Miracles and divine intervention: Somehow, just saying these words elicits in our minds images of wonder and feelings of awe. Many of us have different understandings of these two interconnected ideas. Some view miracles and divine intervention as virtually irrelevant to our current lives where the hand of God is hidden, while some perceive every act of nature as a miracle, as a sign of God’s hand in our world. And still others are jolted by the periodic signs of miracles and divine intervention in their lives that they just cannot ignore.
But what role, ideally, are miracles and divine intervention meant to play in our lives? Many claim that if only the hand of God were transparent in our lives, everything would be clearer and simpler. We would all believe in God. Gone would be the doubts of faith.
But as we see from our turbulent history, such is not the case.
Doubts of faith are common now, and they were common in the generation that witnessed the splitting of the sea and the receiving of the Torah. Indeed, divine intervention is a complex idea within our mesorah, and Jewish thinkers throughout the ages have debated its nature. What is the potential function, then, of miracles? What should divine intervention mean to us, and has the answer to that question changed over the course of Jewish history?
These are some of the many questions that we explore in this issue of Kol Hamevaser. And this is only the beginning. The goal of Kol Hamevaser is to create a community of thinkers invested in Jewish thought and its application to our lives. We invite you to read, write, respond, and, ultimately, spark discussion even beyond the written word. As we embark on a new year of Kol Hamevaser, we hope that this issue serves as the foundation for many discussions throughout the year—whether that is at one of our events, article clubs, shabbatonim, on our website (kolhamevaser.com), or on Facebook—and we urge each one of you to contribute your own unique perspective.