Miracles Happen Even Today
Do I believe in miracles? Absolutely! Unfortunately, there is a tendency to think that miracles only happened in the Bible; the ten plagues, the splitting of the Red Sea, talking donkeys. Those things only happened in the Torah. If the story of Hanukkah teaches us anything, it is that our tradition continued to believe in miracles even after Biblical times.
Today I think understanding miracles is all about perception. It is about how we see events unfolding before our eyes. We can choose to see these happenings as simple natural processes, or we can choose to recognize the Divine in those moments. Whether it is witnessing childbirth, surviving near-death experiences, finding cures to viruses, or even observing a sunrise, it is the lens through which we choose to see these events that allows us to perceive them as miracles.
One of the blessings that we recite over the lighting of the Hanukkah candles is “Praised are You Lord our God who accomplished miracles for our ancestors in ancient days, at that time.”
Interestingly, in our modern prayerbook, Sim Shalom, the editors made a small but significant change in the Hebrew of this blessing. They added one letter, a vav, to the last phrase. Vav here means “and.” Now the end of the blessing reads, “who accomplished miracles for our ancestors in ancient days, AND at THIS time” – our time.
With this new version of the blessing, we come to acknowledge that miracles happen even in our day, to us. We simply need to take the time to see those miracles in our lives.
As we recite the blessings this week on Thursday night over the lighting of the first candle, may its light help remind us of the wonder of the Divine in our lives.