Thursday, January 19, 2012

Parashat Va'era: "Small and big Miracles"

 Seen in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem

Photo: Miriam Woelke 

At the beginning of this week's Torah Parasha, Parashat VA'ERA, G - d informs Moshe that the forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov only new one of His names: E - L  SHAD - DAI. According to the Ramban (Nachmanides), G - d acts under the name of E - L SHAD - DAI when He causes a "minor" miracle. Meaning, a miracles not causing a change in nature. Instead, the miracle occurs in accordance with nature and, many times, people don't even notice it. The forefather did. They did notice smaller miracles when they were saved from famines or the worst enemies and didn't ask for THE big miracle where G - d appears like the super hero. 

Moshe, on the other hand, got to know G - d under the highest name: Y - H - V - H. According to the ZOHAR, this is the name G - d used when He created the universe. However, there are opinions that our forefathers knew all kinds of different names of G - d but didn't ask for anything else but E - L SHAD - DAI. They simply didn't see a need for a huge almighty G - d but rather lived their lives. 

In the times of Moshe, G - d appeared under a different name in order to change nature and let bigger miracles happen. Miracles the whole world would know about, as they were obvious for everyone. The "Ten Plagues", for instance or "Yetziat Mitzraim - The Exodus". The Man or Miriam's Well in the desert. Miracles we can not even imagine today, let alone grasp. 

However, until today we are making the mistake of searching for huge and visible miracles. G - d should act and show us something impressive and not only providing us with enough food. Instead of acknowledging and being grateful for smaller miracles happening to each of us on a daily basis, we are searching for a G - dly lottery win. Another splitting of the sea instead of thanking G - d for granting us another day of life or not to be run over by a car. For going into the supermarket and buying some food instead of sitting in the street begging. 

Where is our appreciation today ? In the days of Internet, Smartphones and Youtube ? We are striving for the perfect Internet speed, more technology and a convenient life but what we don't see are all those tiny little miracles happening to us every day. Surfing through Facebook won't bring us satisfaction and happiness but sitting down and thinking about life and how everything somehow worked out and makes sense, does. When we want to make a phone call, we don't need the latest iPhone but any phone. Even the one for a few Shekels or Dollars. The same applies to miracles: I don't need the most gigantic miracle when a little money for a meal is enough.

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