How G-d can allow bad things to happen to good people
The biblical story read yesterday in the synagogue in Israel was called Chukos, the story of the "red Cow". It is a complicated story dealing with death and reincarnation. It also includes the story of how Moses was not able to come to the promised land, because he hit the rock that was supposed to give water instead of speaking to it. We are to learn from that story that every human being has free choice. Sometimes the consequences of our choices are painful and sometimes the consequences of other people hurt or kill us. No one understands how it appears that G-d left us in the holocaust, but this torah portion teaches us that since all humans have free choice, G-d doesn't always stand in the way of people that want to hurt Jews. One has to learn therefore that G-d helps those that help themselves. This is a simplification of a very complex torah portion, but it does answer the question of how there can be a loving, supportive G-d that allows man to make his own choices. Choose wisely. Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave
Noah's Ark, splitting of Red Sea appear in newfound mosaic at ancient synagogue Huqoq excavations in Galilee reveal more parts of 'most extensive series of biblical stories' from 5th century, archaeologist says
Excavations at a late-Roman era synagogue in the Galilee have unearthed more staggering mosaics depicting biblical scenes, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced this week.
The ongoing dig at the 5th-century CE Huqoq Synagogue has previously uncovered brilliant floors featuring people, beasts and heroes from antiquity never before seen in ancient Jewish houses of worship.
The excavation carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority and UNC is now in its sixth summer and has revealed even more incredible artwork.
The new sections of the decorated floor feature two unmistakable biblical scenes: Noah's Ark and the parting of the Red Sea from the Exodus story.
"The panel with Noah's Ark depicts an ark and pairs of animals, including elephants, leopards, donkeys, snakes, bears, lions, ostriches, camels, sheep and goats," the university said in a statement. "The scene of the parting of the Red Sea shows Pharaoh's soldiers being swallowed by large fish, surrounded by overturned chariots with horses and chariot drivers."
"These scenes are very rare in ancient synagogues," Jodi Magness, the UNC professor who has headed the dig, said in a statement. "The only other examples that have been found are at Gerasa/Jerash in Jordan and Mopsuestia/Misis in Turkey (Noah's Ark), and at Khirbet Wadi Hamam in Israel and Dura Europos in Syria (the parting of the Red Sea)."
The first section of the mosaic floor, found in 2012, depicted Samson setting the Philistines' fields ablaze with flaming foxes, and in 2013 a panel was revealed showing Samson carrying off the gates of Gaza. In 2013 Magness's team discovered the first non-biblical scene featuring elephants, possibly showing Alexander the Great's army, the full extent of which was uncovered in 2014. In 2015 a Hebrew inscription surrounded by human figures, animals and mythological creatures including cupids came to light.
This is by far the most extensive series of biblical stories ever found decorating the mosaic floor of an ancient synagogue," said Magness. "The arrangement of the mosaics in panels on the floor brings to mind the synagogue at Dura Europos in Syria, where an array of biblical stories is painted in panels on the walls."
The mosaics have been removed from the site for preservation, researchers said.
Magness's team plans to conduct additional excavations at Huqoq in 2017.