Dear Readers,


Do you wish you’d see more? Ever wonder why G‑d doesn’t perform for you the split-the-sea variety?

Ari Sacher doesn’t wonder. As a rocket scientist, he is not someone that you’d expect to talk about miracles, but he claims to see them often.

I met Ari when he lectured at a Shabbaton in Wilmington, Del., hosted by my amazing cousins and dedicated shluchim, Rabbi Chuni and Oryah Vogel.

Ari works as the system engineer for the Iron Dome, Israel’s sophisticated system designed to track and shoot down missiles fired at Israeli cities.

The Iron Dome was developed after the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, when 4,500 rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into Israel, killing 43 Israeli civilians and seriously injured 75, while also damaging some 12,000 buildings.

How different things were in Operation Defensive Edge. The Iron Dome intercepted about 90 percent of a whopping 800 rockets fired. Hamas sought to attack the heart of Israel, but it was thwarted.

In simple terms, that means that the Iron Dome saved lives–the lives of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters. Precious lives.

But what is the connection between a defense system and miracles?

As I wrote, Ari is a scientist. He works with other scientists, all with stellar IQs. He analyzes complicated scientific data determining odds and likelihoods, and knows these formulas like the back of his hand.

Ari is intimately aware of the history behind the Iron Dome: the scientific challenges, the huge costs and resources (each interceptor alone costs $100,000), the political disagreements, its successes and its limitations.

“In developing the Iron Dome, there were many different directions that could have been taken, each with their own restrictions. The fact that this system was chosen and that it performed so successfully, both operationally and politically, was not a given,” he explains. “No other anti-missile system has ever performed nearly as well, in combat or in test.

“The Iron Dome’s stellar performance was clearly the hand of G‑d,” he believes. “But because the system was designed, developed and operated by humans, people attribute its success to humans.”

In looking for grand miracles, we often fail to recognize all the events that needed to be aligned, all the particular points of the puzzle that had to come together, all of the “coincidences” that had to happen.

“G‑d was holding the steering wheel the entire time,” emphasizes Ari, the rocket scientist.

This week we celebrate the holiday of Purim. The Purim miracle happened naturally: Vashti’s refusal, Esther’s beauty, a plot overheard by Mordechai, the king’s sleepless night and so on. The events were deliberately orchestrated from Above, but the Conductor stood behind stage

In this way, Purim is the greatest of miracles. It is a miracle in which the natural order is not circumvented or superseded, but in which nature itself becomes the device of the miraculous and an instrument of the Divine will.

And our lives? Aren’t they too are a constant dialog with G‑d?

Perhaps we need to pay closer attention to the conversation.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW