As Jews everywhere light the Chanukah candles this week, they will recount the ancient miracles that befell our ancestors.

And I will recount the miracle of the 961.

It happened in 1993 while my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Israel. We had spent several days touring the Beit-Shean Valley and decided to return to Jerusalem that Friday morning. We boarded the 961 Bus to Jerusalem, dragging our knapsacks down the narrow aisle, which was crowded with soldiers heading home for the weekend. Weary from touring a Roman amphitheater under the blazing sun, we sank into our seats and tried to rest.

But the driver interrupted our nap, announcing that we were stopping at a roadside kiosk near the West Bank settlement of Mehola and that if we wished, we could disembark.

Although I was too tired to move, my husband coaxed me off the bus with promises of ice cream. We approached the counter and I ordered an "Artik" ice cream bar. The young Arab man behind the counter handed it over and I reached for my wallet. But I never got the chance to pay.

An earsplitting blast froze me in my place and the ground vibrated from an explosion. Terrified screams and a haze of smoke filled the air. Soldiers were running in all directions. I heard what sounded like bullets going off.

My husband pulled me to the ground and I buried my head in his neck. I attempted to recite the Shema, the prayer Jews throughout the ages have said when their lives are endangered. But the words disappeared in my mouth and I couldn't hear my voice over the din.

I lifted my head to peek at our bus, which was about 15 feet away from where we were standing, but it was gone. In its place was a giant ball of fire spewing clouds of black smoke into the sky.

After what seemed like a lifetime, the noise dissolved and some soldiers led us to an open field behind the kiosk where we joined our fellow passengers. Many looked dazed. Some had blood running down their faces or wounds on their limbs while others had burn marks on their clothing. I spied two soldiers crying in each others' arms.

As we were walking, we passed the dead body of an Arab. He had been one of the workers at the kiosk. I shuddered.

Gradually, we learned what had occurred. A Hamas terrorist on a suicide mission had loaded his car with cooking gas canisters wired to explode and had crashed it into our bus. When the car detonated, shrapnel flew over the kiosk, missing us completely but striking and killing the Arab worker, who was standing further from the bomb than we were. One of the car doors flew in the other direction, over the fence in the settlement of Mehola. Nobody there was hurt.

Had the bomb ignited only a few moments earlier, when we were still on the bus, or had it gone off after we reboarded, the fatalities would have been numerous. Instead, only a handful of passengers suffered minor injuries. Everyone—the passengers, onlookers and journalists reporting on the incident—agreed that the passengers of 961 had been very lucky that day.

Though my husband and I emerged from the attack physically unscathed, the emotional aftermath of the incident was wrenching. In the days that followed, loud noises jarred me, leaving me shaking. I attempted, without success, to block out the images that kept invading my mind of the fire, the dead body and the charred bus.

In the weeks and months to follow, there were other bus bombings. Feeling a certain kinship with the victims, I studied the news intently. When I learned that several American tourists had been among those killed, I felt a pit in my stomach. I wondered why did they die when we had been spared? I examined their obituaries for some clues, but discovered instead that their lives had been far more productive than mine.

I wasn't quite sure what lessons to take with me from the wreckage. When friends and family inquired about what had occurred that day, I tried to make light out of it. I quipped that we had started out married life with a blast. Everyone wanted to know how the experience had changed me and my beliefs. "Do you believe any differently about the peace process, Palestinians or Israeli politics?" people asked. I shrugged and had no answer.

A close encounter with death should have left me feeling enlivened, but instead the guilt of survival weighed heavily on my shoulders. I buried my collection of newspaper clippings about the bombing in a filing cabinet and counted my blessings in silence.

Then came Chanukah. As I kindled the lights, I chanted the blessing thanking G‑d for the miracles He performed in biblical times and the ones He continues to do in our day. It is a blessing I have found troubling since my youth. In ancient times, after all, G‑d's grandiose acts were as vivid as a pillar of salt or a splitting sea. But nobody nowadays ever sees a burning bush.

As I stood in the darkness staring at the glowing candles, I thought about how my own flame was almost extinguished. And the notion struck me that perhaps the bus bombing was actually my own burning bush. Maybe a miracle need not be a dramatic lightning bolt that descends from on high to aid mystics or rebbes. Instead, a miracle is a simple but fortuitous turn of events occurring at the right place and time to ordinary individuals who shed their cynicism long enough to realize that some things defy logical explanation.

Some would refer to such events as coincidences, flukes or quirks of fate. But I see them as celestial nudges that reassure us that we are not alone in the universe. As beacons of light in a dark and frenzied world, offering us a glimpse of G‑d's presence hovering over us before flickering out. To see them, we simply need to open our eyes.

On Chanukah, as I sing about the ancient miracles and the miracles of today, I celebrate all the routine wonders around me that I never saw before. They are the unanticipated joys that creep up on us when we expect them least and need them most. They are the delightful surprises that keep us hopeful in a painful world in which we have come to expect tragedy. They can be found in the recovery of an illness, the discovery of love, the conception of life and in all the places where good triumphs over evil against the odds.

Recently, I was going through some old papers and found a yellowed news clipping about the bombing. As I pored over the article, published in the secular Israeli newspaper Maariv, I laughed.

A photo caption described the event as a "nes," a miracle.