Connecting to G-d

There are 613 commandments or laws (mitzvahs) that are mandated in the Torah. But said another way, there are 613 ways to connect to G-d.

Every Mitzvah performed by a Jewish person is a real opportunity to connect to G-d. To interact with the Aibishter (all mighty) on a personal level.  I challenge you to make every mitzvah count, and to put a little bit of yourself in every mitzvah you perform.

Its simple. Actually, it is real simple.  A simple as, maybe, changing the location where performing a mitzvah or adding in your own words or actions.  The addition of a bit of your own flair helps you to connect to G-d in a personal way.  I am aware that when performing mitzvahs it is way easier to add your own personal touch then with other mitzvahs. We all know of mitzvahs that take a little extra thought and creativity in order to personalize, but making a mitzvah your own helps to keep it fresh and exciting, not just a rote activity.

This is me davening Shacharit on Cypress Mountain. Time to get away from usual Shul and home prayers and daven in nature, one of the wonders and creations of Hashem.

Last Sunday, Chabad of Richmond went on a community hike to Eagles Bluff on Cypress Mountain where Shacharit took take place followed by a bit of nosh, consisting of beagles, fruit and a wee bit of Schnapps, and then a Chassidic meditation class on living in divine space.

For me the purpose the hike was not only a chance to interact with community members outside of Shul, but an opportunity to get in touch with mind, body and soul, hiking for the body, davening and meditation mind and soul.  But more importantly it was an opportunity to connect to Hashem, G-d,  in a unique place and in a unique way. While I was davening at Eagles Bluff, I was putting my unique twist on morning prayers by being in a unique place and using my surrounding to connect to Hashem in a new way. Being out in nature, with some of the people I care most about in my community, absolutely gave me a different perspective and unique meaning to the prayer book words. I found myself pausing a bit longer on certain words to think about its meaning and how it applies to Hashem and the environment I was in. Also, at times, I was inserting some of my own words that made absolute sense at that particular time and place.

Even though It was windy and cold on top of the mountain, I felt warm. While davening my tallis kept blowing with the movements of the wind, but I kept absolutely still. At other times, when the wind died down, I found the freedom to move about and enjoy the natural environment I was in.

The time spent on the mountain last Sunday gave me a unique perspective to my connection to Hashem.  For the first time ever in my life, while davening, I felt the presences of G-d in all directions, north, south, east, west, up and down. Maybe it was that there was no fixed walls of home or Shul to limit G-d’s presence. Maybe it was that the ever present winds brought the divine presence to me in all directions. Most likely it was just the euphoria of davening with great people in a great place. But what was true and constant is that I did put a bit of myself into my davening which enabled me to connect to Hashem in a whole new way.

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