By Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer
The great Hassidic rabbi Simcha Bunim suggests that the miracles that happen in the Torah did not happen only once in time and space. He states that Hashem’s miracles are accessible to be experienced in every time and every place and by every person.
I believe we need just to be open and aware that a Biblical miracle is not unique to the Bible in time and space, but it can happen with the same power today as it happened in Biblical times. All we need to do is to be mindful of where we are and what we see, and how we respond.
There is a wonderful meditative practice that is connected to mindfulness. This is called “Gazing.” Gazing teaches that all things are inseparably connected, and we are never alone. We are never separate from God. When we think and feel this way, we enjoy an extraordinary spiritual experience known as Presence. In physics, the idea of Presence is expressed in the theology of Energy. This means the entire universe is composed of the presence of Energy in various forms. Each cell in our body is a function of Energy. Every breath, every step, every movement, every relationship is an expression of Energy. We can’t separate ourselves from the source of Energy.
Imagine if we had miracle eyeglasses, that when worn, only allowed Energy to be seen. What we normally see as the specific miracle in the Bible could now, with these eyeglasses be seen as raw Energy. And instead of seeing the Biblical miracle, we would put on these unique eyeglasses, and through a unique form of Gazing, we could be mindful of the Oneness of it all, and recognize that the fundaments element of the universe is love.
Imagine that a person who looks through the glasses recognizes that the glasses themselves are the same as what is being seen. It is all Energy. This is not too farfetched. Remember what Aristotle taught – God Is Thought Thinking Itself. And so, in our Torah, when we see a miracle, through mindful practice called Gazing, we can also recognize that we are all one. Our Torah and its many miracles can be seen as appearing in a different form of Energy. Perhaps Rabbi Simcha Bunim is teaching there are miracles all around us, and they never clash because our Torah is not a historical narrative of our people, but a textbook of Spiritual Physics.
Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer is Senior Rabbi of Congregation Bene Shalom, Skokie, and president and professor of Jewish Mysticism at Hebrew Seminary, Skokie.