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Hanukkah’s Unwanted Miracles

In Israel the dreidel’s phrase shifts. One word changes from there to here. It reads “a great miracle happened here.” There creates distance. Here denotes an intimacy with the events of the past. I am wondering if this is a good thing. When it comes to miracles does being “here” become intoxicating?

I am back where it all happened. And I have returned to where it is again happening. No matter how many times I visit Israel, it is a privilege to be here. It is an unparalleled blessing to live in this age alongside the sovereign Jewish state of Israel.

And yet, I find myself worrying. Can the past overwhelm the present and begin to suffocate the future?

There is a strain of Jewish thought that was once minor that I fear is becoming major. You can hear it in the medieval thinker Yehuda Halevi who argued that there is something special in the Jewish soul and that when combined with the land of Israel results in prophecy. It flows through Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook the first chief rabbi of British controlled Palestine who saw the holiness of the land above all else.

You hear their thinking more today. It is the result of what happens when the miracles of yesterday begin to be felt today…