Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Why my kavanah is best in the woods

Posted by Frum Hiker on July 22, 2007

I have always wondered why my best davenings always occurred outside in the woods, miles away from the closest minyan. I have always attributed it to the fact that I was where I loved to be and I wanted to show gratitude to Hashem for providing me such beauty and what better way to do it then daven with all out kavanah.

I was learning some chassidus the other day and it was talking about how prior to davening one should meditate on Godly thoughts and put all other thoughts out of ones head. For me as I am sure most others, this is simply impossible or very hard to do. I know myself and I have distractions no matter where I may be. In shull I might be looking around at who I know, over the mechitza or at my watch. At home the cell phone may ring causing me to rush or I may just be tired and wanting to get back in bed. It just so happens that the thought of concentrating before one davens is very hard for me to do or even comprehend. Truthfully I always feel that my davening besides for on yom kippor, is rushed and without the proper kavanah for standing in front of the holy of holies.

Switch to the woods scenario, there are many of them, but they all have something in common. I am tired, sweaty and I have just been extremely engaged in something without gashmius type distractions. I was not at work, asleep, reading a book, driving or ten million other things that one does before praying. I was riding my bike through lush forests, relishing in the rush of the wild objects coming at me from all ends. My sensory was filled with Gods creations and Gods offerings.

I have just hiked all day on a ridge above the treeline overlooking glaciers and 3 mile high mountains. I have walked under my own God given power to a small enclave 60 miles away from the nearest power line and I have been completely immersed in God enjoying his company all day long.

There are many more scenarios like these. This is why my davening is so good while out in the wilderness; this is why everything to do with my Judaism is great while out in the wild. It is because, not only are there no distractions, all the distractions there are were made by God for the human to enjoy and take something out of. Most people see a tree, I see a life giving instrument that one cannot deny was made by God. The other reason why kavanah is so good for me in the woods, is that prior to daveing I have been engaged in something that had absolutely nothing to do with man made objects and was solely produced by God.

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