Rabbi Benjamin Blech, author of the article “Miracles, Human and Divine,” at Aish.com, writes, “It is very instructive that the Hebrew word for miracle, nes, is at the root of the word nisayon, which means test. It is the same word that appears in the Torah when we are told that God tested Abraham.
“Miracles are nothing less than tests of our Divine potential. It is when human beings pass Divine challenges with honor and distinction that we are witness to what is worthy of being proclaimed a true miracle.”
I have a personal story to share from my book, “Pathfinding: Seven Principles for Positive Living.” This is in my chapter on miracles:
“I was living in the Boston area, and my daughter Laura, now an adult, was about three years old. Our steady babysitter was a family friend. One day I let her borrow my car to run an errand. She came from a large family, and when she stopped at her house, one of her older brothers ‘took’ the car.
“I spent the whole next day on the phone with the police, frantically trying to locate my car. In desperation, I called my father, who was working in New York City. He reassured me that no matter how things turned out, everything was going to be okay.
“The day after we spoke, in the late afternoon, my father called me and said, ‘You are not going to believe what I’m about to tell you. Today, instead of walking my usual route to the parking lot, I walked down a different street and there was your car on this side street in the middle of downtown Manhattan!’
“This was a ‘one in a million shot,’ to use my father’s words at the time, and I was stunned but also thrilled that my father found my car. He immediately called the police. When the officers got there, they decided to remove the distributor so no one could start the car. My father took the distributor with him and called me as soon as he got home. Since my father worked in New York City, he said he would go back the next morning to make arrangements to get my car back home.
“The next morning, when my father went to the street where the car had been parked, the car was gone. When he called to tell me the bad news, I told him the good news! My babysitter’s older brother, after taking my car on a joyride, realized his mistake and returned it to me in Boston.
“She told me later how panicked he was when he realized the distributor was missing. We eventually got it all worked out, but what makes this story so amazing is that my father was able to find my car 250 miles from home in a city of tens of millions of people. The chances of coincidentally finding his daughter’s stolen car were miraculous.”
During COVID-19, we are creating and realizing our own miracles. We are making our own “limited supply of oil” last eight days by working with what we have – even though it’s less than we had to work with before the pandemic.
As we watch thousands line up in their cars at food banks, we realize that being healthy, having food and shelter – which we often take for granted – are miracles in themselves.
Revisiting the Hanukkah story of celebrating the victory of the Maccabees speaks to the meaning of the word Hanukkah, rededication. During this COVID-19 Hanukkah, let’s all think about how we have been rededicating ourselves and acknowledging the miracles in our lives.
PATRICIA RASKIN, owner of Raskin Resources Productions, is a media host, coach and award-winning radio producer and business owner. She is on the board of directors of Temple Emanu-El, in Providence. She is a recipient of the Providence Business News 2020 Leaders and Achievers award.