How to perform a miracle

In the Beginning…” (1:1)

There’s an old saying about building a house that goes, “The first ninety percent of the work takes ninety percent of the time, and the remaining ten percent of the work takes the other ninety percent of the time.”

When considering any task, we blithely assume that all we need is to do this and do this and do this and then – then it’ll be finished; our project, in all its glory, will spring suddenly into existence. So often we become frustrated when things don’t go according to plan.

But if you think about it, why should they?

We assume that the actual segues from the potential; that it’s all one system. In reality, plans exist in a different dimension to implementation. The gap between preparation and execution, potential and actual, is as cavernous as the gap between dreams and the waking world.

The fact that things have been done in the past, buildings built, ships constructed, records recorded and paintings painted - even in their trillions - does not lessen the fact that bringing something from the world of could-be into the world of is, is a leap of dimension, a change of magnitude.

In other words – a miracle.

The Jewish year has two beginnings(1). The first of Tishrei, Rosh Hashana, is known as the beginning of the new year; however, the first of Nissan is also called the beginning of the year.

How can there be two beginnings to something?

Rosh Hashana is the beginning of the year spiritually. This was the day when God thought to create existence. This is why we refer to Rosh Hashana as harat olam, the day of the world’s conception. God “conceived” the world on Rosh Hashana, however the first of Nissan is the day that the world became a physical existence. Thus Nissan is related to the word nitzan, which means ‘first bloom’(2). Just as the first bloom is the beginning of the completed state of the flower, so Nissan marks the first bloom of existence. Thus Nissan is always in the Spring when new life ‘springs’ forth, blooming from the earth.

After the original creation ex nihilo, God does not bring anything new into existence3, rather He forms and re-forms, using the existing building blocks of creation. Anything we manage to create uses pre-fabricated pieces of existence in new and different permutations.

With one exception.

The process of actualizing our thoughts and aspirations, of giving substance to our dreams, is akin to God ‘thinking’ to create the world and then bringing His thoughts to fruition.

When we manage to transform a concept into a reality, we are imitating G-d actualizing His ‘thoughts’ to bring existence of out total nothingness.

Maybe we should remember that we just performed a miracle.

[1] Tos. Rosh Hashana, 27a ד”ה כמאן
[2] Shir Hashirim 6:11
[3] Ramban Bereshit 1:1

Posted in: Jewish Holidays

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