My Jewish Learning

Suffering & Evil Quiz

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



Question 1. 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 2. 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 3. True or false: The concept of reward and punishment is the Torah's explanation for the existence of suffering.
 True
 False

 

Question 4. True or false: In traditional Jewish thought, Satan does not exist.
 True
 False

 

Question 5. According to Judaism, why do bad things happen to good people?
 We cannot know
 The people suffering might seem "good" but they are in fact being punished for sins they committed
 Those who suffer now will be rewarded in the afterlife
 Jewish thinkers have advanced all of these answers

 

Question 6. 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 7. In Reeve Robert Brenner's study documenting Holocaust survivors' faith in God, what results were found?
 Survivors were far more likely to believe in God
 Survivors were far less likely to believe in God
 The Holocaust did not extremely affect survivors' belief in God

 

Question 8. 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 9. True or false: For Jews, the problem of suffering is twofold, including a universal problem and a particular problem.
 True
 False

 

Question 10. 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