As we anticipate the holiday of Chanukah, we recall the second blessing that we recite over the candles where we praise God for having “performed miracles for our ancestors.” But people often ask: “Where are the miracles today?” And the answer? Right before our eyes!
Next week a group of adults and children from the temple will be spending Chanukah in Israel. We will kindle the Chanukah flames as we travel from place to place in Israel. Is that not a miracle? Is not the return of a people to its ancient homeland a miracle? And perhaps an even greater miracle are the scientific and medical advances that are being made in Israel every day. Imagine that it was just seventy-five years ago when six million Jews perished for want of a place that might welcome and embrace them. Today, their children and grandchildren are part of the evolving “miracle” that is modern-day Israel.
Yes, I do believe in miracles. They happen when people hold fast to their visions and ideals. They happen whenever the human spirit says “yes” when others say “impossible.” Miracles do happen when we reach with our hearts and brains to better the human condition.
The sage known as the Baal Shem Tov declared that “man takes his self-centered fist and places it in front of his eyes and becomes blind to the miracles and wonders that are with us every day.” So may this Chanukah call to us to remove the fist and open our hearts and our eyes to the miracles that surround us.