When I was doing Kiruv in Israel, many people asked me, “Why doesn’t Hashem do miracles today?” They said, “If I only saw a miracle then I would become religious!” I said to them to try to imagine the following scenario. A young non-religious man was at the Kosel. He was saying, “Hashem if you are real then prove yourself to me” All of a sudden he hears a voice that says,”Yes I am Hashem. The Torah is true and I want you to become religious!” After recovering from the initial shock and assuming for arguments sake he really believes that it is Hashem, how will he react? Will he say, “Yes, I will change my entire life around immediately”? From my experience, the true answer would be, “Hashem it is a pleasure to meet you! However, there are many things that I would like to do with my life. Can we have this meeting say 20 years from now?”
TALE ONE: THE CHAZON EISH IS ALIVE!
A few years after the Chazon Eish passed away several Yeshiva students were in a taxi discussing the great loss to Klall Yisrael because he was no longer alive. The non-religious taxi driver told them that they were wrong. the Chazon Eish was still alive. They looked at him strangely. He said that he will tell them his story. Years ago, his daughter was giving birth in a Tel Aviv hospital. The labor was very difficult and the doctors were afraid that both Mother and child would die. The Father was beside himself. He started crying uncontrollably. There was a religious nurse there who saw him and asked “What was the matter?” After he told her she said that there was a famous Rabbi nearby in Bnei Brak the Chazon Eish who gave blessings that came true. The man jumped in his taxi and ran to Bnei Brak. It was the middle of the night and he found someone who told him where the Chazon Eish’s house was. He knocked on the door. The Chazon Eish was still up learning and he answered the door. The man started crying and told over his story. The Chazon Eish looked at him and said “Mazal Tov! Everything is good.” Unbelieving the man ran back to the hospital and sure enough at the time the Chazon Eish gave his Beracha his daughter gave birth.
Many years later this man’s daughter was in the hospital giving birth and had similar problems. Now the man knew what to do. He quickly drove to the Chazon Eish’s house and knocked on the door. No one answered. He asked people where was the Chazon Eish? They told him he passed away this year. The man almost fainted. Then he said, ”Where is he buried?” People told him. He ran to the cemetery and started crying “Rebbe, Rebbe help me!” He saw an image of the Chazon Eish and he said to him “Mazal Tov! Everything is good” and so it was. The taxi driver told them “You see, the Chazon Eish is still alive! DID THE TAXI DRIVER BECOME RELIGIOUS? NO!
TALE TWO: THREE STRIKES
There was a very wealthy non- religious man from Tel Aviv whose business took a serious turn downward. He was likely to lose everything. He didn’t know what to do. An idea popped into his head that maybe he should go to a Shul to pray for help. He did not want any of his friends to know he was doing this so he went to Bnei Brak. He walked into a Shul and sat down and started crying. Next to him another man was crying. He asked him what he was crying about. He said that he owes 40,000 Shekel and cannot pay it back. The man thought to himself that he spends more than that in a week. He said that he would give him the money on condition that he pray that his business would turn around. The man was taken aback. He said that he was not Hashem and could not grant wishes. So they came to an agreement that he would try his best. Sure enough, two weeks later, his business turned around.
A few years later his son’s wife still did not have a child. The rich man went back to Bnai Brak and walked into a Kollel. He picked out a guy that looked very religious and poor. He asked him how his finances were. The Kollel guy said that he is barely making it. The rich man said that he would pay off his mortgage on condition that he would daven that his son would have a baby. Again the Kollel guy said that he is not Hashem. So they worded it in an acceptable way. Sure enough a few months later his daughter in law became pregnant. A year later his daughter still was not married. So he again went to Bnai Brak and looked for someone on the street who looked like he was suffering. He went to someone and the guy told him that he has a large family and does not have the money to do construction to expand his apartment. He told him that if he prayed for his daughter to get married he would pay for the construction. Sure enough within several months the daughter was engaged. The rich man felt the need to tell this story to a religious author and he said EVEN THOUGH I AM NOT RELIGIOUS, I AM THINKING ABOUT IT!
We find by Shemita that an entire country whose main Parnossa was based on agriculture had to stop all normal planting and harvesting for over a year. During the Yovel it was over two years. How could a country survive and not starve to death? Yet every Shemitah and Yovel they did survive. This was a truly massive open miracle. Yet there still was the Churban of the two Batei Mikdash. Miracles only ENHANCE one’s Emunah. They do not give a person Emunah. There is no purpose for open miracles today because it will not do any good. However, for those that truly believe, the HIDDEN MIRACLES, which are not really hidden, are there to be constantly seen.
Rabbi Rhodes was the Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Mitzion in Great Neck, Long Island and Merrick, long island for over 15 years. He then went on to co-found the Midwest Torah center, a shul and outreach center, in South Bend Indiana. Rabbi Rhodes is an international motivational speaker both in America and Israel.. In addition to his work at the yeshiva, Rabbi Rhodes has a large counselling practice that provides help to a diverse segment of the Jewish population.