Making Magic and Miracles
One of the central themes to the Passover story is miracles. They were an integral part of the Redemption of the Israelites from Egypt. The 10 plagues, the splitting of the sea, references to manna – it is a night where we recount miracle after miracle after miracle.
We don’t see too many of these supernatural events in our day and age, although one might argue that the existence of the Jewish people and our return to the Land of Israel is one big fat miracle in of itself. But the bottom line is that Pesach is about miracles and indeed the month that it falls out on – ניסן Nissan – has the Hebrew word for miracle as its root, נס nes.
So if miracles are in the air this time of year, how do we go about tapping into that energy and maybe getting some miracle action to happen in our own lives? And is it even possible that we have a say in such matters, or is that a bit too presumptuous to assume? After all, when one thinks of miracles we usually think of them as God’s job and not ours. He is the one who created everything and can switch it up when He so chooses. That being the case, is it reasonable to think that we can influence if, when and how miracles might happen in our lives?
Actually we can. Maybe not outright miracles, but certainly extraordinary stuff. How so? Simple. One of my favourite lines in the Talmud is: בדרך שאדם רוצה ללכת בה מוליכין אותו – “The path in which one chooses to walk on is the one that God will lead you down.” According to Jewish thought and tradition, God actually follows our lead and then and only then helps us in the direction we have already begun. Yeah, you lead and God follows.
You see, the way God made His world is with the notion that nothing is more powerful than free-choice to shape our lives. And so wherever and whatever we set off to do, God helps us go that way – for better or worse.
So if you want an extraordinary life, then God will give you that. And if you don’t want a magical life then He will give you that too. It’s really up to you. And seeing that the power of this is very much in our hands, we need to remember what the biggest killer of miracles and magic is: Pettiness.
Think of it, miracles by definition are above and beyond. They supersede the ordinary, rise above it and take us to new heights that we never thought humanly possible. But if a person is locked in the mundane, the petty, the trivial and the unimportant, then miracles have no room to get in. Magic can be happening right in front of your eyes but if you are too small-minded to see it, then it completely passes you buy.
We are guilty of this every day when we ignore the miracles in our daily lives. We take for granted the amazing state of our bodies or of nature because we are too busy zeroing in on a tiny five inch screen on our phone. We are so preoccupied recording the extraordinary rather than actually living it. We miss out on the amazing talents latent within each and every person because we get distracted by some petty flaw they may have in their character, or the way that they look or dress.
Sometimes we are at an event that is extraordinary by nature but we get distracted by something trivial. A person can be at a lavish, beautiful joy-filled wedding in a sumptuous setting with the most wonderful finery and flowers and surrounded by love, excitement and anticipation – but ignore it all because there is no salt at the table for the first course. “Can you believe this place? There’s no salt! No salt! Did you hear me?! NO SALT!!!”
We have all met people like this who completely miss the magic. Worse, we have been that person.
If you want extraordinary things to happen in your life, then you need to live an extraordinary life and have an extraordinary outlook. And that doesn’t happen by visiting exotic places around the globe, it happens by seeing the extraordinary in the every day. It happens by setting your sights a bit higher and looking beyond the silly, the petty, the unimportant and the trivial. It happens when you focus on matters of truth, good and making the word a better place while ignoring the stuff that doesn’t mean much in the long run.
בדרך שאדם רוצה ללכת בה מוליכין אותו – “The path in which one chooses to walk on is the one that God will lead you down.” If you choose extraordinary and if you choose magic then God will make all kinds of magic and miracles in your life. In sports they might call it making your own luck. We call it making your own miracles.
I said, Go if you wanna go
Stay if you wanna stay…
But it’s always the same old story
You never know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone…
All I need is a miracle
All I need is you
All I need is a miracle
All I need is you
-Mike + The Mechanics