I’m going to explain now, one of the greatest miracles of our times. People are often afraid that logic and reason would destroy the mystique, explain away the miracle but that’s not true. We know presently better than ever before how a man and a woman can create a baby. But does anyone holding a newborn say: “Yuck, just hormones, DNA and enzymes”? Quite the opposite! The more details we know about Nature, the more awestruck we become. And the more we want to protect her.
(Maybe we may find support for this in Sayings of the Fathers 3:11, that someone who stops learning Torah and marvels at a tree or other fine creature foregoes his life. It’s fine to enjoy beauty but not by stopping to learn deeply. Life itself would become meaningless and cease.)
On top of that, when we understand a miracle, we can communicate it better, faster. Nothing spreads as well as good news with an explanation.
By last point of introduction, one can’t explain away miracles because they keep coming. So much so that Rabbi Cardozo half-jokes that G^d makes an extra effort to keep non-believers from becoming religious or everyone would turn to religion with the present rate of miracles. He also shows that miracles are not the negation of natural law. They can be 100 percent mundanely caused. Rather, we’re awed by their timing and rarity.
Miracles Generated by Humans Who Faced Evil
Many people have wondered out-loud how parents of children murdered by terrorists can speak at their funerals of beauty and purpose, love and peace, hope and gratefulness, unity and generosity. Where do they find this strength? How come they’re not too destroyed to say anything? From where comes this holy higher angelic vision they speak of?
A quite similar wonderment comes over us when we listen to the visions and passions, goals and motivations of many Holocaust survivors. Eli Wiesel became famous for this supernatural voice but he was certainly not an exception. We marvel at the words by Anne Frank, who didn’t survive but still, facing mass murder at the hands of anti-Semites, stayed completely normal and on top of that wrote of tolerance, love and hope.
What made people who personally faced the greatest Hell on Earth become so moral, ethical, elevated, sublime? We would understand if they yelled revenge. We would not condemn if they sounded bitter and disillusioned. And some might. But many have not. How? I will tell you.
When almost everything has been taken from you but life itself; when you looked Evil in the eye or survived your worst loss; when your worst nightmare became true, you must balance existence or you’ll go “insane.”
Facing the greatest Evils as Auschwitz or having your eternal baby murdered by Jew-haters — it should happen to none of us — you have two ways to balance, to “take revenge.” You can hate back, shout revenge, promise to hurt and kill “them” more. That gives a measure of balance.
Or, you can try to balance the senseless, hateful, ugly by providing their opposites. Especially for Jews, who are tasked with choosing life, clearly, death is the ultimate disaster, evil, curse and profanity. We can’t go on living with that. We need to offset evil. So we turn to goodness, beauty, meaning, love, gentleness, generosity, service, blessing, holiness, etc.
I remember when my great parents, concentration camp survivors, died. It was such an injustice, such a loss, so irreparable, that I automatically started looking to beauty and meaning. It’s a deed of emotional and ethical survival. And they weren’t even genocided or my children.
So, expect the unexpected, the unfathomable, when mass-murderous anti-Semitism has struck again, Heaven forbid, that the mourners who lost most will elevate themselves and everyone around them.
What else is the act of saying Kaddish? Kaddish speaks of G^d’s Greatness and the Promise that all will end Well. Who says this? Our Mourners!
Now, you may understand these people who in the deepest of pain, become the greatest voices of humanity. Will you now marvel at it less? No way. You will connect it with similar greatness and spread the word like wildfire. Just let’s pray that it won’t happen to anyone anymore.
When many of us will start speaking constantly of beauty and purpose, love and peace, hope and gratefulness, unity and generosity without being provoked by Evil, maybe G^d will have an easier time, so to speak, withholding such Evil. When He can say to His Angles: Look, they already are dedicated to Goodness and Life. Maybe it’s time to stop all evil and grant Final Redemption and Paradise on Earth, as I promised. They’ll enjoy it more than merely a gift because they worked for it, almost caused it.