- Man Performing Miracles II
- Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim
- The notion of a rebbe or a tzaddik performing miracles is becoming
more and more prevalent. People in droves visit "rebbes" for
his so called miracles, feeling he has greater powers than other men.
- When running for his life, being chased by his twin Esav, why didn't
Jacob perform a miracle to save his life? Why did he pray to God and
prepare a bribe and ready himself for battle? If Jacob could not
perform miracles, how does anyone have the gall to suggest that
today's lower members of the Jewish people can out-perform someone
like Jacob, someone who God actually spoke to? It is truly astonishing
that people actually believe their rebbes to be on a higher level than
a Jacob, or a Moses.
- What is the Torah's view on man's powers? I will quote a few
statements and Torah passages so you may learn for yourself, using
your own reason, arriving at that one conclusion that the Torah
clearly denies that mankind has any power outside his own muscular
abilities. Be careful not to feel intimidated by the masses who
blindly accept and even wish for miracles. "Bkol darkecha
da-ay-hu", "In all areas know Him (God)", meaning, use
your mind in all areas.
- Saadia Gaon - "Emunos v'Daos"
"I say also that it was for this very reason that God made the
prophets equal to all other human beings in so far as death was
concerned, lest man get the idea (and say wrongly to himself)
"just as these prophets were capable of living forever, in
contradistinction to them, so were they also able to perform marvels
in contradistinction to them."
Saadia Gaon says clearly that even prophets had no powers.
- Rav Moshe Feinstein
When asked to give a blessing, Rav Moshe responded, "If
you are learning, you have the greatest blessing of all, if you are
not, there is nothing I can give you."
- Moshe, Joshua , David HaMelech, Shlomo HaMelech
We do not see the Jews ever requesting blessings from Moshe
Rabbeinu, from Joshua, Kings David, or King Solomon. This phenomena of
seeking blessings was not practiced.
Upon Pharoah's request to end the plagues, Moshe left the city and
prayed to God to halt the plagues. He did not do so himself, the
wisest man to live, Moshe, understood well that man has no powers.
- Additionally, Moshe praised God as the sole, source of power. Why
would Moshe do this is he too had powers?
When Rachel asked Yaakov for children, Yaakov said, "Am I in
G-d's stead?". Yaakov attested to the fact that he had no power
to give her children. If people have powers, why did Jacob respond
this way? It is clear that Jacob understood that no one is able to do
what G-d does. Those were his very words, " Am I in G-d's
Elisha the prophet
When Naaman requested Elisha to rid him of his leprosy, Elisha did not
leave the house, but rather, he sent a messenger to instruct Naaman to
bathe, and this would remove his ailment. Naaman was upset with
Elisha, that he did not come out, call upon G-d's name, and "wave
his hand over the place of the leprosy and remove it". A friend
suggested wisely, that Elisha desired that G-d retain the grandeur for
such a miracle, therefore, Elisha did not leave the house. He avoided
the spotlight, as Elisha knew that G-d was the performer of all
miracles, and did not want to mislead Naaman. Elisha was aware that
people desire to believe in man as a miracle worker. Elisha therefore
avoided credit for that which man has no connection with.
- Daily Prayers
In L'ale Baruch Neimos we read, "Hu livado poale gvuros",
"He alone performs wonders....(He is) the Creator of healings,
the Master of wonders". Our prayer says clearly, "God alone
Tosefta Sabbath, Chapter 7
The wearing of red threads on fingers is considered "ways of the
Emorites". Against Judaism. (This clearly denounces the popular
- Why then do rebbes and followers claim that rebbes perform miracles?
This should be of no consequence to us. Claims from anyone, even from
"rabbis", must not weigh more than the words of the Torah.
People can and do err, including rabbis. Their followers are
apparently devoted to sustaining false claims of their rebbes'
reputation as a miracle worker, even if it opposes Torah. To them, man
is more central than God.
- Unfortunately, these rebbes are the individuals to whom communities
look for Torah leadership, and they are doing the opposite by desiring
self aggrandizement through malicious claims of miraculous powers.
Rebbe's doing miracles, keys in challas, red bendels, checking
mezuzot, and all such beliefs stem from a great insecurity in one's
own life, and an underlying, disbelief in God's abilities outside
- "God alone performs wonders". We read this
- We must note that sometimes the rebbe himself does not start or
support such claims, but it is the insecure followers who have a need
to deify their rav, so they start the claims. Such a rebbe would be
equally in the wrong, if he did not dispel such lies. He thereby leads
his flock astray by his silence.
- Man is created and terminated through God's will alone.
Man cannot alter a single natural law or control his own fate.
Man came after the laws were created and guided exclusively by God.
- If God guides the world's laws, it is not man.