When Abraham and Sarah learn that Sarah will bear a child, we read in Genesis 17-18, they both laugh. Abraham wipes the smile off his face, and asks Divine consideration for Ishmael, his son with Hagar. But Sarah considers the whole idea impossible: Can a woman of 90 bear a child? My husband is old too. But she finds out soon enough that, as the Torah reminds us, nothing is impossible for G-d, and she bears a normal son at the normal time. They name him Isaac Yitzkhak in Hebrew, from the root word tza-khak: laugh! They celebrate each occasion in their only sons growth, even the day he is weaned. As many parents can observe, every normal birth is a kind of miracle.
So what is a miracle? One definition describes a miracle as something that happens that we could not expect to happen. Questionable definition, that. Could easily include a surprise disaster. So lets limit our definition to positive results that looked impossible, or even improbable.
Did you ever experience a miracle? I did. I dont usually tell sea stories in these blogs but as long as we are exploring miracles, Ill tell mine. In World War II, I served on a Navy minesweeper, the smallest class of sweepers, a 136-foot wooden ship powered by a diesel engine with twin propellers (screws we called them) under the fantail. We were crossing the Gulf of Alaska one night in 1945 when we sailed into a typhoon. 60-foot swells hoisted us to the top, with both screws out of the water and generating vibrations that felt as if every nail would pop out of that hull. Then a minute later, down we would plunge to the bottom of the wave, with angry water breaking over the flying bridge. The helmsmen fought those savage waves desperately. I dont know how many hours high winds and heavy currents buffeted that little ship, but I know one thing: there were no atheists on board that night. We were all praying for a miracle. And our prayers were answered. We weathered the storm. We all lived to tell the tale.
A narrow escape is one kind of miracle. Finding your bashert your one-and-only is another kind. And becoming the parents of a normal healthy baby is a third. That is why our daily prayers include an expression of thanks to G-d for nisekho shebkhol yom imanu Your miracles that are with us every day.
Enjoy yours and appreciate it!