Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We are Miracles

Every night during Chanukah we recite the blessings when lighting the Chanukah candles and praise G-d, who wrought miracles at the time of our fathers, just like today. 

Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, 
Who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.

As I was lighting the candles with the kids tonight, I couldn't help but think of how Kevin will be doing the same thing some 9 hours later, in a twon, where pretty much he is the only Jew. But he is going to light the candles, like our fathers have done for over two millenia--like Jesus himself did it, if you will--to proclaim the miracle of Chanukah. 

The greatest miracle of all is the fact that there are people still, who celebrate it. I don't want to go down the usual path of recalling the trials and persecution of the Jews--I'm sure everyone here has heard about them. However, even if I step away from the Jewish aspect, it's simply a miracle that there are human beings on this planet. We, as humans, are really good at destroying ourselves--both on an individual and on a collective level. Still, we are here, and our lives on earth are the great miracle. 

The way we use this miracle is the important thing. Trusting G-d that He is the same yesterday, today and forever, that He will give us miracles today like he gave miracles to Moshe (Moses), Eliyahu (Elijah) or the Maccabees and the Temple makes life so much more of an adventure. Not that giving up responsibility and relying on G-d to make our every choice for us is the way to go, but living up to the miracle that our lives are is important. 

As a father and as a Jew I am learning to pick my bottles. What if my son doesn't want to wear a hat in sub-zero temperatures? It's okay, the hat is in his bag, when his ears are cold he can put them on. What if he'd much rather start with his math homework rather than Hebrew like I'd think it was logical? Well, let him do Math first. Sweating the small things takes up too much energy. Too much of the miracle.

One of the things I have to learn is keep my mouth shut (or my finger permanently on the delete button). I need to learn to graciously say thank you when others try to make me happy, even if I view the result in a completely different light. Because that effort is part of the miracle that we are.

This Chanukah, Hijri calendar New Year, Christmas and Kwanzaa (and all other December holidays in the name of political correctness), let us all celebrate the miracles that we and our fellow human beings are.


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