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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Shabbas Chol HaMoed Pesach (64)

The following is a thought about Pesach and the message of the miracles that Hashem wrought in those days.

Last week in parashas Tzav we quoted Rashi regarding the thanksgiving offering.

We quote that Rashi here:

If he brings it as a thanksgiving offering: Rashi: If regarding a thanksgiving for a miracle that was done for him, such as the seafarers or those who travel the deserts or those incarcerated in prison or a sick person who was healed [they] must give thanks for it is written regarding them (Psalms 107) "Let them thank Hashem for His kindness and His wonders for mankind. And let sacrifice thanksgiving offerings."


Rashi mentions the people who are saved from four different dangerous situations. He refers to their being saved as a "miracle." In actuality there doesn't seem to be anything miraculous about a person successfully crossing the ocean or the desert. Granted these trips were dangerous in those days, but nothing out-of-the-ordinary, nothing supernatural was done to save them. Likewise the other two cases, the sick who recovered and the imprisoned who was as freed from prison. Yet Rashi refers to their successful mission as a miracle.


This is reminiscent of a comment by the Ramban in Parashas Bo (Exodus 13:16). There he explains that all the mitzvos connected with remembering the Exodus are intended to remind us of all the evident , open, miracles that occurred then. These miracles showed that Hashem exists, that He created and controls nature and that He is aware of man's needs and responds to him.

TheRamban proceeds to discuss "hidden miracles."


"And from these great, public, miracles, a person acknowledges also the hidden miracles which are the foundation of Torah belief. For no man has a portion in Moses' Torah unless he believes that all events in our lives are all (ultimately) miracles They are not "natural" or the customary running of the world. Whether it is matter that effects the public or a private individual Rather if a person fulfills the mitzvos then he will be granted his reward in success but if he transgresses them his punishment will cut him down. All is according to a Higher decree."


Ramban is quite emphatic that the believing Jew must realize that during all his life he is surrounded by the personal intervention of Hashem. These are miracles, whether they are supernatural events or a quite commonplace ones.

The message of the Exodus is, according to the Ramban, that G-d intervenes for the People of Israel and also for the people of Israel, each and every one, each and every day of our lives.

This is what we say in Shemoneh Esrei every day in the Modim blessing.

"for our lives, which are committed to Your power and for our souls that are entrusted to You for Your miracles that are with us every day…"

Confirming this basic belief is the foundation of Torah and the bedrock of the Jew's courage throughout the generations.

We are in need of this belief today no less than any time before.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Somayach

Avigdor Bonchek

"What's Bothering Rashi?" is a product of the Institute for the Study of Rashi and Early Commentaries. The Rashi Institute is preparing a new, original volume of What's Bothering Rashi? We are in need of sponsors for this project. For those interested please write us and we will supply the details.

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