A Great Miracle Happened There
The Jewish nation was born by a miracle; We live by miracles and by a miracle we hope to be able to exist henceforth.
At the age of 90 Sarah, Abraham’s wife, gave birth to her son Isaac. After her womanhood was entirely gone she was rejuvenated, became young again and brought a child into the world. This was the Almighty’s proclamation to the future Jewish generations that they, too, will suddenly come to life again many times, become young and astound the world through a great miracle.
After our forefathers had slaved in Egypt for over 200 years and there wasn’t the slightest possibility of their ever emerging as a nation again, the great miracle occurred. Not only were they freed from their bondage and emerged as a separate nation but they became the chosen people from among all the nations. We, more than any other nation, have given the world spiritual treasures and we have existed longer than any nation of ancient times, thank God. We have outlived the greatest nations as well as our enslavers and oppressors.
We were set free from Egypt with many reoccurrences of the great miracle.
We lived in the desert for 40 years; We acquired a land of milk and honey; After we had lost our great land by being sinful we returned from exile by a miracle and again rebuilt our country. And with a great miracle our champions the Chashmonoim defeated the mighty enemy, the Greeks, the world conquerors of that time which holiday we have been celebrating unintermittently until this very day, a period of 2080 years.
We are existing as a separate nation while in exile by a miracle, without a land, without an army, without a navy and without a single nation whom we can call our friend and protector, and in spite of the fact that most every nation has wanted and still wants to exterminate us.
By a great miracle we have outlived the historical “Haman the wicked” and his tens of thousands of children in every land since then. It seems as if the children of the “ancient giants” haven't got one-thousandth of the life-strength in them that the offspring of Isaac have, the children of a man who was born to aged parents, a father of 100 years of age and a mother 90 years old. According to the rules of nature such a person should have been weaker than ordinary normal children and not be able to bring forth into the world a race that is stronger than any other one upon the face of the earth.
In the normal course of events such a wonder would not be possible but it did happen because of the great miracle. Nations, as hard and strong as iron like the Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and their like were not able to overcome their first national defeat and have disappeared without even so much as a goodbye. Only the Jewish nation had the Godly miracle occur to them to be able to exist while drowning in a sea of national calamities.
If the world had any sense, any justice and respect for God it would look at us in awe and wonder and would think 10 times before it would attempt a new attack upon us. It would realize that we are under the special protection of God and that to oppress and torture us is a deed which can bring no good. But the world doesn't want to see the truth; It persecutes us wholesale and retail; The entire Jewish nation as a whole, each part of it separately, and every Jew individually. Its punishment is that it doesn't see any other truth as well, not even the simplest truth that war is the greatest insanity and international suicide.
From the day of our birth until today and as long as we Jews will exist it was and will be by miracles. This is a fact that the world refuses to listen to and unfortunately many of our Jews don't understand this as well. The truth of the matter is that we are the “Chosen people” and that in spite our many and great troubles it still is an honor to be a Jew. It certainly must be a very great privilege to be a member of a nation over whom God watches specially so that they should exist by His miracles. This is positively a very big thing even if one doesn't understand all the particulars of this type of providence.
When a nation lives through thousands of years of persecution by the entire world and is saved each time by a miracle, then the miracle by which this nation exists is a triple one; It is a past, present and future miracle.
Because the Chashmonoim defended the honor of the Torah and sacrificed their lives without the slightest chance for victory, praying for a miracle to happen and to save them, they deserved to win and did because of the great miracle that was happening, so much so that all later Jewish generations can rejoice with the great miracle that “did happen”.
This teaches us that in all times, our own included, we Jews must do everything possible and even impossible to raise the honor of the Torah in the hope that a great miracle “will happen”. We must not lose hope and give up, heaven forbid, just because we don't see the miracle “happening” right now. It is surely here and it will become in the future a “great miracle which did happen” if we will fulfill our obligations believing as the Chashmonoim believed in the great miracle “that will occur”. The Almighty will crown our suffering with victory.
