Monday, April 15, 2024

Ramban :Everything is a miracle

 How do you understand the Ramban's view of miracles

One common understanding is that there is no nature - but everything is a miracle

An alternative is that Ramban only believes reward and punishment is miraculous but Nature and its laws exist

Chinuch (132) The thing is known amongst us and among every sage that the great miracles that God does for people in His great goodness, He always does hiddenly. And these matters appear a little as if they were truly done by way of nature, or close to nature. As even with the miracle of the splitting of the sea — which was an open miracle — it is written there (Exodus 14:21), “and the Lord moved the sea with a powerful Eastern wind all of the night, and He made the sea into a dry place and He split the waters.” And the enlightened ones will understand that this matter of concealment is because of the loftiness of the Master and the lowliness of the receiver. And due to this matter did He command us to burn fire on the altar, even though fire descended there from the Heavens — in order to hide the miracle. 

Rabbeinu Bachya (Shemos 30:12) In fact it is axiomatic to remember that a person is not a true believer, i.e. does not really have a share in Moses’ Torah unless he is absolutely convinced of the fact that G-d performs such hidden miracles all the time, that there is no accident and no coincidence in the universe. G-d is aware of all that occurs and has had a hand in it 

Ramban (Toras HaShem Temima) And when we take a good look, we see that a person has no part in the Torah of Moses until he believes that all our words and actions are miracles  there is no worldly nature in them. That is because the essence of the Torah is complete miracles and wonders, because there is no difference for those who take a good look between a righteous man and his days and he lived eighty years quietly and safely and without illness, ... and between the splitting of the Red Sea. …The general rule is everything in the Torah are either miracles or potential miracles and that is why G-d specifies them in the Torah. ..For example, , no man knew that the deliverance of so-and-so from an illness was from charity he gave, and the death of a healthy person was due to eating prohibited fat, but both are equivalent. That is why astonishment was expressed regarding the Rambam because he is always minimizing miracles and emphasizing the natural. He also claimed that miracles are only temporary aberrations when in fact they are permanent – as he himself admitted in his  Letter on Resurrection of the Dead. 

Ramban (Bamidbar 11:19) When G-d does signs and wonders for Israel, they are deeds of kindness from Him, and they are all for their good, for The Eternal is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works, except when there is wrath gone out against those who transgress His Will, when He acts towards them with anger and the attribute of judgment to their complete punishment. Thus miracles can only be manifestations of complete and perfect goodness in mercy, or retribution by the attribute of judgment.

Ramban (Devarim 11:13) G-d does not always perform miracles — every time giving the rain of the Land in its proper season, -the former rain and the latter rain, increasing the corn, wine, and oil, and providing also abundant grass in the fields for the cattle, or, on the contrary, shutting up the heaven and drying up the Land — except according to the deeds of the majority of the people. The individual, however, lives by his own merits, and he dies in his iniquity. Thus he is saying that upon their performance of all the commandments out of perfect love, He will do all these miracles with them for the good. And he further says that when they worship idols He will perform with them a sign for bad to indicate to them the need to repent. Know further that miracles for good or bad are performed only for perfectly righteous or utterly wicked people. For average people, however, He visits good or bad upon them in a natural manner according to their way and by their doings.

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