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Nissan: Miracle of Miracles

And then came the Holy One, Blessed is He, and he slaughtered the Angel of Death, who killed the butcher who slaughtered the ox, that drank the water which quenched the flames, which burnt the stick that beat the dog, who bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for two zuzim…

As many have observed, this ancient song is difficult to make sense of, seeming to teeter between the ridiculous and the weird.  Yet this is probably the most famed song of seder night, when we celebrate the extraordinary miracles leading up to our emancipation from Egypt and slavery.

For Nissan is undoubtedly the month of open miracles.  In fact, whilst the name of the month is a Persian one, coined in the Babylonian exile, if we look at its Hebrew meaning we can find the word Nes – miracle.  As it was in this month that G-d redeemed us from Egypt a mere 3336 years ago; a culmination of ten dreadful plagues which the Egyptians themselves confessed to be the ‘finger of G-d’.  And it was in this month too that G-d split the sea for us, leading us through the Yam Suf on dry land before sending the waters crashing down upon the following Egyptians, drowning the entire army and their cavalry.

In order to commemorate these extraordinary events, we sit and retell the story and its miracles on the 15th of the month.  Indeed, on this first night of Pesach, when the seder finally draws to an end, many have a custom to leave the doors to their houses unlocked.  For the Torah tells us twice that ‘Leil Shimurim Hu LaHashem’.  It is a night of guarding for Hashem, a night of protection throughout the generations. 

Back in Egypt when the Jews were slaughtering the Egyptians’ sacred animal in open sight, G-d ensured that they came to no harm.  And on that fateful night when G-d Himself descended to kill all the Egyptian firstborns, not one Jewish firstborn was touched, and indeed, not one Jew died that night of any cause. 

Countless time throughout history, redemption has come on this very night.  King Chizkiyahu was saved from Sancherib and his armies. Chananyah, Misha'el and Azaryah were saved from the fire, and Daniel was protected in the lion's den. 

So secure are we in the significance of this night, that during the reading of Shefoch Chamatcha towards the end of the Seder, it has become customary to open our doors, so that we may greet Eliyahu Hanavi – the Prophet Elijah.  For it is written that Israel is destined to be redeemed on the night of Pesach, on this night that has been guarded and reserved for redemption ever since creation.  And therefore, we express this hope with the cup that we pour for Eliyahu Hanavi, the herald of Mashiach, on this night.

But perhaps the biggest miracle of this night is the miracle that took place in our hearts.  For it was on this very night, after slaughtering the Pascal lamb, that we came to the realization that no human being has the power to harm us unless G-d commands it.  In this month of miracles, the Jewish nation finally allowed themselves to bask in the embrace and protection of their G-d, to place themselves in His Hands and to assume His leadership.  No longer are we sheep to the slaughter, but rather, we have finally found our shepherd.

In coming to this realization after witnessing the open miracles of the month, we can also come to the realization that this is the reality of our lives, of every moment of our existence.  Whether we see it or not, G-d is there, watching us and protecting us from above.

The song of Chad Gadyah tells of a seemingly inconsequential and random chain of events.  Yet when we follow them back long enough, we will always discover G-d at the end, pulling the strings of our lives.  Whether we see this through open miracles or just in the everyday events that make up our lives, whether it is obvious or not, G-d is there.  He is just waiting for us to realize this so that He can step in to save His beloved nation whom He promised to protect and cherish.


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