Sunday, January 21, 2007

miracles do happen

Someone asked me last week why God didn't show his face these days the way he did in Biblical times. No plagues, no walls falling down, no nothing. Just the sun coming up every morning and going down every evening.

I gave him a bunch of answers, such as the miracles occur every day, we just have to see them. As examples, I gave him the tsunami and the 6 day war. He thought those were too natural looking and were not on the same level as what used to be.

I was looking through this weeks parsha, Vaera, where the plagues against Egypt started and I noticed a very interesting pattern. All of the wonders that God was doing in Egypt, starting from the very first one, were all copyable on one level or another by Paroahs magicians (except for the lice). He started off by throwing the stick on the floor and it turned into an alligator. The magicians then did the exact same thing. Moshe and Aharon were able to "outmagic" them each time. If God was trying to show miracles, why didn't he start off with things that the magicians could not do?

It seems clear to me that all the miracles that occurred back in the time of the bible could be explained by the norms of the times. It was not an obvious miracle that everyone stepped back and said "this is God."
When the walls of Jericho fell down, the Jews first walked around 7 times blowing a shofar. People who did not want to see miracles could have easily said that the Jews found the weak spot in the walls as they walked around it 7 times.

In short, we only see them as clear miracles, because it was laid out for us as such. To casual observers, they all may have looked mike natural, or normal supernatural events.

In our lives we have the exact same experience. We see tsunamis, powerful Israel lost a war to a ragamuffin band of terrorists, Jewish Israeli communities are wiped out for no real reason, and so on and so forth. It is very easy to look at these events as happenstance, natural events that have no connection to the upper world.

Or you can see God's hand moving the pieces around the board as he plays a winning game of chess with himself.

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