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Natural and Supernatural Miracles

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Torah Thoughts on Pashas Ki Savo by Joshua Samber


"וְלָקַחְתָּ מֵרֵאשִׁית כָּל פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר תָּבִיא מֵאַרְצְךָ אֲשֶׁר ה' אֱלֹקֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ וְשַׂמְתָּ בַטֶנֶא וְהָלַכְתָּ אֶל הַמָקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר ה' אֱלֹקֶיךָ לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמוֹ שָׁם" דְבָרִים כ''ו:ב'

“And you shall take of the first of every fruit of the ground that you bring in from the land that God, your Lord, gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that God, your Lord, will choose, to make His Name rest there.” Devarim 26:2


Every Pesach, our families and guests gather around the Seder table to tell over the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim. Our children eagerly await the drama of the retelling of the famous story of our exodus from Egypt. But instead of focusing on the narrative in Sefer Shemos, with all its drama, we instead read through the pesukim of the Bikkurim and expound the rabbinic drashos for each word or phrase in each verse. Why do we expound the verses of the proclamation of the Bikkurim offerer? What about the Bikkurim is so fundamental that it can be the primary piece of telling over Tzippur Yetzias Mitzrayim as we transmit this mesorah to the next generation?


Many answers are give to this question. Ramban (Shemos 13:16) explains that the purpose of the great miracles during Yetzias Mitzrayim was to attune people in all generations to the hidden miracles that Hashem performs each and every day. By seeing the unlimited power of Hashem, we can truly appreciate the daily miracles of the natural world that Hashem displays for us. This is one of the examples of "the exception proves the rule". The miracles of Creation are no less deserving of our thanksgiving than those of a wondrous miracle that defies nature. The Bikkurim proclamation epitomizes this concept. We take the natural output of our agricultural efforts and bring it to the Beis HaMikdash and pour out our thanks. We thank Hashem for the annual production that sustains us through natural means, but we do this by quoting the supernatural events of "Yetzias Mizrayim".


As we talk to our children about the special aspects of Yetzias Mizrayim, i.e. the Makkos and Krias Yam Suf, we quote the Bikkurim to teach them that it is not enough to focus on these great miracles, but rather, we must convey the message that natural miracles are equally deserving of our attention. On the other hand, when we bring the Bikkurim and thank Hashem for what he gives us naturally, we must proclaim to all about Hashem's power to redeem us through the supernatural. The Pesach Seder and Bikkurim are thus inherently tied together. We need to not only marvel at the miracles Hashem has performed for our ancestors but acknowledge and thank Hashem for all that we receive on a daily basis.

 

Joshua Samber graduated FYHS in 1993. He continued his learning at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, then graduated Yeshiva University in 1998. He lives with his family in Passaic, NJ, and is very involved in the administration of his shul, Congregation Tifereth Israel, where he is currently the gabbai, and has served as president. Unofficially, he is also the “cholent maker” every week. Josh works as a Software Consultant for an Insurance Services company in the New York area.

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