Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why We DO Go On Vacation: My Lesson of The Day

A number of weeks ago I attended a shiur on tefillah. The speaker was discussing the concept of praising G-d. She was saying that pesukei dezimrah, for example, are a challenge to many people. I mean, yes, G-d is great, He is awesome, and He does wondrous things, but why does He need me to tell him that? And why am I repeating myself over and over?
Among the many answers, she gave the following reason. G-d most definitely does not need us to praise Him. It's for us. Every time we praise G-d, the totality of His power and His strength hits us all over again.
G-d created the world, He is awesome.
G-d took the Jews out of Egypt, He is invincible.
G-d maintains this world every day, He is powerful.
With each statement of the wonders G-d has done, and continues to do, our faith and hope should grow. Surely, if G-d can do all these incredible things that I am praising Him for, He can also solve my problems.

Perhaps it's the visual side of me, but that thought never really kicked in until today. I walked up to the observation area directly in front of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, and took the scene in. The majestic formation of the rocks, the water cascading down with extreme force, it was so perfect, so masterful, I suddenly felt close to my Creator. He made a natural spectacle that is unlike anything any painter could ever attempt to imagine, much less create, even in a two-dimensional painting. I looked further upstream, at the unbelievable view of the water hitting the rocks, and then falling in a manner which was nothing short of breathtaking, and I felt it even more. G-d has created the most unbelievable world. If He could create something with as much beauty and splendor as Niagara Falls, surely sending my small, personal yeshuah is not a big deal.

And so, as I walked away from the falls, I felt them pulling me back. They were beckoning me to come closer, to take another look, to burn this unforgettable sight into my memory. Whenever things get tough, and I start to wonder when and how I will see salvation, I will close my eyes and picture the majesty that is Niagara Falls. And I will remember that there is a creator who is capable of anything.


nmf #7 said...

Excellent point! Thanks!

G6 said...

That sounds amazing!
Natural beauty is a very powerful way to bring us closer to Hashem.
See also my post on what Rav Hirsch said about his visit to the Swiss Alps - another case of natural beauty, not to be missed....

Staying Afloat said...

I'm jealous- enjoy. My husband and I went on a nightmare trip to LA a couple of years ago, but on the way there we flew over the Grand Canyon, and the visibility was amazing. You can't believe that something so astonishingly stunning was created by an accident.

I love that according to the Rambam, admiring nature in this way is how you can be yotzei the mitzvah of ahavas hashem.

whoever said...

This is something i feel every time im by the ocean... so much water, and yet, every single drop is going in a specific direction, at a specific speed, at a specific angle...

ClooJew said...

I was just reviewing in my head my five most favorite roadtrips: from a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to a Friday night stroll through Miami's art deco area.

Something Different said...

NMF- glad you liked! :-)

G6- I believe I heard that years ago about the Swiss alps, but I've never been there so.... ;-)

SA- oh I did! :-) Amd that's interesting that you say that about the Rambam, cuz I mentioned that in a comment on my previous post, but without a mekor.

WE- yep! And so too us... G-d has a specific plan for each of us...

CJ- and what were the other three?