Magic allows us to be in awe of what we do not know. We love the suspense, the thrill, the fact that the impossible can happen in front of our eyes. Do you remember the first time you learned how to perform a trick or learned how the magician makes it happen? It often takes the fun out of the game and magic simply becomes reality.
Too often, we look at religion in the magical realm. The logic goes that words of prayer are the “abra cadabra” of life. If I can only say the right prayers at the right time, good will be bestowed upon me. Yet, we know that is not the case. While prayer is petitionary in some sense, the act of praying is to enhance the awareness of the Divine within our midst.
That was the distinction between the ancient Israelites and the Egyptians. Every segment of Egyptian society practiced magic. Dr. Racheli Shalomi-Hen, an expert in Egyptology, teaches the Egyptian god Heka was the protector of the sun god who gave the people magic to help humanity overcome difficulties. The language of magic was what Pharaoh used to interact with Moses. The beauty of our tradition is the accessibility to the Divine of each of us.
The magic of Pharoh’s court was a game of deception. The magic of our tradition is Emunah, faith. Maimonides concludes his Principles of faith with these words, “I believe in the coming of the Mashiach….Even though the Mashiach way tarry, I still believe.” There is no magic trick to bring redemption. There is only you and me.