Therefore, we must not despair because of all of the persecutions and tortures which are horrible and threaten us with destruction, heaven forbid. We must hope for the great miracle that “will occur” in spite of the fact that we don't see it “occurring”. It is here and is shielding us. We will, with God’s help, live through the persecution and torture; And our children and grandchildren, as well as we ourselves, will positively see and understand later the great miracle that “did occur”. Because God's watch is upon us always, every day, every hour and if we are suffering then it surely our own fault. Unfortunately we know that we are deficient in many ways and we are paying for these deficiencies. But in general and as a nation, as a whole, we are always better than the other nations. And for this very reason we are assured against annihilation, heaven forbid. The fact is that once before, about 2000 years ago in Asia we were almost completely destroyed and we, as well as the other nations believed that that was our end and that there would never again be a Jewish nation. Later we awoke from our bitter dream of several hundred years and discovered that all the other great nations of Asia have disappeared forever and that the Jewish nation remained in existence.
Individuals, single isolated cases, yea, thousands of these if you wish, departed this world before their time and in a horrible manner because they were deficient in some of their spiritual requirements, but, as a nation in general, we remained in existence thank heaven. Today, once more, many nations have begun to persecute us and because of their cruelty Jewish blood is flowing like water. They think that it's only a matter of short while and we will disappear too. Many Jews who don't have the right faith also fear for our nation's future. But the “great miracle which occurs” is doing its work and it will in the future become with God’s help a “great miracle which occurred”. The coming generations will discover that both the big and small nations who tried to annihilate us were themselves exterminated and have disappeared forever but that the persecuted and tortured Jewish nation has remained.
Therefore let the current holiday of Chanukah serve as a comfort and encouragement for us in the present time of the new “Antiochuses” that we will with God’s help outlive them as well. Their terrible cruelty will boomerang and be spent on themselves. Although we find ourselves in such a bad predicament that there is no natural possibility for our rebirth as a nation in view; Although we are old and dried-up like an old woman of 90, nevertheless we have already gone through such a time before and like our mother, Sarah, became young again and there is no doubt that it can and will occur again, with God’s help.
“And with His mighty arm He has delivered the chosen ones, the might of Pharaoh and all his children sank to the bottom of the ocean like a heavy rock”.
In these words which we say every Chanukah lies the secret of the “great miracle”. God's “mighty arm” brings on the “great miracle” and God has sufficient pits into which to hurl all the Pharaohs and Antiochuses past and present.
As “Chasidei Chabad” and because we are now going to celebrate the holiday of deliverance of the 19th day of “Kislev” we should like to take this opportunity to remember also the “great miracle which occurred” through which the old rabbi, the author of the “Tanya” and compiler of the “Shulchan Aruch” Rabbi Schneer Zalman of Liady and afterward the second rabbi were freed from prison and the second “great miracle which occurred” before our very eyes through which our rabbi of Lubavitch was freed from the hands of present-day Russia.
The time of deliverance hadn't come yet in old Czarist Russia for the millions of other Jews who still had to suffer in exile. The time of deliverance still didn’t come for the few million remaining Jews, in present day Russia, who are being cleansed, may God help them, in the Red melting pot just like in old Egypt, because there were not and still are not as many pious Jews as there were in the time of the Chashmonoim, holy and pure men in whose merit the millions of Jews should be delivered, but there were a few such people and God did His part for them only. Between the few remaining holy and pious Jews the flowers of the Jewish nation were not neglected. The author of the “Tanya” and his second rabbi, as well as our own Rabbi of Lubavitch have witnessed the great miracle which occurred even in the darkest hours of our exile and the modern “Antiochuses” held no power over them.
Witnessing with our own eyes what a good God we have and how He protects the true “believers in Him” by opening all iron doors to free them, the great holiday of the 19th of “Kislev” becomes a bit beclouded by the thought of how easy it might be for the entire Jewish nation to be delivered if it only had just a little more than the few pious men; If all or even the majority only realized that they can bring on the great miracle whenever they want to! But we must suppose it was so desired that before the appropriate time Jews shouldn't discover their possibility. Let us hope however, that now is the proper time and that the great miracle will come of itself because of God’s benevolence and because we have already paid for our old and new sins more than enough!