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Amidah-Purim-The Nature of the Past-Modim

When we arrange the calendar, we take into account the holidays of the coming year, but with regard to Purim, we look at the previous year (Orach Chaim 428:3). We can understand the reason for this through the Ramban’s teaching that God constantly does miracles for Israel, but they are hidden miracles, and are not recognized. We thus say in our prayers, “For the miracles that are with us every day, and for Your wonders and good at all times (Modim).” There are public miracles that openly violate the laws of nature. The prime example is the Exodus and the splitting of the Red Sea, where the laws of nature were obviously altered. There are other miracles, however, are clothed in the laws of nature. The prime example of such a miracle was that of Purim. The story unfolds in a perfectly natural manner, with Achashveirosh killing his wife, and then killing his friends because of his wife. The entire miracle thus reads like a sequence of natural events.


A miracle such as the Exodus transcends nature. When such a miracle was revealed, it becomes obvious that even natural phenomena, are only from God. From obvious miracles, we also see that even though hidden miracles may seem to be natural events, they are also from God, and are not the result of natural law at all.

All the miracles recorded in the Torah that occurred before the Exodus appeared to be natural. This was true of Abraham’s battle with the Four Kings, and all similar occurrences. But later, when the miracles of the Exodus were revealed, it became obvious that all the other miracles that had taken place since the time of creation, such as the hunger and plenty of Egypt in the time of Joseph, were from God alone, and were not natural occurrences at all. From the revealed we became able to perceive what was not revealed.

The miracle of Purim appeared completely natural. But from the miracle of the Exodus, we see that nothing is natural, and that everything is from God alone. It is for this reason that the other holidays are arranged according to the future, while Purim goes according to the past.

On Pesach it was revealed that Israel are God’s own people. They were given this holiday, and it relates to the future, since from then on God’s love is revealed to Israel. All the other holidays originate from this concept.

Purim, however, relates to the past. It relates to everything that took place before the Exodus, which also appeared to be natural, just like Purim. (Kedushat Levi, Emor)

“For the miracles that are with us every day, and for Your wonders and good at all times.” We acknowledge that everything that happens in our lives, even that which seems natural, is an expression of God’s work.

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