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Marking Miracles

Faigy Peritzman

The miracles are there, but our eyes are blind to them

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

"F


ire shall be kept burning on the Mizbeiach continuously…”

(Vayikra 6:6).

 

We’re commanded to light a fire on the Mizbeiach even though a fire descended from Heaven to consume the korban. This is because when Hashem performs great miracles, He does so in a way that makes them appear to be natural occurrences. 

For example, at Kri’as Yam Suf, it says (Shemos 14:21): “And Hashem caused a strong east wind to blow the whole night, which caused the sea to move back and turn into dry land and the waters to split.” It could therefore be assumed that Kri’as Yam Suf was a natural occurrence.

The Sefer Hachinuch points out that miracles are hidden due to the lowliness of the recipients in relation to the greatness of Hashem (Rav Yaakov Neiman, Darchei Mussar).

It was one of those winter days when it was raining cats, dogs, and elephants, the kind of storm my mother-in-law dubbed a monsoon misery.

But I was in a great mood despite the wretched rain, as I was en route to the airport to pick up my mother.

People often say that if Hashem were to make open miracles for us as He did in the days of old, it would bring everyone closer to Him. This is wrong. Miracles occur every day before our eyes, we just don’t allow ourselves to see them.

Hashem doesn’t perform open miracles without concealing them behind the veil of nature, because, as the pasuk tells us (Shemos 33:20): “No man shall see Me and live.”

We say in Shemoneh Esreh: “For Your miracles that are with us every day.” The miracles are there; it’s our eyes that are blind to them.

Suddenly my world went splat. The storm slammed into my windshield and my wiper flew off in a gust of wind.

Waves of water washed over the windshield, effectively blinding me. I eased my car onto the shoulder of the road and opened my door for a better look. Within seconds I was soaked, but lo and behold, there was my wayward wiper, jammed into the crack of the hood. I managed to extract it, but saw it was missing the screw and bolt that connected it to the mechanism. Now what? There was no way I could drive in this weather without wipers, and I had no idea how to reattach it without a screw and bolt.

I climbed back into the car, bedraggled and wet and baffled as to how to proceed. My mother was landing soon, and if I waited for roadside assistance in such weather, it was bound to be an all-day affair.

The Chiddushei Harim points out that after Kri’as Yam Suf, the pasuk says (Shemos 14:31): “And Israel saw… and they believed.” Despite the fact that they saw, they still needed emunah to believe, because it was possible to chalk it up to nature.

In order to distinguish the abstract miracle through the cloak of nature, we need an extra degree of wisdom. It’s essential that we develop a spiritual outlook that recognizes the miracles in our lives. Most importantly, we need emunah to be able to acknowledge that the events we are seeing are miracles.

I started driving on the shoulder of the road, inching my way forward with my hazard lights blinking. A few feet later I came upon an exit. Still driving like a snail, I exited slowly and found myself right next to a run-down roadside mechanic.

Amazed at my good fortune in locating this savior in middle of a storm, I jumped out and approached the single man puttering around behind the hood of a Honda.

“Excuse me. Do you have something to attach this wiper back to the windshield?”  Even as I asked the question, I was doubting my misplaced optimism in assuming this ramshackle roadside repair shop would have the exact part I needed.

The man grunted, walked over to a drawer and extracted a piece that looked remarkably like the one I had lost.

He then proceeded to attach my wiper tightly in its proper place. When I reached into my pocket to pay him, he grunted again, waved me away and went back to his puttering.

I got back into the car, switched on the wipers, and drove sedately to the airport, all the while marveling at my Maker Who had made this mechanic magically materialize at the moment when I so badly needed a miracle.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 635)

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