By Aryeh Zev Narrow
Director of The Rabbi Avigdor Miller Legacy Library
Rabbi Miller often stated a principle that Hashem "dislikes" performing miracles. This must be understood. First of all, why should he "dislike" it? After all, Hashem can maintain the world's "natural" order as easily as He can change it. And why is it that now, on Chanukah, we find ourselves celebrating exactly that: Hashem's miracles? The answer lies in understanding the role of "nature" in Hashem's world.
Our purpose is to use the free will opportunities the physical world presents, opportunities to do mitzvos (or otherwise). They are our means to serve Hashem. "Nature" is a ruse; it serves somewhat to cloak Hashem's presence. Thanks to "nature," we are challenged to recognize Him and to not attribute events to material cause and effect. The ruse of nature, which obscures our perception of Hashem, is essential for the existence of free will.
A miracle is a deviation from the routine of nature. Whether it is the miracle of a wartime victory or of a long-burning candle, it breaks the ruse. Because it reveals Hashem as the only power in the world, a miracle diminishes your free will. This frustrates the purpose of Creation and therefore Hashem "dislikes" it.
A miracle is a deviation from the routine of nature. It breaks the ruse.
Yet miracles also serve a purpose (as you will read and hear on Living With Hashem this week). Precisely because they reveal Hashem's presence, they bestow the ultimate gift: an infusion of Emunah that Hashem, and Hashem alone, runs the world. As we kindle the Chanukah lights, we are celebrating the greatest of all gifts: knowledge of Hashem.
Introducing Living With Hashem
I am excited to introduce the new magazine Living With Hashem (LWH), a publication of The Rabbi Avigdor Miller Legacy Library.
LWH is produced by the editorial team of Simchas Hachaim Publishing, publisher of the acclaimed Ohr Avigdor series on Chovos Halevavos and other popular sfarim. For LWH, the team has brought on world-class editing and writing talent from the Torah world's finest publications.
LWH incorporates the delightfully brief SimchaMinute (our popular quotation-of-the-day email), but also incorporates enhancements many readers have requested: a longer message that is more of a complete thought; and the development of a theme or idea over the course of a week or more. (LWH's weekly theme is loosely tied to the parsha; for this week, it is miracles.)
LWH features light, inspirational reading, listening and viewing with a strong focus on Rabbi Miller's teachings, but our content reflects our readers' diverse backgrounds and interests, and one third or more of our content is from other authors and speakers — as long as the topic is living with Hashem!
Like the Maccabees' unlikely victory over the Greeks, and like the flickering candle in the night, we hope LWH will be a source of light in this dark world, a daily reminder that all of life's challenges are opportunities to come closer to Hashem. Welcome to Living With Hashem.