Echoes of Elul Day 6: Nature is Calling

Marci Endless Bruffey

Both my mother and father were raised orthodox. My parents were cultural Jews. I was a Jew by osmosis. My Jewish life included attending Bar Mitzvahs, standing outside the temple with the gang on high holidays, and attending Shabbat and holiday dinners with family.

Judaism did not play a part in my life until I prepared for my wedding. I was married in a reform temple. My fiancée and I were required to read a book on the history of Judaism. We joined a temple when our children were old enough to attend Sunday school. Both children were B’nai Mitzvot. Our small temple community was delightful. Four years later my husband and I divorced. I attended services at a few synagogues. For the most part I was a nomad. This middle-aged Jewish lady wandered for seven years.

Then something miraculous happened – smoking cessation. I replaced my unhealthy habit with a healthy one: exercise, walking, and lifting light weights three to five times a week. The endorphin high was (and still is) wonderful. I moved close to the beach. I found myself meditating and praying at the tide pools several times a week. My love of nature filled my life with joy. I shared my joy with family and friends. Walks on the beach, smelling roses in my neighborhood, and meditating at the tide pools helped me to become more introspective.

Baruch Spinoza offers a pantheistic view of God. He felt that “God is everything and everything is God.” In this model, one can think of God and nature interchangeably. Although Spinoza was excommunicated from Judaism, his concept was later revived by some Jews.

Nature is my religion. TBS is my community. God and nature are interchangeable.

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