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The Greatest Miracle of All

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

Library » Philosophy » Miracles | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Miracles, miracles, and more miracles. That is the story of the Bible. Sticks transforming into serpents, water turning into blood, seas splitting, walls of cities collapsing, etc.

“Fairy tales,” declares the agnostic. “Isn’t it so convenient that all these miracles happened more than three thousand years ago? I’ll believe it when I see it with my own eyes! Why didn’t G-d send Ten Plagues upon the Nazis? What’s with all the terrorists who blow up Jewish men, women and children? Did G-d perhaps forget how to make miracles?!”

The believing Jew, too, asks the same questions – albeit in a more respectful tone. Yes, he understand that G-d controls nature as well as the super-natural, but why did G-d choose to flip the switch, deciding to abandon the course of miracles, and run the world entirely through the laws of nature?

The Book of Exodus introduces us to the era of openly nature-defying miracles, an era which lasted a millennium. The Scriptures are filled with stories of prophets and miracles; in fact, it seems that the laws of nature were temporarily defunct. This era ended with the destruction of the 1st Holy Temple. Afterward, there were a few brief glimpses of the supernatural – such as the miracle of Chanukah – but after a few centuries, these, too, vanished. For the past 2000 years we live in a double exile: physically, we were banished from our homeland, and spiritually, we cannot perceive even the slightest trace of the G-dly hand which creates and directs all of creation.

For the past 2000 years we live in a double exile: physically, we were banished from our homeland, and spiritually, we cannot perceive even the slightest trace of the G-dly hand which creates and directs all of creation
[In the Amidah prayer, we thank G-d for “Your miracles which are with us daily, and for Your continual wonders and beneficences.” However, this is a reference to the miracles which accompany us daily, but are shrouded in nature. As the Talmud says, on the verse “He Who does wonders alone,” “[even] the beneficiary of the miracle does not recognize the miracle.”
Additionally, in every generation, until this very day, there are Tzaddikim who due to their connection to G-d are capable of transcending nature and performing miracles – even miracles which are beyond the boundaries of nature. However, these miracles tend to be “localized,” affecting individuals, or at times a community. These cannot be compared to Biblical miracles which were witnessed by entire nations.]


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RELATED CATEGORIES

History » Egypt
History » Exile

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Mitzvot
Plural form of Mitzvah. Commandments of G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Chanukah
An eight day mid-winter holiday marking: 1) The miraculous defeat of the mighty Syrian-Greek armies by the undermanned Maccabis in the year 140 BCE. 2) Upon their victory, the oil in the Menorah, sufficient fuel for one night only, burned for eight days and nights.
Amidah
Highlight of every prayer, recited silently while standing. Weekday Amidah consists of nineteen blessings, Sabbath and holiday Amidah contains seven blessings.
Adam
The first man, created by G-d on the sixth day of creation. He was banished from the Garden of Eden after eating from the forbidden fruit of the forbidden knowledge. Died in 2830 BCE.
Tzaddikim
Plural form of Tzaddik. A Tzaddik is a saint, or righteous person.
Exodus
1. The miraculous departure of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage in 1312 BCE. 2. The second of the Five Books of Moses. This book describes the aforementioned Exodus, the giving of the Torah, and the erection of the Tabernacle.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.