Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hidden Miracles, Arks and Israel

According to Sefer Bereshit, Noah's Ark was a vessel that managed to hold all the animal kingdom for virtually a year! The logistics are mind-boggling. Never mind the fact that animals need room to move, that rabbits breed like ... rabbits (maybe male and female animals were seperated?) and the food that would be needed to feed them (and how about the carnivores... what did they eat?)... never mind all that (!) ... How did they all fit into a box that was:

300 cubits x 50 cubits (3 floors!) in other words 150 metre (450ft.) by 25 metre (75ft) on THREE floors.

Not very big. (Just visit your local zoo!)

Ramban asks the question (6:19) and he has this to say:

"It was a miracle that a small space contained a large volume. And if you will then say, well he could have constructed a smaller one and relied upon this miracle! (i.e. if the Ark can contain everything by basis of miracles, then just make a smaller Ark and by miracle, it will all fit in.)
God saw fit to make it large so that the people of that era would see it and be amazed by its size and it would be a conversation point... maybe they would repent.
Moreover, they made it large in order to minimise the miracle for that is the manner of all miracles in the Torah and Neviim that man does what he can..."

In other words, the 2nd explanation says that EVEN when God makes a miracle, he tries to make it look natural. Moreover, man has to do his part and God will make the miraculous appear natural.

This of course has many applications, but recently we were talking about Medinat Yisrael and mashiach and the fact that the RAmbam sees Mashiach politically and that for Rambam (Hil. Melachim ch.12) the Messianic Era is defined by Jewish Independence. Have we experienced miracle in our generations, miracles in the guise of natural, military, political events? Have we failed to understand that man HAs to do his part and then even God's miracle will not slap us in the face, but will be clothed in the natural human order?


Jesse said...

The problem is how openly can we admit to seeing God being a part of our lives. It is easier to claim that God interacts with us on a national level, but even that is pushing it. If I were to claim that everyday I have a personal relationship with God, and that my actions are the result of that relationship, I'm not sure how credible I would be, not only to other people, but to myself.

Jesse said...

If God keeps his miracles hidden, if God keeps his presence hidden, then It seems only natural to keep our emunah and conviction hidden. That is the terms of the relationship.