The One Miracle

By Bernard J. Shapiro

I went to call on the L-rd in His house on the high hill, My head full of anxiety over five million Israeli Jews, having to grow up overnight. "If ever a people, Lord, needed a miracle!" The L-rd He looked at me as a mountain might look at a molecule. "So you want a miracle, "said the Lord. "My, my! You want a miracle." I suppose you mean that you want me to come sliding down a sunbeam and make five million egotists overnight into five million co-operative angels. "Brother, "said the L-rd, in a voice that shook the windows, "that isn't the sort of universe you're living in. And that isn't the sort of G-d I am."

The room was suddenly vast, with the stars set bright in the ceiling. "There is only one miracle," said the L-rd. "All else is cause and effect. All else is law." The thunder withdrew from the Voice, and the words came hushed and clear like the first stars in the twilight, each star a newborn glory. "There is only one miracle, and it is already accomplished. That miracle is the soul of the Jewish people.

The L-rd He lifted His head and the Milky Way was His hair. "The Jewish soul is like the atom," He said. "Wonderfully like the atom. Consider the atom. So minute, no lens you can make can enlarge it to a point where your eye can see it, yet there's a whole solar system inside, whirling round a nucleus like the planets around the sun. So feeble in its unreleased state, yet actually the greatest force, save one, in creation. The greatest force in creation, save one."

The Lord strode through His house so the timbers whispered to each other, "He's thinking of the soul tonight, of the Jewish soul, and the power asleep in the soul. He always shakes the house when He thinks of the power, the power asleep, asleep in the Jewish soul."

"I have given you a soul, "cried the L-rd, "and you ask me to come down and do a magician's trick! The people who smashed the atom didn't beg Me to come with a thunderbolt and split the nucleus for them. They knew that there was power in the atom and they set to work to release it."

"There is power in the Jewish soul. When you break through and set it free, like the power of the atom. More powerful than the atom, It can control the atom, One of the few things in the world that can. I told you that the atom is the greatest force in the world, save one. That one is the Jewish soul."

"But," said the L-rd--and the stars in the sky seemed to stand still and listen--"The power must be released, as the atom-smashers released the power of the atom. They had to get passed the electrons to get at the energy packed in the nucleus. And I have to get past a great deal of ego to release the power that is packed in the Jewish soul. I keep shooting My rays toward the nucleus, And the charged field keeps fending then off. But now and then one gets by, the nucleus is split, the power is released and things begin to happen on a scale that makes men gasp and talk about miracles. The rebirth of Israel and the ingathering of the exiles is one such miracle. The spectacular victories of the Israeli army against overwhelming odds is another. But it isn't a miracle. It's just the soul of the Jew coming to its own. It's just the Jewish soul freed at last to be itself."

The L-rd He looked at me and His eyes pierced like hot wires. "Perhaps, there's something in you and numerous others that will have to be cracked open, if five million Israelis are going to grow up overnight. Something in you," said the L-rd, "something, perhaps, in you."

That was a joke, and I laughed. But the L-rd wasn't laughing. I hastened to reassure Him. "There's nothing the matter with me. It's the other fellow that's the trouble, all five million of them."

"I know all about the other five million Israelis," said the Lord, and I thought he seemed a little tired as he said it, "but I don't at the moment seem able to see anyone but YOU."


I adapted the parable above from an apocryphal tale I heard more than 40 years ago. The original author is unknown.....Bernard J. Shapiro,

[Published in the Jewish Herald-Voice on February 10, 1994]

 HOME  Maccabean  comments