Do you believe in miracles?

Take a look in the mirror.

If a miracle is the ability to transcend nature, your reflection should be proof enough.

That there is a Jewish face looking back at you, after so many centuries of pogroms, expulsions, holocausts and massacres—not to mention the lures of assimilation—is beyond natural.

Even more of a wonder is that the Jewish face looking back at you still has a desire to be Jewish and live as a Jew.

But the miracle that is looking back at you is more than a uniquely Jewish phenomenon.

Every morning people wake up with hope, faith and optimism that today will be a better day. We awake with the belief that justice and goodness will prevail, despite the news that bombards us with overwhelming misery, hopelessness, despair and unfairness.

Take a look in the mirror and see that miracle. See someone transcending the natural ways of our world.

Where does this supernatural leap of faith come from?

In his seminal philosophical work, the Tanya, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi elaborates on the fundamental existential question of why G‑d created our world. An issue tackled by many of the greatest Jewish philosophers—why G‑d chose to create a lowly physical world where the materiality almost completely obscures the G‑dly, spiritual light.

In a nutshell, Rabbi Schneur Zalman explains that G‑d desired to create for Himself "a dwelling place, here in our nether, physical world." It is precisely in this spiritual darkness that feels so devoid of G‑dliness and goodness that every G‑dly act that we do shines so brightly. It is here that every act of goodness and connection with our Creator becomes all the more significant. The darkness, challenges and difficulties are precisely what makes our world such a special place for G‑dliness to shine—because of it being such an antithesis and hindrance to spirituality.

So, we overcome the heaviness of our material existence by permeating it with G‑dly significance, but does the physicality itself have any intrinsic value, other than its lowliness which we need to battle and uplift?

At the end of his life, Rabbi Schneur Zalman revealed (in Igeret HaKodesh, epistle 20) a positive element to our physical world, a quality it possesses that no other spiritual realm – no matter how lofty – can lay claim to.

Our physical world is a creation ex nihilo, something from absolute nothingness. There is no natural progression from an infinite, spiritual G‑d to a finite, material world; the creation of our world requires an absolute, total and infinite leap. The radiance of G‑d's light can create infinite progressions of spiritual realities – or "spiritual worlds" – as offshoots of His light, but there is no natural progression to a finite physical world.

And the power to create ex nihilo rests with G‑d Himself. Only He, His very essence that is, has this ability to make something out of absolute nothing.

Therefore, it is precisely in this physical reality that G‑d's infinite essence is most manifest. (Or to be more accurate, G‑d's essence that equally transcends the qualities of finiteness and infiniteness.) Ours is a world whose very existence is utterly dependent, at every moment, on His quintessential essence, just in order for it to "be."

Our world is not only a place of darkness where every act of G‑dliness illuminates the dense materiality with a spiritual light. Our world is actually the place for the greatest expression of G‑d's essential "self."

And perhaps it is from this connection to G‑d's infinite essence that sustains our world that each of us finds the power in our own little worlds to transcend our natures and make our own leaps of faith. Perhaps it is this connection to the Infinite that allows us to wake up in overwhelming darkness and tap into illogical hope and miraculous courage.

Look at the faces around you and you will see people who face another bleak day and yet see light. Finite humans who witness overwhelming suffering and yet find the infinite strength to bring new life into our world. Beings who face another insurmountable challenge and yet discover a fortitude that they never knew they had, and an irrational optimism that things will get better.

Look in the mirror and you will see a nation who experiences a long and difficult exile and yet nurtures the seed of faith for an unnatural redemption.

And as you do, you will witness a self that seeks to attach itself to Something miraculous, Something beyond our reality, and Something infinitely transcendental that is inherent in each and every one of us.