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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

When There Are No Miracles

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

As we approach the holiday of Passover we think a great deal about freedom. Passover is our story of redemption; one of the highest high points in the Hebrew's uneven trek toward freedom. God is present in this story. God is front and center and with an outstretched arm, moves God's nation toward freedom.

Over the centuries there have been many other national stories of freedom. Each is compelling and not all result in success. Tragically, Ukraine is now fighting for its freedom. In this story God is not extending an outstretched arm toward freedom. One never knows what the designs of The Creator are, but it is for certain that people can achieve heroic heights despite the lack of miraculous events.

And so, this poem about Ukraine.

When There Are No Miracles

When there are no miracles.

When the sea does not split

to let people go.

When manna does not fall from the sky,

but bombs do.

When there is no Pharaoh,

but there is a Putin.

When blood on the lintel is not enough

to save the first born

or the second or third born.

When plagues rain down

and the rivers run with blood.

There is no Moses,

but there is a Zelensky

and there are the miracles that people create

with their human hearts,

with their small and


human bodies.

There are miracles

that people create

when they search




and find

the courage

to rise on paths

that cut diamond hard edges

into history.




Without miracles

Without a malach*

Without a seraph**,

but with



A belief

so complete

one is willing to

sacrifice himself



In the absence of miracles

One step forward

and then another.

People become the miracles.

*malach-an angel

** seraph- an angel

וַיּוֹצִאֵנוּ ה' מִמִּצְרַיִם. לֹא עַל־יְדֵי מַלְאָךְ, וְלֹא עַל־יְדֵי שָׂרָף, וְלֹא עַל־יְדֵי שָׁלִיחַ, אֶלָּא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בִּכְבוֹדוֹ וּבְעַצְמוֹ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְעָבַרְתִּי בְאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בַּלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה, וְהִכֵּיתִי כָּל־בְּכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מֵאָדָם וְעַד בְּהֵמָה, וּבְכָל אֱלֹהֵי מִצְרַיִם אֶעֱשֶׂה שְׁפָטִים. אֲנִי ה'. "And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt." Not by the hands of an angel, nor by the hands of a seraph, nor by the hands of a messenger; but it was the Holy One, blessed be He, himself, and himself alone, as it is said (Ex. xii. 12), "For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I am the Lord."

Pesach Hagadah, Magid, 1897

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