The purpose of creation is that
man should recognize his G-d and realize that G-d created Him and the world with
the intention of showering him with goodness—with the knowledge of G-d, for
G-d Himself is that goodness. But in order for Him to do that, the creation
needs a connection to Him. It has to be G-dly. The more G-dly our lives, the
more we create the relationship with G-d which we call the world-to-come. In
this world we don’t feel it. But after we are free of the physical world, the
relationship we created to G-d is with us for all eternity.
G-d wanted us to come to that relationship on our own. If He
gave it to us on a silver platter, we wouldn’t appreciate it. That’s why G-d
put us in a physical world in which, to a certain degree, He is hidden. The
Hebrew word for world is “olam,” from the world ne’elam:
something that is hidden. G-d is hidden in the world and it’s our job is to
find Him. For that reason G-d does not do open miracles. He avoids them unless
there is no other possibility. Sometimes G-d does perform miracles, but in
principle G-d wants the world to function in what appears to be a natural way.
He does not want His existence to be so evident that there is no need to find
Him. He wants us to seek Him out and create a relationship.
The famous interchange between G-d and the prophet Shmuel,
when G-d commanded him to anoint David to be king, is a good example of G-d’s
reluctance to do miracles. When G-d told Shmuel to anoint David, Shaul was still
king, and was very much concerned that someone might rebel and try to take the
kingdom from him. If he were to discover that Shmuel were going to anoint David
to be king, Shaul would kill him as a rebel. As the king, he has the right to
kill rebels. When G-d told Shmuel to go to anoint David, Shmuel responded by
telling this to G-d. We might expect G-d to have answered him with a promise to
protect him, and to assure him that he could save him in any number of
miraculous ways. But that’s not what G-d said. What did G-d tell him? He
instructed him in a ruse: Tell people you are going to make a sacrifice. Nobody
will know that you are going to anoint David. Then, once you get there, you can
do it quietly so that Shaul won’t know anything about it.
G-d doesn’t want to do a miracle, even to save Shmuel from
the dangers of his mission. G-d avoids open miracles because, by declaring the
existence of G-d, they defeat the purpose of the world: that man should seek G-d
and create a relationship with Him.
Besides that, miracles lead people to a mistaken idea of
nature. The truth is that there is no real difference between miracles and
nature. Nature is just miracles that happen all the time. If the sun would only
rise once in history, what a miracle that would be! But since it happens
everyday, so it becomes old hat. Imagine hearing about a machine that could go
on for years without rest and without servicing. It would sound like something
miraculous—and it is: the human heart. The human heart is a miracle, but its
with us all the time, so we get used to it. The sense of wonder which reveals
nature for what it really is, wears out.
The Gemara says that Rebbe Chanina ben Dosa’s
daughter-in-law once, by mistake, put vinegar into the Shabbos candles. There
was a little bit of oil left, so when she lit the candles they started to burn.
But she realized that in a few minutes, the oil would burn up and, since she put
in vinegar, the flame would go out and there would be no light for Shabbos. So
she went crying to her father-in-law and told him her mistake and that there
wouldn’t be any candlelight on Shabbos. Rebbe Chanina said to her: The G-d
that said oil should burn can say that vinegar will burn. Oil doesn’t burn
because it has to burn. Oil burns because G-d wants it to burn. That’s G-d’s
will. If he wants, vinegar can also burn. A miracle is a natural phenomenon that
happens very rarely. Nature is a set of miracles that happen all the time.