited with beginning the post-Holocaust theological discussion in the West?
 Elie Wiesel
 Emmanuel Levinas
 Martin Buber
 President Harry S. Truman
 None of these


Question 7. 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 8. 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 9. Who wrote the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People?
 Blu Greenberg
 Rabbi Louis Jacobs
 Rabbi Harold Kushner
 Gertrude Berg


Question 10. 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