Thursday, August 5, 2010

234 - Eikev

Even one who does not have the ability to study mussar from a sefer can still reap many of the benefits of mussar by studying nature. When asked to suggest a sefer that could aid in strengthening one's emunah, Rav Wolbe (Igros U'Ksavim) answered that no sefer is needed, because simply studying nature can bring the same results.

However, the ability to gain from nature, like mussar study, also hinges on hisboninus. Although technological advancements assist us in numerous ways, Rav Wolbe would bemoan some of the spiritual repercussions of these advances. When a person observes a gorgeous sunset or beholds a breathtaking view, the first thing he does is take out his camera to snap a picture. Why doesn't he spend a minute to internalize his picturesque surroundings and eternalize it in his mind instead of in his camera? Such an activity can bring one to great levels of emunah.

The truth is that it is not just the magnificent landscapes that declare Hashem's awesomeness. Every aspect of nature has the ability to bring one to emunah if it is studied properly. Rav Wolbe (Alei Shur vol. II pg. 271) suggests being misbonein in a leaf of a tree. Notice the perfectly symmetrical veins that bring the water to each part of the leaf. Note the side facing up is a darker green than the side facing down, since it contains the chlorophyll that absorbs the sunlight and causes photosynthesis which provides the atmosphere with much needed oxygen. Who created this if not the The Creator? Fruits and animals also provide ample emunah-provoking thoughts, but only if the time is taken to be misbonein in their many marvelous features.

If you are going on vacation, take a few minutes to enjoy a sunset or beautiful view - without a camera! The effect such hisboninus can have on a person is worth much more than the souvenir provided by a picture!

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