Miracles All Around
As I write on Thursday afternoon [July 17] more than 1300 Hamas rockets have been fired at Israel without causing a single fatality. (An Israeli volunteer assisting troops in the South was killed by mortar fire from the Gaza Strip.)
Of course, many of us remember miracles of an even greater magnitude during the first Gulf War when 39 Iraqi Scud missiles – with vastly larger payloads than the Hamas rockets – hit Israel. Yehuda Barkan, at that time one of Israel’s most popular screen stars, had, like Yisro, an “ear” to hear. Though he describes his life at that time as totally involved in the pleasures of the flesh, he could not shake the feeling that something miraculous had occurred.
Thirty-nine Scuds hit Israel, in many cases causing huge damage, and no one was killed directly by the missiles. (That’s how Barkan tells the story today, though I remember that one person was killed – someone who enjoyed riding his motorcycle through the streets of Bnei Brak on Shabbos.) Yet Saddam Hussein fired only one Scud at Saudi Arabia, and killed 25 American servicemen on their base.
Soon after he began to mull over the contrast, Barkan stopped a Chabad chassid on the street and asked him how he explained the contrast. The chassid answered immediately, “Hashgacha Elyona.” Barkan was unfamiliar with the term and asked, “Can I speak to the Mashgiach?” The Chassid told him, “No problem. Put on tefillin and you have a direct line to Him.” Barkan has been laying tefillin ever since, and fully observant for more than twenty years.
Today the magnitude of the miracle is somewhat obscured by the Iron Dome system. But it’s worth remembering that there was virtual unanimity at the start of the Iron Dome project that the idea of knocking rockets out of the sky was sheer folly. Some quite distinguished scientists quoted last week by Binyamin Rose still deny that the Iron Dome system is working.
For those with an ear to hear and eyes to see, Iron Dome should not cause us to lose sight of the miracles all around. As Dr. Natan Barak, who headed the team that developed the missile’s “brain,” told an interviewer recently, “The One who truly, truly did this is HaKadosh Baruch.”