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SIDIC Periodical XXI - 1988/2
The Miraculous (Pages 16)

Other articles from this issue | Version in English | Version in French

Tales of the hasidim
Martin Buber


The Famous Miracle
A naturalist came from a great distance to see the Baal Shem and said: "My investigations show that in the course of nature the Red Sea had to divide at the very hour the children of Israel passed through it. Now what about that famous miracle!" The Baal Shem answered: "Don't you know that God created nature? And he created it so, that at the hour the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea, it had to divide. That is the great and famous miracle!"

The Passage of Reproof

When Rabbi Nahum of Tchernobil was young, he once happened to be with the Baal Shem the sabbath on which the great passage of reproof is read from the Scriptures, and which goes by the name of the "Sabbath of Blessings" in order to avoid using the ominous words. On this occasion he was called to the reading of the Torah in the House of Prayer, and it was this very passage of reproof he was to assist with. He was annoyed that thus this chapter had fallen to his share. The Baal Shem himself read aloud. Now Rabbi Nahum was sickly and plagued with all manner of aches and pains. But when the Baal Shem began to read, Rabbi Nahum felt pain leave one of his limbs after another with each successive part of the passage of reproof, and when the reading was over, he was rid of all his complaints: sound and well.

Everything is Wonder

They asked Rabbi Barukh: "In the hymn, God is called 'Creator of remedies, awful in praises, lord of wonders.' Why? Why should remedies stand next to wonders and even precede them?" He answered: "God does not want to be praised as the lord of supernatural miracles. And so here, through the mention of remedies, Nature is introduced and put first. But the truth is that everything is a miracle and wonder."

The True Wonder

They asked Rabbi Elimelekh: "In the Scriptures we read that Pharaoh said to Moses and Aaron: 'Show a wonder for you.' How are we to understand this? It would have been more logical for him to say: 'Show a wonder to me:"
Rabbi Elimelekh explained: "Magicians know what they want to accomplish and how to accomplish it. It is not a wonder for them but only for the beholders. But those who work something because God gives them power to do it know of no whence and no how, and the wonder which rises out of their doing, overwhelms them themselves. And this is what Pharaoh meant: 'Do not pretend to me! Get you a wonder from the true world, so that it may thus testify for you.'"

(Martin Buber: Tales of the Hasidim, Early Masters, Schocken Books, New York)


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