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Tuesday, December 07, 2004


A Great Miracle...

A Great Miracle Happened ThereThe Hanukkah dreydle has on its four sides the Hebrew letters, Nun, Gimmel, Hey, and Shin. This stands for the sentence, Nes gadol hayah sham, which means "A great miracle happened there."

The "there" means Israel, or more specifically, the Second Temple in Jerusalem. And the miracle refers to the miracle of the little jar of oil, which should have only been enough for one day but lasted for eight.

This was an "open miracle," a departure from the laws of Nature that is obvious to any witness. Our Jewish sages tell us that the age of "open miracles" is long past, but that there are miracles still - they are just hidden.

And I do believe in miracles. My own understanding of a miracle is when you become aware and open to something powerful, some realization, that had been hidden before.. or that perhaps you had unknowingly been hiding from.

I remember a small miracle that happened to me over twenty years ago. Sandy and I had been living in Long Island with our new baby, Leah, when I was laid off from GE. Fortunately, I quickly got a new job in my home town with Baltimore Gas & Electric. I started working at BGE in February, while Sandy and Leah stayed behind until we sold our house, which was in April.

I would drive up to Long Island each weekend or two to be with them. One Sunday evening driving back through the Meadowlands, I was frequency-surfing on the car radio using the "seek" button to go from station to station. Suddenly I heard Hebrew.

I knew what it was - WEVD in New York City - their motto was "the station that speaks your language." I had heard the Hebrew programs before.

But as I glanced over to the New York City skyline on my left, I suddenly realized that I was listening to Hebrew, over the airwaves, in the latter part of the twentieth century!

It was a language that by all logic, should have died out, along with its people, almost two thousand years earlier. And if not then, any number of times over the intervening centuries, most recently only forty years earlier.

But here it was, on the radio. And here was I, too.

A miracle!

Dear ITAI reader - no matter what your religion, skin color, or country... during this Festival of Light, may your eyes be opened to your own miracles.

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