Shomrai HaBrit is not responsibe for the links that tripod placed above.. they are highly inappropriate and we have emailed support. We continue to await their reply
I converted to Judaism after 30+ years a Christian, first a Fundamentalist Nazarene then an Episcopalian. At the time of my conversion, I resigned as a Licensed Lay Minister in the Episcopal Church and had taught young adult and High School Sunday School for more than a decade. I know whereof I speak.
One of my major issues was that of "Signs and wonders." I'm not saying that miracles don't exist. I have seen many marvelous things happen in response to prayer in my near 30 year medical career. But there is a basic principle of Christian belief that such "Signs and wonders" are a cornerstone of Christian faith because Jesus proved he was who he claimed to be by performing miracles.
What do Jews believe about this. Do we believe (as some Christian groups do) that the "Age of Miracles" is past? Certainly not. The G-d of Sinai is still amongst us and has not changed. I personally have witnessed such things as large skin tumors melting away overnight and heard from reliable sources of others, like twin children being born completely normal after chromosome tests revealed Down's Syndrome. All in response to earnest prayer from believing Jews.
So, am I asking someone who may be thinking of leaving Judaism for Christianity to stay because we have "Jewish miracles"? Am I playing, "My G-d is bigger than your G-d"? Not at all.
I've [included] a couple of quotes from internet Torah study lists which do a much better job of explaining the true nature and significance of miracles than I could.
The first is by Rabbi Yehuda Black, United Hebrew Congregation, Newcastle-upon-Tyne:
"If there arise amongst you a prophet, a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder. And the sign or wonder comes to pass saying; "Let us go after other gods which you have not known and let us serve them." You shall not hearken unto the words of the prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for G-d your Lord is testing you." (Devarim [Deuteronomy, TGS]13:2-4)...
[The text continues.]
Rambam [Maimonedes, a famous Jewish Theologian and Physician] in the Mishneh Torah, devotes two chapters to the subject of False Prophets.
He states quite clearly that even in the case of Moses who is recognised in Judaism as the greatest of all prophets, nevertheless the belief in his prophecy was not dependent on the great signs and wonders in the desert that had occurred. Each miracle that happened was necessary for the particular time and situation, but by no means were these miracles brought about as a proof to the authenticity of his prophecy. Only after G-d had given the Torah at Mount Sinai had G-d declared to Moses "And they will also believe in you forever."
"If therefore a prophet should arise and perform signs and great miracles, and endeavour to controvert the prophecy of Moses our teacher we may not hearken to him, and we may be assured that these signs were performed through tricks." (Rambam, Hilchot Yesodey Hatorah 8:3)
The criterion of true prophecy is that the Torah clearly states that if the 'prophet' says "Let us go and serve other gods" then we are not to be misled or deceived by all the miracles and signs. The passage clearly teaches us that the decisive factor is the content of the prophet's message, and if it violates the Torah then we should not give it credence.
Perhaps a parallel may be found between the laws governing a true prophet and the Mashiach [Messiah, TGS], because Rambam states that "One should not presume that the Mashiach must work miracles and wonders etc. This is certainly not true. The main thrust of the matter is: The Torah, its statutes and its laws, are everlasting. We may not add to them nor subtract from them. (Hilchot Melachim 11:3)
[Quoted from the Daf Hashvuah internet Torah study list, 8/24/97 edition. Copyright United Synagogue, London and distributed by Brijnet.]
And now this discussion of the present day significance of the "Signs and Wonders" question by Rabbi Dovid Green:
The student of Torah takes it as a given that the various "ism's" the world has to offer are "the god's of others". S/he knows and accepts the words from the liturgy: "because they (the words of Torah) are our lives and the length of our days (blessings preceding Shema). May we all merit to discern the truth and follow it with our hearts and souls.
[from the 8/24/97 mailing of Dvar Torah, copyright Project Genesis.]
So what is the true Jewish attitude regarding prophets who "prove" themselves by miracles? This can be summed up in one word from the Passover Seder service, "Dayeinu", meaning, "It would have been enough." In this service we recite all the miracles we witnessed in the Exodus from Egypt and, after each one we say that would have been enough.
In other words, we aren't "Miracle junkies". If something miraculous happens, we thank G-d and then return to studying the Torah and living our Jewish life. If someone tells us this or that miracle was sent to take us from our Jewish life, we ignore them. No true prophet would do that.