In the "al hanissim" that we recite during Chanukah, we thank G-d for the miracles that were performed for our ancestors at this time of the year. However, according to another tradition, we are thanking G-d for the miracles that were performed for us until the present time. While it is rare for us to experience open miracles, hidden miracles are happening for us all the time.

R' Shimon Pinchas related a story about a particular Dr. Barry in Los Angeles. Dr. Barry was a completely secular Jew who worked for an emergency room in a large hospital in Los Angeles. One day a Jewish man who had suffered a severe heart attack was brought in to the emergency room. The doctors tried to revive him, but they were too late. After 30 minutes passed, the doctors pronounced the man dead and covered his face with a sheet.

Dr. Barry entered the room a few minutes later and noticed the body's hand move. Shortly thereafter, the "corpse" opened his eyes and spoke. The patient asked Dr. Barry if his name was Chaim Meir. Dr. Barry was shocked that the patient knew his Hebrew name. The patient then commanded him to start wearing tefillin and to eat kosher. Then the patient closed his eyes and died. Dr. Barry later testified that that experience ultimately led to his becoming religious later on in his life.

R' Shimon Pinchas then related a miraculous story that happened during the Holocaust. A young Jewish man was living in a bunker in a ghetto with his younger sister. The rest of his family had been murdered by the Germans, and he therefore felt that it was his responsibility to look after his sister.

One day the young man was out foraging for food and returned to the bunker to find his younger sister missing. He was informed by his neighbors that his sister had been taken by the Nazis y"s to be killed. The young man bravely made his way to the local Gestapo office and demanded that they return his sister to him. A prestigious-looking Nazi officer tried to taunt the young man and told him that he would only return his sister when the young man would grow hair out of the palm of his hand. The young man then opened his palm and showed a tuft of hair growing out of it. The Nazi was shocked and, full of fright, gave in to the young man's demand.

The young man in the story later related that he suffered a terrible burn on his palm as a small child. In order to heal the burn, the doctors had to graft skin from a part of his body that grew hair. That was how he grew hair on the palm of his hand. The hidden nature of this miracle made it even greater.

In conclusion, every event that happens in this world is a miracle. The fact that a human being can function properly for even one moment really isn't less of a miracle than the momentous Splitting of the Sea of Reeds. It is only that we get used to certain miracles and make the mistake of taking them for granted. If we would come to recognize that G-d actively directs every aspect of creation, we would become much greater people.

           Chanuka - Miracles

Moshe Stempel