Yakov Saacks

The Kabbalah of miracles



Rabbi Yakov Saacks, The Chai Center, Dix Hills

As a Rabbi, I study many topics of Jewish interest. I have my daily regimen but I also try to study something I have not known (or forgotten) before. In preparing for a lecture series on modern-day Israel, I learned quite a few interesting facts that I had not known, and in the process came across a fascinating theme. Namely, miracles.



There are two types of miracles that can occur. The first miracle is one that shatters and defies nature. One example is when G-d split the sea at the time of Exodus. This miracle took water, which has the tendency to keep on flowing, and caused it to stop flowing and instead started building upon itself into a towering aqua edifice. This caused a literal break in the water and dry land could be seen between the two immense pillars of water.


The second type of miracle occurs when the natural order is not usurped but rather continues as is. It employs the natural order but is no less miraculous than uprooting nature. The following is an example of a miracle hidden in nature. This took place on Long Island a few years back. This fellow bent down to tie his shoe and at that very moment one of the chains holding the light fixture broke, and the fixture swung back and forth. Because this fellow was on one knee tying his shoelaces, the fixture missed his head by a few inches. The fixture did not disappear as it would have in an open miracle, it swung as any fixture would with a broken chain but caused no harm.



If the U.N vote which took place on November 29, 1947 had been postponed a mere few months, chances are the modern Israel where Jews can find refuge from all corners of the world would not have happened.

After President Roosevelt passed and was succeeded by Harry Truman, no one knew that this man was going to be such an incredible friend to the Jews and Israel. President Truman, despite pressure from his own State Department and Pentagon, lobbied for the U.N. partition. And when the new state was declared in May 1948, he extended diplomatic relations immediately.

Just a short few months later when the Cold War got underway, President Truman would not have the flexibility to disregard his own Pentagon advisors who were clearly no fans of the Jewish state.


One of strangest twists of irony is that while Great Britain, India, Greece and Cuba voted against the partition, one of the strongest voices of support came from Josef Stalin of the Soviet Union. While he was a staunch anti-Semite, he saw Zionism as a way of pushing Great Britain out of the area. One of the greatest speeches of support at the U.N was by Soviet deputy foreign minister Andrei Gromyko.

Just a short few weeks later (January 1948) Stalin had Jewish actor Solomon (Shloyme) Mikhoels assassinated and began his anti-Semitic reign of terror against Jews. Stalin himself came up with the Doctors Plot which essentially claimed that doctors, who were mostly Jewish, were killing soviet leaders.

It really was a unique moment in time.


Although the ship called Altalena met with an unhappy ending, and if not for Menachem Begin would probably have led to a Jewish civil war, the story of Altalena’s origin is nothing short of miraculous. For reasons that we can only speculate, the country of France, with approval of the French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault, donated 153 million francs worth of weapons to the Jewish members of the Irgun to be brought to Israel.

It is unclear how much weaponry was salvaged after David Ben Gurion ordered it to be destroyed. We do know however, that the Altalena carried close to 950 Freedom Fighters to Israel. According to historians at least two million rounds of ammunition, 3,000 shells, and 200 Bren guns were brought into Israel.

France had been supportive of Israel until 1967 when it came as a shock when Charles de Gaulle uttered these famous words, “France had freed itself … from the very special and very close ties with Israel,” complaining that Jews were “an elite people, sure of itself, and dominating.” It was very clear to all that France had formed an alliance with many Arab countries and joined the arms embargo against Israel. It was nothing short of a miracle that back then France was instrumental in getting Israel off the ground.

These are just some of the “miracles” clothed within nature that occurred in the early days when Israel needed it most. I am a total believer that these events are just as awe inspiring as…… the splitting of the sea, rising of the sun, the gravitational pull of the moon, Saddam Hussein’s 30 scud rockets to Israel that fell harmlessly or the creation of the world.

I anticipate miracles. Do you?


There is a great debate as to whether miracles that manipulate nature are greater or not. The Kabbalistic insight on this is that a miracle that obliviates nature while an incredible feat, is nothing compared to a miracle that is clothed in nature, where it uses nature itself to accomplish its miracles. It is so hidden that many people do not even realize what happened.

About the Author
Rabbi Yakov Saacks is the founder and director of The Chai Center, Dix Hills, NY. The Chai Center has been nicknamed by some as New York's most Unorthodox Orthodox Center.