Vaeira: Do You Believe in Miracles?

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Published: 01/12/18

Do you believe in miracles? What even defines a miracle? Would you believe that you can become a miracle worker? What would it take?

These questions arise as the Torah introduces to us the first miracle worker in history – Moses. In this week’s reading, we see him begin to work miracles intended to cow the mightiest empire on earth: Egypt. What is the meaning of these miracles, and why are we told about them today?

Many would respond to the miracles in the Torah by saying: “Ah, but that was long ago. It could never happen today.” Is that true?

Unfortunately, when we think of miracles we automatically think of something supernatural, something biblical, something ancient. We do not think of miracles as a modern phenomenon. And certainly, not as something we, ourselves, are capable of.

Sure, we use words like “miraculous” but we just mean “highly unusual” or “unexpected” or “statistically impossible.” But if it is “statistically impossible,” how did it happen?

This sermon explores the anatomy of a miracle, both ancient and modern. It suggests that miracle workers do exist in our age and time, and that we need only understand what it takes to become miracle workers ourselves.

The “Miracle Worker” story of Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan, and an inspirational tale of a Chassid who wanted to meet the miracle worker Elijah, help explain how we can all tap into that mysterious power that lives within each and every one of us.


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