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


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


Question 8. True or false: In traditional Jewish thought, Satan does not exist.


Question 9. According to the Book of Ezekiel, can someone be punished for the deeds of his or her ancestors?


Question 10. 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