To say the Western New York is filled with natural wonders is an understatement. Lush green landscapes (even in a drought), rolling hills, healthy water ways, and, of course, Niagara Falls. On Thursday (8/25), the National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary. Parks like Allegany, Letchworth, and Watkins Glen are right around the corner from us. This past week, my family and I visited Griffis Sculpture Park in East Otto and were blown away by how spectacular it was. I encourage you to visit.
Likewise, this week’s Torah portion, Ekev, is a celebration of the landscape, not of America, but of Israel. Before we even set foot in the Promised Land we were privy to its beautiful landscape. We heard about “a land of brooks of water, of fountains of depths that spring out of valleys and hills, a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates, of olive oil and honey.” For a nation of wanders, we were stricken from the beginning. To this day, one the favorite past times in Israel is being in nature. That is how we originally fell in love with our religious homeland, and how we continue to fall in love with it today. Isn’t God’s earth a beautiful place to be?