And they say miracles don’t occur. If you watched any news of the rescue of the Thai soccer team and their coach, you might call that miraculous. Faced with an incredible challenge, a very brave Thai Navy SEAL team performed an amazing act of heroism, despite the tragic loss of one of their own. When we hear the words “Navy SEAL”, we think of those in the military involved in some sort of dangerous situation, but rarely of this type.
It is uncommon that we speak of miracles in our world. When we do, the word is frequently misused. By winning the 1969 World Series, the Mets became the “Miracle Mets”. An underdog who wins automatically gets the appellation “miracle”. The word “miracle” is regularly used when speaking of Chanukah, due to the phrase on the dreidel - Nes Gadol Hayah Sham – a great miracle happened there. In the Conservative movement’s liturgy, we apply the word nes to the birth of the State of Israel. Is it possible that miracles surround us daily, but we do not recognize them? I think that the birth of a baby is a miracle. There are students who claim it was a miracle that they passed a test. We have all heard the phrase, “it was a miracle that she survived that automobile accident”. We also use the word facetiously, as in “it was a miracle that ______ (fill in the blank with your personal favorite)”.
You might be surprised to learn that we thank God for miracles three times daily, as the authors of the prayer book were alert to the regular miracles that surrounded them. Toward the conclusion of the Amidah we read the following, excerpted below:
We thank You and praise You for our lives that are in Your hand, for our souls that are in Your charge, for Your miracles that daily attend us, and for Your wonders and gifts that accompany us evening, morning and noon.
We awake in the morning and get out of bed. Many of us regard this as routine. Our ancestors regarded this as miraculous, worthy of thanking God, crafting this simple expression of gratitude:
I am grateful to You, living, enduring Sovereign, for restoring my soul to me in compassion. You are faithful beyond measure.
The cave rescue was indeed miraculous, an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence. We witness and participate in daily miracles, but are not attuned to them. When you arise tomorrow morning, take a moment, breathe in the miracle and thank God.