Sunday, May 25, 2014

Your Miracle Barometer

Are all miracles of equal import?

No, some demonstrate more or less divine impact.

Here's a barometer to help you decide the measure of a miracle's divine force: The closer the miracle cooperates with or mimics Nature, the loftier its source!

Take the miracle of the "burning bush". This could have, at first, appeared quite normal in that a dry bush could conceivably combust under the hot desert sun. At first, then, it could "fit" with a Natural scenario. Only when it failed to extinguish did the fire become recognized as a miracle.

We also saw such a miracle, that resembled a Natural process, regarding "The Persian Gulf War" (link).

Compare that with the miracle of the splitting of the Reed Sea in ancient Egypt that completely overwhelmed Nature and easily distanced itself from what might appear as a Natural phenomenon.

Your barometer will now tell you, and you might be surprised to learn, the Persian Gulf War registers as a "higher" miracle than that which occurred during the Egyptian exodus.

Test question: How would you measure the miracle of the rebirth of the Land of Israel from its ancient roots? Given that it occurred in the aftermath of a slaughter that even Gentiles acknowledge as appalling, and therefore many nations of the U.N. in 1948 voted to create a Jewish territory out of sympathy, you have what resembles an "It's only natural!" consequence.

Nevertheless, now that you possess this barometer, can you sense the greatness of this miracle? Even a Gentile historian familiar with the rise and fall of empires over thousands of years would recognize the rebirth of Israel as an exceptional miracle.

Two rational reasons explain why miracles wrought within the framework of Nature, rather than by trouncing it, derive from a higher order of revelation.

1) When a miracle breaches Nature (for example, when the Egyptian landscape was inundated with frogs, or when darkness paralyzed Egyptians for 3 days) Nature suffers an assault; An Infinite power creates a new reality that disregards Nature's constraints.

But for a miracle to worm its way through Nature, without significantly disrupting it or raising notice, this can only be accomplished by conforming to the finiteness of the world. Because finiteness and infinity are opposites, the only way to render Nature intact during a miracle would be to draw the Infinite power from G-d Himself, because only G-d is in the finite and the infinite. Only this highest source of potential can pull off such a miracle.

Lesser miracles can occur without summoning the highest source available from the Infinite. As our sages tell us (Shmos Rabbah 19:6), "During the Egyptian exodus, I and My tribunal went before you; In the future, I will go Myself."

2) When a miracle breaches Nature, it demonstrates G-d's overpowering dominance, where Nature cannot stand in the way. However, if the miracle streams through Nature, it shows G-d also controls Nature. A miracle that disrupts Nature only shows that that power can defeat Nature, whereas a miracle wrought with the help of Nature shows that Nature too falls under the control of G-d!
(An idea that sprung from learning the Rebbe's Ma-amar of 1952
[Sefer Hama-amarim, Melukat, vol. 4,  pp. 225-234, "כימי צאתך מארץ מצרים"]. )

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Judenrein Miracle

Kid strapped into a car seat
Here's one miracle G-d does for every Jew: He has the Arabs hate Jews so badly they declare their countries "Judenrein"; By law these countries legislate themselves off-limits for the Jew.

Now is that not a miracle? Every Jew thereby need never step into any of these horror countries or depraved cultures.

Some liberal Jew might jump to attack such a politically incorrect attitude such a statement betrays in terms of denigrating the humanity of a large general population, but, of course, everything is in the eyes of the beholder.

You can consider the "Judenrein" policy of all Muslim countries as a distressing cognition, or you can see it as a blessing for every Jew in the world that he never ever need live or or step foot among such cruel and debased people.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Softening Up the World for Redemption

Good shoes in olden days, like those of today, were leather-made. But quality leather requires tanning, a process by which to soften it to become pliable; Otherwise the leather is too hard on the feet.

The root word for tanning, in Biblical Hebrew, is עבד, as in עיבוד עורות, the tanning of leather.

The term "to worship God", "עובד אלהים", like the work to soften leather, shares the same root word.

What has worshipping have to do with tanning? As it is in physicality, so it is in spirituality.
עובד הטבע = עובד אלהים

Chassidus states that אלהים has the gematria of הטבע. As we "work" the world (during worship) by learning Torah and doing God's commandments, we draw into the world a spiritual effect that incrementally accumulates collectively. As man refines his soul, not only his soul changes, but Nature - of the entire world - also benefits directly from this worship. The world at large changes as a result of a private Jew's worship. These incremental progressions bring the world closer to the Era of Redemption. The world is being "tanned" in preparation for the Final Era.

Meanwhile, as the world progresses closer to its Redemptive state, the individual worshipper retains the value of his input, for the reward reaped in the world to come, the light one merits to draw upon himself during Redemption, corresponds to the work he did BEFORE the Redemption. The ultimate future reward corresponds to the effort individually made BEFORE the Final Era, when the reward will be directly proportional to the work he or she expended during the days in diaspora.

