By Laura Seymour
Yes, it will be spring (and even summer) with consistent warm to hot weather! And along with spring comes the opportunities to re-connect with nature. There are so many ways to enjoy the outdoors and so many reasons to do so (even scientific ones that getting out in nature is important for your health). I recommend an ancient book called “Perek Shirah.” Some sources ascribe it to King David, who wrote it after being told by a frog that its “song” to God was loftier than David’s own Book of Psalms. Others give credit to King Solomon, who understood the “speech” of animals, vegetables and minerals. Still, others suggest that various sages of the Mishnah may have written it.
My copy comes from ArtScroll Publishing and it is a beautiful little book filled with beautiful pictures and the “songs” of nature. It is a perfect companion to a stroll in the wild! Here is what the preface explains about “Perek Shirah”:
“Some say that each creature literally sings its own song. Human beings cannot hear them, of course, just as there are many sounds in nature that human senses cannot detect. A second opinion is that the singing is done by angels… The third opinion is that the songs are not actually spoken; they are implicit in the roles of the creatures. Accordingly, the “song” of the sun, the ocean, or a cat or dog is what we should learn from it.”
No matter who wrote it or where the songs come from, the message is important — every part of the universe has a job that it carries out and that its “song” will teach us something. For example, when you see the vegetables growing, we say from Psalms 6:11 — “Water its ridges abundantly, settle its furrows, soften it with showers, may You bless its growth.” The growing vegetables make us aware that God created the earth to let us grow and be strong and healthy. How wonderful to see vegetables and to be thankful!
Now, get outdoors and enjoy all the beauty of the world and be thankful for the gift of being thankful — that is a step above!
Shalom from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.