We had seen spectacular mountains in the Alps and the Rockies in Colorado. We didn’t think Yosemite would be much different. More mountains, maybe some waterfalls, we thought, and it will all be nice – at least we’ll get out of the city. Driving from San Francisco through the dry heat of the desert, we pulled into the heart of Yosemite as the sun began to set. We got out of the car and were astounded. What we saw were trees five times bigger than any we’d ever seen, spectacular rocks climbing up to the heavens, waterfalls cascading into lush valleys. We were struck silent.

Praised are You who has created such beauty in Your world.


The world is God’s intensely holy place. Hear God’s voice in the waters, in the thunder. Hear God’s voice in the tall trees, in the forest, in the wilderness.
Hear God’s voice in power; hear God’s voice in beauty. (Adapted from Psalms 29:4)


In silence, take off (or imagine taking off) your shoes, allowing your feet to touch the ground. As you witness the majestic beauty of high mountains, vast deserts, sunrises, lightening, and shooting stars, take as much time as you need to acknowledge that you stand on holy ground.


Praised are You, Renewer of the works of creation. Let me be attentive to the wonder of Your world.
Praised is God, sun and moon. Praised is God, all bright stars. (Psalms 148:3)


And God called the dry places “earth,” and the water-springs God called “seas,” and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:10)
Every blade of grass has a guardian above it. (Zohar 1:34a)

Rabbi Irwin Kula, editor, Vanessa L. Ochs, editor in The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices