And we’re back for round #3:
You can choose to see a miracle, or not. In having a baby, in seeing the sunset. These are the miracles that we see while we’re in exile . . .
What is she saying? The events in life can be taken for granted as part of nature, or the miraculous nature of, um, nature can be seen as miracles which are revelations of G-d’s actions in the world.
Someone once said to me that you can’t be an Orthodox Jew and believe in coincidence. Why not? Because it’s a fundamental perspective of Judaism that G-d is involved in our lives in an active way. This is different from the Aristotelian viewpoint that G-d exists, but is generally uninterested in the doings of mankind. Aristotle basically thought that G-d made the world but then didn’t want to have anything to do with it or its inhabitants. Judaism doesn’t buy that, and instead maintains that everything which happens is a direct result of G-d’s involvement. One place this is illustrated is in the story of Purim, where the Jewish people are saved from near extermination through a series of “coincidences.”
So, when Rebbetzin Heller says that you can choose to see a miracle or not, she’s referring to a choice that we all have in how we view the events of our life. We can choose to see healthy, happy children as just something which is a natural part of life, or we can choose to see them as a series of little miracles. For instance, it’s miraculous to…
- conceive. It seems that everyone knows someone who has had, or is having difficulty in this area.
- have a healthy, full-term pregnancy. As with my first pregnancy, I’m often aware of how helpless I am to protect the little one inside me. All I can do is try to eat well, avoid bad things, take my vitamins and pray that this baby remain healthy until I give birth. It really freaks me out sometimes.
- give birth and have a healthy baby and healthy mommy. Seriously. In Jewish law, a woman in labor (and immediately after childbirth) is considered to be a seriously ill person, and it’s permissible to break Shabbos on her behalf. Also, just take a look at the infant and maternal mortality rates in the 20th century. Or maybe don’t.
- raise them and keep them safe. Maybe it’s more so with little boys, but I feel like Little Man is always climbing onto something which could result in a nasty fall, G-d forbid. One mother of many boys told me that her doctor told her that it’s inevitable that she will end up taking her some of her boys to the emergency room. Inevitable. Yikes.
When I think about it like that, I have a much higher level of appreciation of being a mommy. This perspective shift can be done with anything in life. Just take a moment and think about all of the steps which led up to that point. And then take comfort in the fact that none of it was random. I like that.
What are some miracles you’ve experienced in your life?