Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why Don't Miracles Happen Today?

Rabbi A. Moss

Why don't we see miracles today, like the Jews saw in the story of Chanukah?

Have you ever wished you were a child again?
Don't kids have it made? Their parents do everything for them. The child is hungry and, amazingly, food appears in front of him. The child hurts herself, and the parent is immediately there to kiss it better. The child is lovingly put to sleep at night, and lovingly taken out of bed in the morning. It's a comforting and secure existence, but it doesn't last for long.

As the child develops and grows, the parents gradually withdraw. A baby becomes a toddler; she can walk on her own two feet, feed herself, and look after some of her own needs. Eventually she will grow into a young child; and can even go out of the house for the day, without her parents, and go to school.

Then the child becomes teenager, when he asserts his independence even more. Teenagers brush off their parents' advice, because they have to find their own way, and they think that they know best. As difficult as it is, the parents have to accept this as a part of their child's maturation process, and to some extent allow the teenager to make some silly mistakes. Otherwise the child will never grow up.

The parents have to let go, because only then can children finally grow up -- and become adults. Then, as adults, they can relate to their parents with respect and understanding. They don't need their parents to clothe and feed them anymore, they can do that themselves.

But they can enjoy a relationship that is even deeper and more real; because now, as an adult, they have grown to appreciate what their parents have done for them. That the child is the person, he or she is now, is due to the love and attention, that their parents devoted to him or her.
Humanity has taken a similar course. In the early days, G-d was like a loving parent, very apparent, and obviously looking after us. He spoke to us to give us directions; He intervened by doing miracles to save His children from harm. The wicked were punished immediately, and the righteous rewarded.

That was the era of humanity's infancy. We had yet to develop the spiritual tools to relate to G-d, in any subtle or sublime way, so He spoon-fed us with open miracles.

As humanity developed spiritually, G-d withdrew His open manifestations in our lives. As a parent allows his child more and more freedom, so too G-d removed His open interference in world affairs. But of course, while parents may not interfere, they never really withdraw their love and attention. They oversee every move their growing child makes, and quietly influence their child's life direction, albeit from the sidelines.

Similarly, as time has moved on, G-d is just as present as before, pulling the strings of history and human destiny, this way and that; but not in such an obvious and obtrusive way, as through a miracle. He hides behind the coincidences and daily occurrences, that seem on the surface to be quite normal. But on reflection, they are not - the hand of G-d is clearly there.
Over the last couple of centuries, humanity went through an adolescent rebellion. We threw off the yoke of our Heavenly Parent, and sought independence. Belief in G-d was seen as a childish crutch, an immature myth. But our generation, having learnt from the adolescent mistakes of modern history, is starting to mature. We are realizing, that our Divine Parent's values are not so bad after all.

And we as a generation, are seeking to reconnect with G-d and true spirituality -- not as children who need miracles to convince us, but as spiritual adults, who can discern the magic behind the everyday, and the Divine within the mundane. We are finally coming of age.

Perhaps this new thirst for G-d, is the greatest miracle of all.