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    A life full of miracles – Ekev

    You reach a river and the torrent is raging. A giant hand comes from nowhere and lifts you across. Will you not believe in miracles ever afterwards?

    You are starving and have no idea where the next meal is coming from. Suddenly a table appears, laden with more food than you can possibly eat. Will this not convince you that miracles really happen?

    The fact is that miracles do occur; an example is someone I know whose life was saved so miraculously during his time in the air force that he became a fully observant Jew.

    The Torah says, “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you but to fear the Lord your God?” (Deut. 10:12). “Is the fear of heaven such a small thing?” asks the Talmud, and the answer is, “Yes, for Moses it was a small thing” (Ber. 33b). So many obvious miracles happened for Moses and the Children of Israel that to believe and to fear God was not difficult.

    But for our generation? Weren’t there times when we were desperate for a miracle, and none came? Yes, the rabbis do say, ein som’chin al ha-nes, Don’t rely on miracles” Pes. 64b), but surely God who saw the affliction of the Israelites in Egypt and led them forth with a mighty arm could have intervened when our generation needed Him?

    To that question there are no easy answers. But nonetheless we have to acknowledge things that at first sight might not have seemed to be miraculous. For instance: though one third of our people perished in the Holocaust, the Jewish people survived, and Judaism survived… Israel came into being, and has surmounted so many obstacles (in the late 1940s, Ben Gurion asked Rav Herzog why God did not send a miracle to preserve the State, and the rabbi answered, “Ben Gurion, I regard you as one of God’s miracles!’)…

    Despite the fears of many, Torah study is alive and well, and more people are studying Judaism than ever before… The ba’al t’shuvah movement has grown and grown, and more and more Jews are finding their way back… Jews in the former Soviet Union can, in spite of all their problems, be Jews again…

    Reflecting on the creation of Zionism, Theodor Herzl prophesied, “A miraculous generation of Jews shall arise!” His prophecy has come true, and thank God we are the generation that has seen miracles and achieved them.

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