Rabbi Nachman Kahana
Rabbi Nachman KahanaCourtesy

How miracles manifest themselves

When contemplating the incidents in Tanach where Hashem and his prophets perform miracles, it becomes apparent that the miracles appear through material mediums. In line with these phenomena, we can deduce:

A miracle (ness) is the extension of a material object beyond its inherent, natural capabilities, and the Creator is not bound by the “laws” of physics, nor by the restrictions of logic, both of which did not exist prior to the time when He willed that they appear ex nihilo (from nothing).

In parashat Shemot, on the background of the miraculous, unprecedented phenomena of the Burning Bush, Hashem presents to Moshe two unnatural signs; his staff turned into a reptile (snake or crocodile) and his hand became inflicted with tzara’at.

Moshe brought about the Ten Plagues in Egypt while holding his staff.

Moshe split the waters of Yam Suf (the Sea of Reeds) by holding his staff over the waters and restored the sea to its natural form in the same manner.

The prophet Eliyahu (Elijah) brought wealth to the widow by dramatically increasing the quantity of olive oil from the small amount already in her possession.

And the miracles performed by Eliyahu’s protegee Elisha were all performed through physical mediums.

Why Israel is the motherland of the Jewish people

After stating that there is no legitimacy to a sentence which contains the two words “Hashem” and “why”, since we do not know His motives behind His will, I submit the following question: Why did Hashem choose a particular land space for his children Yisrael to live in?

Answer: Eretz Yisrael is a two-pronged platform for the future.

Meaning: Hashem, Creator of all that exists, introduced various physical components to different lands which combine to influence the national character of its residents.

For Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael is the platform or motherland that nurtures the spiritual and physical potential of the descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov - Hashem’s chosen people.

And for Hashem, Eretz Yisrael, with Yerushalayim at its heart, is the platform for making His presence felt in this world through miracles that He performs only here. It is also the sign of the exclusive covenant that Hashem made with the Jewish nation, beginning with our Saba and Savta - Avraham and Sarah.

Israel at war

The holiday of Shemini Atzeret immediately after Succot has no historic roots, nor does it have any particular mitzva aside from refraining from the activities which are prohibited on all other festival days.

Rashi on the verse (Vayikra 23,36) that deals with Shemini Atzeret quotes the Midrash, that Hashem said to Am Yisrael, “We were together (merger of conscious thoughts) the entire month of Elul, then the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, then four days until Succot, and finally the seven days of Succot: and now we are about to dismantle the closeness that we had. However, our parting is painful for Me, so let’s stay together at least for one more day”; and that day is the festival of Shemini Atzeret.

This year on Shemini Atzeret hundreds of thousands of Israeli men put on their army boots, took their essentials, and kissed their loved ones with the words, “parting is painful for me, but I must go to protect you and our nation in Eretz Yisrael”.

We are at war with the Nazi-Amalekites who would murder every one of us.

Tzahal and all Israel are on the path to rid the world of this terrorist scourge, once and for all.

Hashem has no other Am Yisrael in this world. So, Hashem “has no choice” but to exercise His right and privilege to save Am YIsrael by performing miracles for us in the holy platform of Eretz Yisrael.

Yirmiyahu 30,7: It will be a time of anguish for Ya’akov and Hashem will bring salvation.

At times such as these, it is the obligation of every Jew to do his part in the national effort.

The pilot soars to the sky. The submariner holds his breath for months while being swallowed up by a steel fish just a bit different than the fish of Yona. The tanker sits in his 50-ton behemoth spitting out fire to devour the evil creatures amongst us. The paratrooper counts to three and jumps while spreading his wings in the total quiet and serenity above the din of earth. And the foot soldier with “boots on the ground” charges to place the flag of victory on the hilltop.

But also, those who are not in the military have their duty to perform. To pray for the welfare of our sons and daughters; to say Tehillim, authored by King David and others, to glorify our Father in Heaven, and to be close to Hashem by delving into the sacred books of study; each Jew and Jewess according to their orientation and ability.

No one can predict where these days of strife will take humanity.

Will Iran enclose itself into the blindness of their fanaticism and try to attain world domination, as they understand their mission from the Koran, by beginning with Eretz Yisrael? Will the USS Gerald R. Ford (aircraft carrier now in the eastern Mediterranean) pre-empt Iranian’s efforts? Will the Kremlin poison the air over Europe by using nuclear weapons in Ukraine? And endless other possibilities.

But que sera (whatever will be) one thing is certain, there could be challenging days ahead, but Am Yisrael has “protectzia” in high places.

We will prevail and be miraculously victorious under the safety cloud of Hashem that leads the way. The safety cloud is composed of our holy soldiers of Tzahal who continue to lead us in the long and arduous trek towards our holy destiny.

Rabbi Nachman Kahana is a Torah scholar, author, teacher and lecturer, Founder and Director of the Center for Kohanim, Co-founder of the Temple Institute, Co-founder of Atara Leyoshna – Ateret Kohanim, was rabbi of Chazon Yechezkel Synagogue – Young Israel of the Old City of Jerusalem for 32 years, and is the author of the 15-volume “Mei Menuchot” series on Tosefot, and 3-volume “With All Your Might: The Torah of Eretz Yisrael in the Weekly Parashah” (2009-2011), and “Reflections from Yerushalayim: Thoughts on the Torah, the Land and the Nation of Israel” (2019) as well as weekly parasha commentary available where he blogs at http://NachmanKahana.com