This is what is meant by Isaiah (11:15) "והדריך בנעלים"
"... and Moshiach will lead [the Jews across dry passageways formed when the river splits] IN SANDALS".

Just as leather must be softened by tanning, the diaspora period too must be "softened", as Man works the world as he overhauls his own animal soul, striving to thrash his bovine lusts and turn ignorance of Torah into enlightenment. Each individual will thereby achieve a personal Redemption commensurate with the effort he put into his work during the exile period.
(Culled from the Rebbe's Ma-amar [Sefer Hama-amarim, Melukat vol. 4, "כימי צאתך מארץ מצרים"]. )

Monday, May 19, 2014

Not All Miracles are the Same

Miracles can occur by trouncing Nature, creating their own new reality that clashes with Nature; Or, miracles can weave their way through the fabric of Nature, making it appear as if it were a "natural" incident.

Examples of the former mode of miracle are the 10 plagues that struck ancient Egypt prior to the Jewish exodus. The latter mode is exemplified by the miracle of Purim, where, once the dots are connected on the grid of "circumstances", a clear pattern emerges that spells "miracle".

G-d makes His Presence felt by way of miracles. Miracles are meant to broadcast that a higher divine power exists. The miracle, however, can derive from a LIMITED INFINITY, on the one hand, or it can project from a higher source yet, one of UNLIMITED infinity.

(Infinities, of course, can be variegate. A line possesses an infinite number of points. But the infinity of the number of points on two lines relates to a higher order of magnitude.)

Why should miracles where Nature can be toppled or beaten be of lesser "voltage" or sourced from a lower Infinity than that which masquerades in Nature's garments?

Above-Nature miracles show that their source is "stronger than Nature". But it fails to transmit that which miracles "hidden within Nature" reveal. These have an advantage; When the miracle is configured inside of Nature's guidelines, it shows that Nature ITSELF is ALSO under the control of God. The loftier miracle shows that NATURE ALSO EXISTS UNDER GOD'S MASTERY.

There's another reason too. The world is one of finiteness. If a source of limited infinity is used to create a miracle, this infinity cannot co-exist with Nature without upstaging it. In order for infinity to coexist with the finite, only a source from God Himself can drive such a phenomenon because God exists everywhere, both in the infinite as well as in the finite.
(Culled from the Rebbe's Ma-amar [Sefer Hama-amarim, Melukat vol. 4, "כימי צאתך מארץ מצרים"]. )

Friday, May 16, 2014

Persian Gulf War in Retrospect

Miracles, by definition, override Nature. While some miracles subvert Nature, others mostly co-operate with it.

Here are examples of both types.

The miracles that occurred in Egypt, such as the splitting of the Reed Sea that created a dry passageway for the Jews, or when water turned into blood for the Egyptians - overruled Nature, "hijacked" it, for the sake of the Jewish people.

A recent miracle that occurred in Israel exemplifies the type of miracle that streams through Nature mostly "co-operating" with it. This happened during the Persian Gulf War when Iraq launched 39 Scud missiles (each the size of a bus) at Israel and not one life was lost thereby. (Whereas the single missile that landed in the American compound in Saudi Arabia at the time killed over a score of soldiers.)

The miracles during the Persian Gulf War, because they did not supplant Nature, derived from a source of divinity much higher than that which produced the miracles in Egypt 3,326 years ago.

All Israelis know of and can recount miracles that occurred to them or their friends in the Israeli wars. All these miracles, by virtue of the fact that the miracles did not overwhelm Nature, but rather enclothed themselves within Nature's "garments", as it were, points to an elevated source of Godliness that drives them, one much loftier than for those that happened for the Jews during the exodus from ancient Egypt.

Such miracles that "hide" within Nature will continue to occur until an even higher source for more fantastic revelations will usher in the Final and Ultimate Era of Redemption in all its stunning glory.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Maximizing Lymph Flow

A secret to good health is good circulation of the lymph, for wherever lymph drainage from intercellular tissue is thwarted, cells suffer oxygen deficiency and waste backup. Prolonged stasis of this kind leads to inflammation or damage of tissue and its myriad of symptoms, depending on where the tissue is choking.

Of course muscle movements, as during exercise, inch the lymph along. But a more dynamic movement occurs in the chest during deep breathing. Exercise increases blood flow to the lungs. Increased pulmonary blood flow causes an increased exudate in the pleura of the lungs. And the greater the pleural exudate, the greater the resulting lymph flow. A large flow of lymph in the chest helps drainage from the lower portion of the body as well.

To maximize blood flow to the lungs, you can lie down during exercise and breathe deeply. Normally the apex of lungs get very little blood flow. By lying down and breathing deeply, the apices too get a strong influx of blood, and contribute to a greater lymph flow.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

As in the days you left Egypt - I will show wonders!

