Miracles: The Common and the Constant , the editor


"When one observes a place where miracles have been performed on behalf of Israel, one should say: 'Blessed [is God] for having performed miracles in this place.'"   (Exodus Rabbah. 24:1)
MIRACLES seems a most appropriate Topic of the Month at Hanukkah time. What are miracles? In the Jewish context, we tend to think first of those extraordinary occurrences described in the Bible which God performs in times of great crisis, events that challenge the rational thinker's perception of the immutable natural order. This edition looks at the attitudes of the rabbis of the Talmud and of later philosophers who confront this challenge.

At the same time, we pause to remember that miracles are not only extraordinary or surprising deviations from the natural course. In The Extraordinary Nature of Ordinary Things, Steven Z. Leder sums it up succinctly:

"Sometimes miracles are minuscule things, a single cell dividing, the platelets in our blood, a walk. Other times, miracles come in larger sizes: sequoias or oceans. Most of all, there are the miracles we perform; life-giving, loving, courageous miracles that come from understanding our place and purpose in the world, that come from reaching out and reaching down to others. The miraculous is the common and the constant: birth, teaching, our breath. The miraculous is everywhere, though we sometimes fail to see it."[*]

It is our prayer that we remain open to those truly wondrous moments and experiences which make the ordinary, extraordinary, and the mundane — miraculous.

Happy Hanukkah to all our readers.


Barnes & Noble link*Steven Z. Leder, The Extraordinary Nature of Ordinary Things (New York: Behrman House, Inc. 1999). p. 58.




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