Sometimes the obvious is a real miracle for each of us

Tu B'Shvat and Shabbat bid us to appreciate all of G-d's many miracles - the obvious open ones, and the subtle, hidden ones.

Phil Chernofsky ,


Ask someone to answer the following question quickly: What sedra do you associate with Miracles? My guess is that B'shalach will be the most common answer. (Even if you do not ask the question this week.)

Now ask for a holiday associated with Miracles. Pesach and Shavuot would be the common responses. I doubt many people would answer TU BISHVAT.

TU BISHVAT? Miracles?

B'SHALACH, definitely. Splitting of the Sea. Bitter water turned sweet. The SLAV (quail). Water from a Rock. The Manna. And many of these miraculous events were multiple miracles.

But TU BISHVAT? Definitely yes.

Just a different type of miracle. a natural miracle. Natural miracle? Which is it - nature or miracle? The answer is YES.

Nature is a vast collection of miracles. Not always as flashy as the Splitting of the Sea. But what is?

Nature is a collection of miracles that we have grown accustom to, and which we tend to take for granted.

My favorite quote on this topic is from Anton Chekhov's short story, The Bet (a.k.a. The Wager).

Without going into the whole story, there is a young fellow who voluntarily accepted 15 years of solitary confinement (to win a 2,000,000 ruble bet).

By the very end of the 15 years, he planned on leaving his confinement shortly before the deadline, to show his disdain for money and many other warped values ​​that people cherished.

One of the things he wrote in a note was that, "You would marvel if suddenly apple and orange trees should bear frogs and lizards instead of fruit" (implying that people do not marvel that apple and orange trees bear apples and oranges).

Yes, the Splitting of the Sea was a great miracle. But the unsplit sea, with its waves and tides, and teeming life, and its wealth of minerals ... that is no less a great miracle. We just sadly take it for granted.

Manna from heaven? Wow. Bread from wheat flour and other ingredients is no less of a miracle when you think of farmers planting seeds, cultivating their crops, then harvesting their crop and preparing the wheat kernels to be ground into flower.

LECHEM MIN HASHAMAYIM is amazing; LECHEM MIN HAARETZ might be more amazing.

TU BISHVAT and Shabbat Shira are close friends. Together they bid us to appreciate all of G-d's many miracles - the obvious open ones, and the subtle, hidden ones. Hiding behind nature should not hide them from us.