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Emerging from the Mine

Emerging from the Mine

Appreciating the surge of joy at Camp Hope.


As I watched the video of the Chilean miners, emerging one by one from their tiny rescue pod, I couldn’t help but imagine that I was witnessing a birth.

Chilean Health Minister Jaime Manalich announced that each time a miner comes out, a siren will sound, as if to herald the arrival of a moment as joyous as a baby’s entrance into the world.

The folks in Chile are strangers whose language we don’t speak and whom we will never meet. Why does this story have the whole world riveted? Why do we care so intensely about them?

I believe it is because deep down, we all appreciate the tremendous value of life. Each individual is precious and beloved, an incredible reflection of God.

And that is why the Chilean government used every resource to save the miners. Experts came from around the world – survivalists, dieticians, psychologists, specialists from NASA, and drilling experts from a dozen countries. Nobody questions the decision to spend untold millions to rescue the 33 men.

Which leads to an inescapable conclusion: If we share the joy over the rescue of these 33 miners in Chile, then let's strive to feel that same joy over the 6 billion others with whom we share the planet.

In the 48 Ways to Wisdom, Rabbi Noah Weinberg zt”l suggests a tool for gauging our love of others. How do you instinctively react when a stranger walks into a room? Do you feel a surge of warmth, or is your first response to hold back? Are you anxious to discover what he's all about, or do you feel distant?

The antidote to pulling back from that connection is to realize that no matter how obnoxious another person may be, he still has tremendous virtues: an intellectual creature, with free will, created in the image of God.

Rabbi Weinberg suggests that we start treating everyone with more care and respect. And anytime you encounter a difficult person, try thinking, “If this was my long-lost sibling or child, how would I respond?”

The Joy of Life

The miners’ rescue is instructive in a very personal way as well, by raising the question: Do we feel enormous joy over the very fact we are alive?

Rabbi Nachum of Horadna, in describing the level of joy any person should feel, presented this scenario:

If God came to a dead man and said, "Rise from the grave and rejoice," imagine the colossal joy he would feel. Every moment with his family, every bird chirping, every breath is another gift!

We should strive for that same feeling all the time, said Rabbi Nachum of Horadna. Every morning when we get out of bed, we should thank the Almighty and feel the spectacular joy of being alive!

In a desolate patch of Chilean desert dubbed Camp Hope, all of humanity was sent a clear message: Human life is infinitely precious. Every life, every moment.

“As he comes out,” the mother of 33-year-old Victor Zamora Bugueno told CNN, “he will be reborn.”

Now let’s take that energy and live.


October 13, 2010

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Visitor Comments: 36

(36) Simon, October 19, 2010 12:30 PM

Exodus 2:7 God heard their cry and saw their suffering.

In the book of Exodus 3:7... God talks about the cry of the children of Israel, whereas Moses used every whim of an excuse not to go back to rescue the suffering but God was determined to lift the children of from desolation. In the same way the book of Mathew 28:16-20 tells of God's love and desire to rescue us from the grip of death. This descending of God to save humans is a love unequaled. In the bible Romans 8:31 is an encouragement to us on what God can do, His power “if God is for us who can be against us”. Today we peruse two accidents, one in China a disaster and one in Chile a spectacle to the world. What is God teaching us? God bless you Rabbi

(35) Andy, October 18, 2010 2:49 AM

Let's not forget others who are "trapped", waiting to be returned home

Debbie (#33), I share your sentiments about Gilad Shalit. Let's work and pray just as tirelessly for the release of Israel's other captive soldiers: Ron Arad, Zacharia Baumel, Zvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz, Guy Hever, and Yonatan Pollard. Just because Israel's government has forsaken them, doesn't mean we have to. If the same attention the world paid to the Chilean miners was directed to the plight of those missing for nearly 30 years, the families of these men would also have reason to celebrate.

(34) TMay, October 17, 2010 6:35 PM


Just to point out that the president of Chile thanked the countries that helped in the rescue and one of the countries thanked was Israel. NASA helped and so did a small start up business in the Pennsylvania, US, with 76 employees, who made the drill bit, Center Rock Inc..

(33) Debbie, October 17, 2010 6:19 PM

I too thought about Gilad Shalit.

Like comment #11, I also thought about our efforts to rescue Gilad and save his life. The saga in Chile was amazing and miraculous and I cried several times throughout the 2-day rescue. But I asked myself: Why hasn't HaSh-m given us another miracle, to bring Gilad safely home?

(32) samuel, October 17, 2010 6:01 PM

compliments to rabbi shraga simmons for the artcle,

in 1947ifind a job in the canadian drillers in the montains in side algero-moroco one day of chavohot ielp jak simenson and inginier kaldwell to go down inthe gallerys at 500 hendred metters to constat the fillon of leather and i see the miners at work , but i never forget this day wen i see the sky . this experience was at the mine of penaroya-zelidja in the frontier algero -marocain (midel-atlas)

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