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    Malbim & the miracles – Nitzavim

    When Moses taught the people there were constant grumbles.

    The Malbim

    The Malbim

    They were happy enough to accept their freedom from slavery, but why did they have to obey so many commandments?

    His answer was, “The commandment which I command you today is neither too hard for you, nor is it too far away” (Deut. 30:11).

    “Too far away” means “beyond your capacity”, or in other words more fitted to angels in heaven than to human beings trying to live a life on earth.

    “Too hard” might mean what it says, but the Malbim points out that the Hebrew nif’let actually means “wonderful”.

    It can’t mean “wonderful” in the modern sense of amazing – but what it does mean is “based on wonders”.

    The foundation of Judaism is not miracles that might at some stage of ancient history have been worked by a wonder-worker.

    There are certainly miracles in the Torah, but the truth claims of Judaism do not depend on the wonder-workers.

    The Torah is true because history and reason both agree that its teachings are comprehensible, reasonable and good.

    The God-given miracles on the Torah only reinforce what we already knew.

    There are chukkim – statutes which seem to be above or beyond the human mind.

    We do not resort to blind faith but say, “God, there must be a reason behind the law; we will be patient until You reveal it to us”.

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