Tuesday, January 19, 2010



In particular many parts of haredi society are very much into miracles. Some argue that Sephardic Jews are those being more superstitious than others. Nevertheless, when you talk to Haredim they always let you know about recent miracles. Sometimes in a very stereotype way:
"G - d has been performing a miracle for us by saving our (haredi) neighbourhoods from terrorist attacks because we keep the Mitzvot".

G - d created the universe in form of miracles; above nature as we understand it. The Rambam (Maimonides, 1135 - 1204) does not deny the existence of miracles and, as most of us know, the Rambam (Nachmanides, 1194 -1270) was very much into miracles. It was him explaining that the words of the Prophets such as Yeshayahu (Isiah) 11:6 are to be understood in a literal sense. Yes, there will be changes in the animal kingdom in the times of Meshiach. Other commentators state that the verse in Yeshayahu is nothing else but a metaphor standing for peace among the nations and the Jews.

In Chassidut, it is the Zaddik (righteous) having the power to perform miracles. But what really is a miracle and what is nature ? Don't we sometimes consider a certain occurence quickly as a miracle because it is just so unnatural and unbelievable ?
I think it was the Rambam saying that when G - d created the world, He already wove into each thing the potential to behave supernaturally. Example: When G - d created water, He invested with it the power to split, and this potential became reality when the Israelites left Egypt, as we will see in next week's Parashat Beshlach.

Various miracles only took place on a temporary basis. Once, and for a very short period of time. Afterwards the miracle was over, everything went back to normal (nature) and the incident never repeated itself.

The Talmud Tractate Pesachim 54a teaches us that ten things were created at twilight of the first Shabbat eve. Among others the Man (Manna), the donkey's mouth (see Parashat Balak) or the opening of the earth's mouth where Korach stood.
Meaning that those occurences didn't take place as a spontaneous miracle but had been planned from the time of creation; interwoven by G - d into His creation and waiting for the special moment to take place. "There is nothing new under the sun" (Kohelet - Ecclesiastes) hinting to G - d's involvement and plan.

It says that miracles do take place but the question is how we relate to them. Do we take everything literally and get excited or are (also) able to recognize the hidden miracles in the cause of nature interwoven by the creator ?

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