Do you believe in miracles? What are miracles? Why does a large part of the Torah relate the miracles that God performed for the Jewish people throughout history, most famously the Ten Plagues and the Exodus? From Joshua conquering Jericho, to the story of Purim, the miraculous victory of the Maccabees at Chanukah, Jewish tradition is full of miraculous stories. Why?

The reason I ask is because a miracle is a tricky word. For a human being to survive one day - living, breathing, eating, walking, thinking and talking - is itself a wondrous event. A scientist able to form a living person in a lab would be heralded as an unparalleled genius. And all he'd be doing would be using existing cells! There are so many things in life that, if we'd only think about them, are miracles which are seldom appreciated. So what makes the splitting of the Red Sea more miraculous than going for a morning jog? 

The Talmud writes exactly that. Those simple daily occurrences, from the sun shining to the fact that I can walk down the street on my own, are the greatest miracles there are. So back to the question. What is the reason why we have so many stories about miracles, if every day of life is miraculous?

The reason is because people forget. We forget. When good things, even miraculous things, happen every day, year in year out, it dulls our appreciation of them.

That's where 'open miracles' come in. The sole reason why they happen, and why we spend so much time telling their stories and celebrating them, is to catch our attention. They remind us that there is a creator in the world and that we exist for a purpose. God sends us reminders from time to time that remind us that he's there. (Many consider the Six Day Way in 1967 to be one such event. Contemporary military analysts said that it was nothing short of a miracle. Join us on May 3rd for our six-week course on the fascinating topic! Click here for more info. See you there!)

This past Wednesday, people around the world remembered the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. The fact that 72 years later six million Jews, 43% of the Jewish people, would be living free in the Land of Israel, that the Jewish people would be at the forefront of the business and technology worlds, and that the majority of Jewish communities are free to live openly and proudly as Jews around the world, is nothing short of a miracle and a testament to the deep inner strength of the Jewish people.

As we remember the victims of the Holocaust, don't forget to remember yourself too. Because you are a very big part of their story. You are what makes the victims of the Holocaust the ultimate victors. You are their miracle. You are our miracle.

Rabbi Avrohom