Thursday, January 24, 2008


It was a windy -6 Celsius/ 20 Fahrenheit as I made my trek to work today. I've noticed that the NYC weather people are particularly gleeful when the weather varies at all during the winter, since it gives them a chance to use mad terms like "chilly", "unseasonably cold", etc. in their weather reports. "Unseasonably cold" in particular always reduces me to hysterics, because NYC is balmy by Canadian winter standards. But that's the whole point; part of what I enjoy about these reports is the enthusiasm of the delivery. You can appreciate that the weather person has been waiting for a chance to report on weather that is extreme to any degree, since the NY area does tend to be a rather moderate climate. I can just imagine him or her waiting for a day like today in order to summon up the appropriate emotion.

It was this morning that I started saying Perek Shirah during my commute. And it occurred to me, while I watched everyone in that fascinating display of territorial stakeout that still bewilders me about NYC public transit, that you can choose to live your life enthusiastically and positively...or the opposite. This morning while I was reading, I tried to really drink in the beauty of Hashem's world. There I was reciting a phenomenally humble song of gratitude, and it reminded me how grateful I should be for this day, and every day. And yet what reminded me that I should display such gratitude, ironically, was the disparity between the words I was saying and the fact that I was slightly annoyed that I was sliding half off my seat, because my neighbour was taking up a full seat and a half of our two-seater. In other words, I noted that I was myself lacking enthusiasm for the given situation, when I should be like the elements in Perek Shirah and be oblivious to all but my happy place in the world. Because I'm here, and I'm here only to serve Hashem. Versus here to be annoyed by being pushed out of my much coveted seat!

Some days you can be filled with much emotion while davening, but that emotion doesn't translate into emotional davening. Instead, you're so preoccupied with your emotion that you end up being distracted. On such days, your emotion paradoxically disconnects you from Hashem. And yet, on other days, that same emotion can be the conduit for bringing you closer to the Creator. I was glad that while my davening this morning was initially distracted, I was able to do an about-face and channel my emotion into a positive connection to Hashem.

So with Perek Shirah, I'm trying to make every day an opportunity for positive enthusiasm for Hashem's world, in all its glory. Sort of like the weather people. And Hashem should please help make me capable of always translating that awareness, enthusiasm, and gratitude into the proper, positive connection with my Creator.

1 comment:

  1. Perek Shira is kool.

    I am one of those people who walks down the road or through the park and appreciates the beautiful planet Hashem created ... just for us.

    In the secular world, one of my idols was Richard Feynman, the physicist. He was a scientist,a genius, but a man who loved nature and would sit outdoors, just looking at the ocean and seeing its beauty.

    I see beauty in all of Hashem's creations. From the fascinating animals and plants to the mountains, streams, and even the people. From the owl who sits in the tree in front of my house (I named him Yaani [short for yanshoof]) to the curious black kittens who try to chase him.
    From the lizards to the flamingos.
    From the beautiful mountains, to the flat lands of Florida.

    Thank You Hashem for this beautiful Third Rock from the Sun.