The True Nature Of Miracles

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Resource Type: Short Article in: English
Age: 10-18
Group Size: 10-58
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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The True Nature of Miracles

Rabbi Arvuch notes that there is a big contrast between the Gemaras story of what happened on Chanukah and the story that we say in Al HaNissim. When the Gemara talks about Chanukah it skips the part about the war against the Greeks and focuses on the miracle of the one jug of oil that lasted for eight days. This is very different to what we say in Al HaNissim where we thank Hashem for the miraculous triumph over the Greeks without mentioning the oil. In Al HaNissim we refer to the candles and the holiday but do not tie the two together. The only mitzvah of Chanukah is to light the candles in order that we remember the eight day miracle. How can we ignore this aspect of the chag in our davening? Furthermore the miracle was not for eight days it was for seven since the oil that was found enough to burn for one day? 

Reb Moshe Feinstein says that we think of the miracle of one days oil lasting for eight as hashems decision to depart for his ordinary standards, which are, known as nature. However the real concept of nature, are the miracles that are performed on a daily basis. This means that the ability of oil to be flammable is no less miraculous then anything else being flammable. In reality the concept that a miraculous thing happens everyday is greater then the idea that something miraculous happens once. Someone who recognized this was Reb Chanina Ben Dosa. One Friday afternoon he consoled his daughter who had bought vinegar instead of oil for the shabbos candles. Reb Chanina said, He who commanded oil to burn will command vinegar to burn. It did, throughout the whole shabbos. By Reb Chaninas standards the burning vinegar was no less miraculous then burning oil. If we had mentioned the extended burning of the candles in our davening then the miracle that oil is at all flammable is neglected. Therefore we simply mention that the menorah was kindled and therefore show gratitude to the miracle of all creation. Al HaNissim is inserted into the tefillah of Modim, where we thank Hashem for your wonders and favors of all time for example: breathing, a beating heart, arms and legs. The miracles of Chanukah are there to remind us of how simple they really are compared to all the great miracles that we experience everyday

By: Ora Shore

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