My Jewish Learning

Suffering & Evil Quiz

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

Question 1. 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 2. Which of these offenses was not penalized by karet?
 Failing to be circumcised
 Eating leaven on Passover
 Committing incest


Question 3. What is Rabbi Harold Kushner's belief about "When Bad Things Happen to Good People"?
 Certain people may seem outwardly good but be evil on the inside
 God does not cause our misfortunes, because not everything that happens in the world is due to God's will
 Bad things that happen in this lifetime are advance repayment for good things that will happen in the next
 All of these
 None of these


Question 4. 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 5. 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 6. 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 7. 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 8. 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 9. True or false: In traditional Jewish thought, Satan does not exist.


Question 10. According to Maimonides, what is the worst punishment for sinners?