On Miracles

Copyright (C) 1975 by the Members of the House of Love and Prayer
Reprinted with the permission of all the Holy Beggars….

Not for commercial redistribution without
written consent of the Estate of Reb Shlomo Carlebach

San Francisco. Kislev 5735

Transcribed and edited by (Rabbi) Elana Rappaport (Shechter)
Rabbeinu speaking

On Miracles

Am I a Jew because of all the miracles that I saw Moshe perform
for us? If someone were to ask me what was happening at Mt. Sinai,
and I were to answer, “It was the greatest miracle ever—I could
hear G-d’s voice,” how would it sound? Something is wrong. Mt. Sinai
was a miracle? What if someone walked in here and performed
miracles? Imagine someone came in and made the house disappear.
He would be top man, right? Then he would say, “In the name of G-d,
I don’t want you to keep Shabbos. Keep Sunday.” I have to say he must
be a messenger of G-d because he performed so many miracles. If
someone comes and turns over Heaven and Earth and performs all the
miracles in the world, I will still spit in his face. Shabbos is Shabbos
and it is not Sunday. If I as a Jew need a miracle to show the world
that I am chosen, that is depending on tricks. On the highest level,
even G-d’s miracles are tricks. True belief is much deeper than all that.

    Reb Labele Ager, originally one of the Chassidim of the Kotsker
who later went to the lshbitzer, says that if you doubt, and then you
see a miracle which makes you believe, that is a very low kind of
believing. We think a miracle proves things. He asks, “Is this all we
Yiddelach are capable of? Believing after seeing miracles? If someone
would come with miracles to prove there is no G-d it wouldn’t change
me a bit.” He says that if the choseness of Aaron depended on miracles
it would be meaningless. The Jews were not doubting that G-d told
Moshe Rabbenu that Aaron should be chosen. They were complaining
that Moshe Rabbenu asked G-d to choose his brother, and therefore
Aaron was chosen. They felt that if Moshe had asked for someone else
G-d would have chosen him. So, they were angry with Moshe. “Why do
you take care of your family only?”

    There is such a thing as a miracle. There is also something much
deeper than a miracle. Something happens and G-d opens your eyes,
and you know this is so, it really is so. Mt. Sinai was not a miracle.
It really was so. The ten plagues were miracles, The crossing of the
Red Sea was a miracle. Mt. Sinai was not a miracle, It was much
deeper than that. You heard G-d’s voice? It was not a miracle. When
Aaron’s stick began growing it was not a miracle, but G-d told Moshe
He would show them who Aaron really was. Aaron can take a dry stick
and make it grow. That is all there is to it; it was not a miracle.

    Reb Labele Ager says that sometimes G-d performs miracles to
help us, and sometimes He doesn’t perform miracles, but G-d shows
us something. Because G-d has compassion on us, He sees that we
have so many doubts we don’t know what to do with ourselves, so
G-d shows us something, which is not a miracle. Sometimes we
think, “Is there really one G-d in the world?” Then something happens
to us and mamash, we know. It was not a miracle. G-d was showing us,
“I really am here.”

    Miracles are just to prove someone’s power. Reb Labele Ager says
that after a person performs a miracle, he needs a lot of help from
Heaven to prevent people from thinking it was a miracle. If something
is on the level of a miracle, it is possible to walk away and say, “maybe
it wasn’t a miracle.” You might find an ‘anti-trick’ and say it wasn’t a
miracle, Reb Labele Ager says the truth can’t be proved by a miracle
because the truth is much deeper than a miracle. The Baal Shem
performed a lot of miracles. If someone says, “I can show you bigger
miracles,” will he be the Baal Shem Tov? No. The Baal Shem is more
than miracles. The Baal Shem is the Baal Shem. Moshe Rabbenu is
Moshe Rabbenu. This is a good thing to remember because we are
always waiting for signs from Heaven. If you are waiting for G-d to
let you know, that is good. If you are waiting for a miracle, that’s bad.
Just pray that G-d will let you know.

    Suppose a person performs a miracle, and then I walk out to
the world and I am fighting with people over it. “Listen, I saw the
miracle and you didn’t. I’m a G-d person and you aren’t.” The whole
big thing is already a sign that it was not real. A true holy miracle
is so strong that there can’t be any fighting afterwards. When Aaron’s
stick began to grow there was so much peace that they knew Aaron
was chosen.

    Listen folks, this is good to remember. If the whole world comes
and tells me there are people who perform miracles, holy people who
say good things, it doesn’t change me one billionth of an inch from
being a Jew and fulfilling every word of the Torah, because this
comes from a much deeper place. Maybe a person is very holy,
maybe he has reached the level where he can say holy words, maybe
he has reached the level where he can perform miracles, but my
Jewishness, my holiness doesn’t come from that level of miracles.
It comes from the world of “it really is so.” It really is so.

by  Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
Posted in: Personal Growth