The Miracles around Us: Autumn Is Now Behind Us; Spring (!) Is Up Ahead (A Post-Chanukah Essay)
Rabbi Hillel L. Yarmove
Yes, I too miss the excitement, the spiritual zest, conveyed by Chanukah. And the fast day of Asarah B’Teves reminds me that this day commemorates the opening phase of those unfortunate events which were to lead up to the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdash so long ago.
And oh, I almost forgot! Winter officially arrives at the end of this week. Does anybody out there yearn for some nice, scintillating miracles just about now?
If you happen to be one of those “anybodies,” then this column is dedicated to you. I should know, for I am also an “anybody”! Indeed, as I gaze out my patio window, I flinch as I observe that everything seems to be so gray and lifeless. Oh, for a lightening, illuminating miracle!
“Neis gadol hayah po!” That’s what the Israeli dreidelach proclaim. Why, if you purchase the right bakery brand in Yerushalayim, you can even have your bread remind you that it too is a “neis gadol.” (Glance at my accompanying photograph.) My rebbi muvhak, Harav Yehudah Leib Potashnik, zt”l, was fond of averring that in the pasuk in Tehillim (136:25) “Nosein lechem l’chawl basar, ki l’olam chasdo,” “lechem” (bread”) and “chasdo” (“His loving-kindness”) share the same gematriya, 78. In other words, we are being told that were it not for Hashem’s kindness to mankind, bread would turn out to be no more nourishing for us than cardboard!
And so it is with the world around us. Think about it. Erev Shabbos candle-lighting is already later this week than it was last week. And would you believe it? I actually saw little golden-yellow incipient blossoms on some forsythia bushes on my way back home from shul this past Shabbos!
That being so, I suppose that I shouldn’t have been so amazed back in November to discover that a lone dogwood tree growing in Seagull Square near an NPGS supermarket appeared resplendent in its partly-colored autumn foliage—while beautiful, spring-like blossoms festooned that very tree. The message? Spring is actually coming closer and closer to us, day by day—even in the fall. Talk about paradoxes, will you
No, speak about Hashem’s miracles instead: they are His constant reminders to us of His all-encompassing providence.
Questions or comments? I may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy an edifying winter, dear readers!