Moments When I feel Closest To G-d

I have written a number of times about my struggles with G-d, how I Yelled at G-d and the challenges I have had with davening. If you are really interested you can read more here, here and here. There are probably a couple more links but that is enough time shilling for my own blog.

If you are here you are probably interested in what I have to say or trapped beneath a heavy object and unable to do move away from the keyboard. If you are trapped and without an internet connection I encourage you to search for meaning in what I say, I do all the time because what is the purpose of living if there is no meaning in life.

That is not really tongue in cheek, it is just my wry sense of humor saying that we all need to find a reason to be here and that it is an individual thing that does not have to mirror your neighbor.

This blog reaches a mixed group of readers. Some of you are M.O.T. (Members of the Tribe) and others are not. So for those of you who are not M.O.T. allow me to share a couple of quick notes with you.

For lack of a better term Judaism has various denominations within it. The most basic breakdown would be Reform, Conservative and Orthodox. The breakdown could be termed as having been conducted based upon levels of observance.

One explanation that I was given years ago was that the Orthodox believe that G-d handed the Torah to Moses, the Conservative believe that G-d dictated the Torah to Moses and the Reform believe that while he was taking notes Moses got creative. I won't waste anymore time getting any deeper than that because I wan't to get to the main point here.

I was raised in a Conservative home by a father who had gone to yeshiva. Most of my formal education was also done in a Conservative setting. However, I have always had a lot of friends who were Orthodox. If you had to break that down further probably more M.O. than anything else.

In any case I have found throughout my life that it is frequently hard for me to daven, to pray. The times in which it has been easiest have usually been moments where I was out in nature. The picture above is in Yosemite. That is Half Dome. I have davened there because I cannot not look at it and be moved.

I have davened Shacharit (morning prayer) on the top of a ferry going to Catalina, on many beaches and have made Havdalah more times than I can count beneath the stars on top of a mountain.

I am rambling now, babbling because there is much going on in my head and emotion is hard to adequately express. From a Judaic standpoint there is a lot of tension in the air, there is so much going on. It is hard to distinguish how much of the conflict I feel is real and how much is due to superstition.

So I am thankful for this blog, thankful for the place to vent and use as an outlet for my thoughts. It is really a stream of consciousness post and it has meandered enough for now. There is much more to say, but not enough time to do it and frankly I have been distracted and interrupted so many times now I think it is better to just wrap this up.

Perhaps I'll pick this up again later.


Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

I am a huge believer in prayer that goes without saying how much I love GOD.

Besides flying in a plane, once I sit on top of a mountian in north Italy (Dolomite Mountains), as I sit in the clouds there was a special feeling that came over me. My feelings immediately were felt.... like I was closest to heaven than ever. Awesome that feeling was.

OH I SO ENJOYED THIS POST along with each link you provided. Thank you for sharing with me many of your thoughts. Perhaps I may come back and write more on this subject if that is okay with you.
I have such a wonderful feeling right now!! (smiling)

Anonymous said...


I loved this. I remember going with my camp and davening in Big Sur. It was so cool to do it in nature.


Anshel's Wife said...

Please continue with this post when you get the chance. I love listening to you work out "where you are" with your Judaism.

Josia said...

I just KNEW I had to come check out your blog Jack - sorry it took me so long :)

I hope that this will shed some light on why that feeling comes over you when you are close to nature and focusing on God (I used to do that a lot too before I got into all the kabbalah stuff).

Below are the words of kabbalist Rav Laitman - basically what he's saying is that nature is in perfect harmony - and the only thing messing things up is our uncorrected egos:

Either Nature or the Creator (which is unimportant in principle) act on us through certain laws and rules. We have to follow them since they are objective and enforcing. (Incidentally, according to Kabbalah, the numeric value of the word "Elokim" - God is equal to the numeric value of the world "Tevah" - Nature. This demonstrates the link between us and the creator through the laws of nature).

For the full article:

The prayers that you are having such difficulty connecting with were provided by kabbalists through the ages - they left behind something a lot more sophisticated for our generation -
I would imagine you are frustrated because reciting the prayers every day is not taking your soul where it is yearning to go - to connect with eternity by performing eternal mitzvot through bestowal.

ok - I'll shut up now - I just want to say how pleasantly surprised I am to see such deep thoughts from "funny Jack" who always cracks me up on Neil's site.

Jack Steiner said...

There is a serious side to me, sometimes.

PsychoToddler said...

It's easy to pray when you are desperate, or sick, or troubled.

It's harder to find faith when things are going well.

It takes a special person to think of the Creator when confronted with beauty.

Bill said...

Psychotoddler I don't think it really takes a special person (not saying Jack isn't special, How would I know?)to think of the creator when confronted with beauty.

If G-d is everywhere, then in the solitude and beauty of nature it is not hard to find him/her,as you and G-d are often the only two there.

Bill said...

ps. I love Ansel Adams' B&W photography good choice.

Jack Steiner said...


I am a huge Ansel Adams fan. I am glad that you like him too.

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