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THE GLORY OF A SUNRISE

by Danny Miller    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

There's the old story about the Jew who wasn't sure whether he believed in miracles or not. "I'm pretty skeptical, but if G-d wants to convince me, all He has to do is drop a million dollars on my lap!"

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There's the old story about the Jew who wasn't sure whether he believed in miracles or not. "I'm pretty skeptical, but if G-d wants to convince me, all He has to do is drop a million dollars on my lap!"

This week's Torah portion addresses the issue of miracles. To start the eighth plague, Hashem "guided an east wind through the land all that day and all the night. It became morning and the east wind brought the locusts" (Exodus 10:13). Why does the Torah emphasize the east wind? Couldn't Hashem have snapped His proverbial celestial fingers and just made the locusts appear out of nothing?

Additionally, next week we will read in Parshat Beshalach that Hashem used a "strong east wind all night" to part the Red Sea to enable the Jewish people to escape from Egypt (ibid. 14:21). If Cecil B. DeMille could get the sea to part without an all-night east wind, couldn't Hashem? All the plagues were brought about through somewhat natural phenomenon. What is the reason for this?

The Torah is emphasizing that miracles occur within nature. Hashem uses nature as a tool to implement His will. Rather than bringing locusts to Egypt out of thin air, Hashem causes the wind to guide them. Instead of dropping a bag of money out of the sky onto someone's lap, Hashem causes his business to skyrocket.

Three times every day Jews around the world say the Modeem prayer during Shemoneh Esrei. In it, we thank Hashem "for Your miracles that are with us every day." Now, I admit that I don't read the newspaper everyday, but I don't think that plagues of locusts are arriving every morning into our cities. For which miracles are we thanking Hashem? Are there miracles surrounding us everyday?

Indeed, there are miracles around us all the time. Each sunrise presents a new miracle. Every time we see a succulent fruit appear from a dry tree, we see a miracle. When we open a jar of peanut butter and understand the miracles that were necessary to get the peanuts from the farm to our kitchen table, we are cognizant of a miracle. When our body is able to fight off even a common cold, we are part of a miracle. Each time we observe a multi-ton airplane effortlessly climb into the sky against gravity, we witness a miracle. Hashem's wonders are all around us if we simply open our eyes to see them.

When was the last time we were awed by a sunrise? Have we stopped lately to admire and smell the roses? Unfortunately, we sometimes become too familiar with the miracles around us, and our appreciation for them diminishes. We remain unaware of the miracles until a more extraordinary miracle occurs - a hurricane wreaks havoc, a baby is born, an accident occurs, a devastating disease is diagnosed, or a swarm of locusts consumes a town. Let us not wait for an extraordinary event to enable us to appreciate the "ordinary" miracles around us.

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Danny Miller has lived in Atlanta eleven years and counting.

You are invited to read more Parshat Bo articles.

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