Set aside for now the fact that everything that Nature is - is miraculous. Let's just consider the continuity of Nature as "normal".

Beyond the "normalcy" of Nature, then, there exist 3 different forms of miracle that will supersede Nature.  In other words, within the fabric of Nature itself, miracles can stream through it in 3 ways.

The most obvious miracle imposes its own set of rules that counteract the laws of Nature. An example of this type of miracle is the splitting of the Reed Sea. Whereas normally the sea bed is covered by ocean, during the Jewish exodus from Egypt the elements of water, wind, earth and the fish - all had a change imposed upon them to conform with the miracle's agenda.

The next type of miracle is less obvious because it "respects" the laws of Nature without altogether "breaking" them. An example is the miracle of Chanukah. Although the Hasmoneans (חשמונאים) used swords in battle, their sword-fighting ability seemed miraculous in that so few could overcome so many Romans. So, although Nature was, in fact, abrogated during the fighting, an observer could have thought otherwise, seeing that the battle proceeded within the framework of Nature. Similarly, the fact that some oil lasted much longer than it should have may have seemed to an observer as an accident of "Nature".

Another example would be the miracles that occurred during the Purim story, where all those "circumstances" in a maze of events could easily be seen for what they were - an outright miracle - albeit within the confines of a "Natural" framework.

The miracle that transcends Nature, such as all the water in Egypt turning to blood, or the splitting of the sea, has its source in a level of divinity LOWER than that which respects the laws of Nature. The miracles of Chanukah and Purim that streamed through Nature, therefore, derived from a level of Godliness that was higher than the source that provided the miracles during the Egyptian exodus.

When the lowest level of the Infinite is "plugged into", it cannot cooperate with Nature. This level, from the Infinite, therefore, taps a limited infinity. The more that Nature conceals the miracle, the higher the source of Godliness tapped into to produce that miracle.

The very highest root of divinity produces miracles entirely disguised within the fabric of Nature. The target of this miracle, for whose sake the miracle occurred in the first place, usually does not recognize a miracle occurred! An example would be, where someone broke his leg on the way to the airport, only to find out later this airplane he failed to board exploded in midair.

Silent miracles run deepest.

There where God's handiwork to produce miracles accommodates Nature's guidelines, without "breaking" the latter's laws, demonstrates that control is exercised omnipotently over both Nature and miracles to mesh synchronously, without either phenomenon disturbing the other.

This highest source of divinity for weaving miracles through the fabric of Nature will be given visibility when the process for the Era of Redemption ramps up.

Regarding that future, you would think the prophet Michah (7:15) spoke silly when he said,
"As in the days you left Egypt - I will show wonders!"
  "כימי צאתך מארץ מצרים אראנו נפלאות"

Didn't Michah know that which our sages would teach us, that miracles in the Era of Redemption will far outclass the "mere" miracles that highlighted the Egyptian exodus (Brachot 12b)? Why even mention them when they'll be dwarfed by those to occur in the future? It's like praising a record-breaking Olympic champion for some high-school event he won in his junior years. Who could care about that?

In fact, because the future's redemptive miracles will be so phenomenal compared to those of the Egyptian redemption, in that they will tap the highest source for streaming miracles - plus the fact that they will thence be VISIBLE ("I will show you ..."), explains it.
(Culled from the Rebbe's Ma-amar [Sefer Hama-amarim, Melukat vol. 4, "כימי צאתך מארץ מצרים"]. )

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Another PLO Miracle - Dressed in Nature

In trading land for peace, as Israel did with Egypt, when Egypt got back the entire Sinai Peninsula, Israel today is willing to offer the PLO a state of their own.

Back in 2000, Israel was willing to offer the PLO more than 95% of the land in question. The PLO refused.

Now too the Israelis would have surrendered more territory to the PLO, but the PLO decided to unify with Hamas, recognized as a terror organization by most of the world.

Now suddenly the "peace negotiations" screeched to a halt. The PLO, recognized as a non-terror organization by much of the world, though it teaches its next generation to hate and kill the Jew, now again saved the Jewish nation from certain catastrophe.

These are open miracles. They may appear as nondescript political incidents to the casual observer. But to a Chassid from Chabad, whose Rebbe told him we are living in the Era of Redemption, albeit in its initial phase, these incidents are nothing short of miraculous.

After all, all the PLO really had to do is say, to any offer that comes their way, "Yes, we'll take it", and then, as they now do demonstrably in Gaza, they can continue to chisel away more and more Jewish territory and meanwhile spawn more terror across a wider range.

Their "hardening of the heart", by spurning the foolhardy offer, is a miracle attired in Nature, that otherwise would have doomed the Jewish nation, God forbid, with immense tragedy.