Oftentimes I hear people asking if there are real miracles today. Many people believe that because we don’t have a splitting of the Red Sea or mann (holy bread) from Heaven, then those days are long over. This is a grave mistake! Our sages instituted that we thank Hashem for the daily miracles which He performs for us in the Modim prayer of the Amidah. Do you think they’d have us recite a blessing in vain!? Rabeinu warns us about this mentality in Sichot HaRan (Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom #307-308) saying, “Every year people say that previous years were better and times are not as good as they were before… He said, ‘The opposite is true. Hashem runs the world better than ever.’” King Solomon, the wisest of all men tells us (Ecclesiastes 7:10), “Do not say that the first days were better than these, for it is not out of wisdom that you ask this.” The only major difference between the Torah’s miracles and today’s is that we’re not told that they will occur beforehand… or are we (as we’ll soon see)? Having said this, do you still believe we don’t experience great miracles today? Perhaps a personal story which happened to us just a few weeks ago will help inspire you.
A few weeks ago, my family were invited to spend Shabbat in Jerusalem with some good friends of ours who made Aliyah a few months after us. We were delighted at the opportunity to spend Shabbat in Jerusalem with some good friends. Personally, it was a dream of mine to have a Kabbalat Shabbat at Kotel once again, after having done so some 12 years earlier as a young man. Well, off we went to the bus stop around 2pm, with a proximate arrival to Jerusalem about 50 minutes later, with plenty of time to settle down and get ready for Shabbat. After only a few minutes of arriving at the bus stop, the bus arrived. However, the first thought that came to mind, almost instantaneous, was: “This bus is going to catch fire.” It’s like I saw it for a split second in my mind, smoke coming out and everything. The reason I think I thought this was because it was not the typical greyhound-like bus you take to other cities, rather an inner-city bus with the accordion-like thing in the middle (sorry for my lack of accurate words, but you get the point). I first thought to myself: “Take the next bus, it’s only another 10-minute wait and it may be more comfortable.” But who knows if that bus would be full or not? The main problem with this bus was the lack of luggage and stroller compartment which the regular greyhound-like buses have. So we got on and placed our luggage in the middle of the bus and found whatever seat we could find.
I sat in the last row with our three boys and my wife sat with our daughter a few rows in front of us. However, since my wife was feeling nauseous, I took my daughter as well. Well, about 40 minutes later, with my two younger boys asleep and only about 7-10 minutes from our bus stop in Jerusalem… guess what? The bus is blowing smoke big time!!! Immediately, the bus driver pulls over to the shoulder of the highway and everyone starts their panic attack to get off ASAP. The non-religious lady sitting in front of me immediately turns around and says: “I’ll take her, you get the boys.”
Religious or not, “Each Jew is filled with mitzvot like a pomegranate.” I woke the two younger ones who were sleeping and told them to get off while telling my oldest son to make sure they stay on the very edge of the road away from the traffic. Though the thought that this bus could blow at any minute was lingering in the back of my mind, I wasn’t afraid; I simply moved as fast as possible without being a nervous reck. I told myself, “I accept whatever Hashem decrees with emuna.” Needless, to say, it smelled like gasoline and the smoke clouds made it almost impossible to see. Someone generously removed our luggage and stroller off the bus and everyone stood at a distance to see what would occur.
Immediately, Am Israel’s beauty revealed itself once again and many cars and buses pulled over to pick people up. Many of the passengers were desperately trampling over each other to get on the next bus or car that pulled over. Someone who has read Rabbi Arush’s book, “The Garden of Emuna” knows that just as Hashem saved us from danger, he’ll find us a way to get to our destination. So I wasn’t about to trample over another Jew (a lack of emuna) to get home; rather, I prayed and asked Hashem to help us get home. Within 10 minutes or so, everyone was on their way once again. I ceased the opportunity to remain calm and teach my kids that Hashem made a miracle for us right there and how we should thank Him! I recited Birkat HaGomel the next day as a reminder of Hashem’s wonders!
If that wasn’t enough, here’s another outright miracle we experience it that Shabbat. On our walk home from Shul, someone (most probably Arabs) threw two fist-size bags of ice from a bridge above us. Miraculously, they landed about one foot in front of us. Ice, thrown from a 30-foot bridge and aimed at someone’s head, could do some serious damage. We immediately thanked Hashem and kept on walking towards our home to enjoy a beautiful Kiddush and Shabbat day seudah.
And we still have doubters that Hashem’s with us? Let’s recap the above miracles we see on the surface, for I believe there were many more:
1. I was somehow “shown” how this would occur prior to get on the bus; perhaps helping my neshama stay calm and not panic.
2. The beauty of a Jew, how the lady in front of me immediately took my daughter, regardless of personal beliefs and how everyone helped each other get off. A clear sign of Achdut (Jewish Unity).
3. How this bus, which reeked of gasoline, didn’t blow up.
4. How so many cars pulled over and within minutes, everyone was on their way to their destination.
5. Being saved from having a rock of ice land on our heads, cast from a 30-foot bridge.
Thank you Hashem for your tailor-made miracles in the Land of Miracles, Eretz Israel. Here, we can feel Your hand much clearer than anywhere else in the world. If you want to experience Hashem’s chessed to a much higher degree, then come and “Dwell in the Land and cultivate emuna.” This is Your true home.