Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Is a mitzvah worth a miracle?


The comment below is in response to a Talmudic suggestion (Yevamot 71b-72a) that the Jews in the wilderness between Egypt and Israel did not circumcise their sons because of concern for the heat. The normally mitigating north wind did not blow, lest it disturb the protective Clouds of Glory that Gd had sent.

"One might say, 'Gd could have had the north wind blow without scattering the clouds of glory, and so the mitzvah of circumcision would not have been cancelled.' It is true that no tactic is beyond Gd, but Gd indeed instructed that circumcision be performed at eight days, and yet He was silent and He did not instruct them to circumcise those born during those years, for the mitzvah was not thereby cancelled, but only postponed until later.

"Gd would not alter the way of the world to avoid delaying a mitzvah; even though Gd does change the way of the world somewhat for certain miracles, in splitting the Red Sea and the Jordan and in halting the Sun, He does not do this for most miracles. Even in military victories and in helping those who love Him, he does it via a [natural] cause…"

(Radak to Yehoshua 5:2)

Have a great day,

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