Well, dear friends, I have yet to share any excerpts from my Shabbat sermons on my blog, so I thought maybe I would include some of the concluding thoughts from my D'var Torah on Parashat Balak (this week's Torah portion). Enjoy!
Are there miracles that you have noticed in your own day-to-day life?
Now, I recognize that some of you might have trouble believing in God, let alone in a personal God that interacts in your own life, and maybe you don’t have a one-on-one relationship with God.
I still believe that we can all be like Tevye, yelling up at God, arguing, and asking for help and blessings whenever we want. God is there, within us and outside of us, waiting for us to open our eyes, just like Balaam, and see the divinity that surrounds us. Open your eyes. See the miracles. Take a deep breath, and feel your holy soul within you.
Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, in a children’s book entitled, The Book of Miracles, writes:
"To be a Jew means to wake up and to keep your eyes open to the many beautiful, mysterious, and holy things that happen all around us every day. Many of them are like little miracles: when we wake up and see the morning light, when we taste food and we grow strong, when we learn from others and grow wise, when we hug the people we love and feel warm, when we help those around us and feel good. All these and more are there for us every day, but we must open our eyes to see them."
Kushner concludes this idea with the following question:
“Suppose, right now, your eyes are closed. How do you wake up?”
I ask you this same question.
How do we all open our eyes and wake up?
How do we see the angels right before us, standing in our path?
How do we learn to recognize our blessings, and see the small miracles, let alone the large miracles, all around us?
I leave that for you to ponder in the coming weeks. The great Shofar blast on Rosh HaShanah is meant to wake us up from our slumber, but I believe we can begin to wake up right now, and truly begin to open our eyes.
Ken Yhi Ratzon.
May this be God’s will.