Shabbat Pesach Day 7 – Beshallah – Do Miracles Really Happen

By: Larry Tobin

Do you believe in miracles? Two things come to my mind when I think of miracles: Parsha Beshalach and Jacob Lefkovitz. This week’s Parsha is Beshalach. It mentions a number of purported miracles that occurred. The sea split to allow the Israelites to safely pass through and avoid the onslaught of the pursuing Egyptians. The people promptly complained that they were thirsty and hungry. Water suddenly appeared in the desert, but the people complained it was bitter. Moses was instructed by G-d to place a certain branch in the water and the water became sweet.  The people wanted more water. Moses struck a rock and water came forth. This act ultimately cost Moses his right to enter the promised land. The people continued to complain. What about food? Manna rained down from the heavens in the morning. Hey, how about some meat? Quails suddenly appeared. It’s time to fight the Amalekites, but they are too powerful. Moses raised his arms, at first by himself and later with help. Whenever his arms were raised the Israelites were victorious. Whenever they were lowered the Amalekites were victorious. Were these miracles? Did they really happen?

It’s time to switch over to Jacob Lefkovitz. Jacob was a third grader at a Jewish Day School. The custom of the Lefkovitz family was to discuss the weekly Parsha over Friday night Shabbat dinner. Let’s listen in on their discussion.

Parent: “Jacob, what did you learn this week in school?

Jacob: “I learned about Parsha Beshalach.”

Parent: “Tell us some of the things you learned.”

Jacob: “Well, the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt. They were able to convince the King of Egypt to let them go. But the King later changed his mind and sent his army to destroy the Jewish people. The Jews fought back and shelled the Egyptians with heavy artillery. Then they sent their air force to finish off the job with precision bombing. The Jews won the battle and were able to proceed to freedom.”

Parent (somewhat astonished): “Did you really learn this in school?”

Jacob: “Well, if I told you what I really learned you’d never believe it!”

Yes folks. A problem with miracles is that they are hard to believe. Do miracles really exist? Did they really happen? Do they still happen? These are questions you will have to answer for yourselves. Perhaps you might keep two thoughts in mind when formulating your opinion: (1) miracles are hard to accept, especially when you don’t actually see them and (2) belief in miracles may actually facilitate their occurrence. In other words, when it comes to miracles seeing is believing —and believing is seeing.

May you never need miracles. But if you ever do need them, may they come your way.

Good Shabbos

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