Posted on June 7th, 2009 by Rabbi
So many people come to Philmont to hike the trails, climb the mountains and enjoy the magnificent vistas. ”Why?” one might ask.
The answer is surprisingly simple, “Because when one comes face-to-face with with the Holy One Blessed be He, the Creator of the Universe will look down and ask, ‘So did you see My wonders of Creation?’”
Appreciating beauty is an act of devotion. That is why in Judaism there are blessings for seeing beautiful mountains, the ocean, flowers, trees, and other marvels of nature. The Talmud advises that one should pray only in a room with windows. To sing to G-d and not see His creation is a contradiction.
In the Bible, humanity begins in a garden, and Judaism continues the use of metaphors from nature: It likens the Torah to a tree, the Talmud to a sea, the human spirit to wind. When we move through the world, we feel its rhythms, we are awestruck by its majesty, we absorb its beauty. We are doing more than paying reverence to the forces of nature; we are offering a deep, authentic prayer to G-d.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov taught a prayer:
Ribbono shel olam, Master of the Universe,
Grant me the ability to be alone;
May it be my custom to go outdoors each day
Among the trees and grass, among all living things.
And there may I be alone, and enter into prayer,
To talk with the one to whom I belong.
May I express there everything in my heart,
And may all the grasses, trees, and plants of the field
May they all awake at my coming,
To send the powers of their life into the words of my prayer
So that my prayer and speech are made whole
Through the life and the spirit of all growing things,
Which are made as one by their awe-inspiring source.