There is a sequence of Jewish prayers in the morning. I grew up saying them, continued into my young adulthood and then stopped due to having new responsibilities as a young professional as well as feeling a need to let go of my childhood religious rituals.
But I still from time to time say these morning blessings.
This morning was one of those times. I recited them as I passed by some pretty foliage on the way to work. As I got to the part with the blessings over learning Torah, I felt that same resistance that I always do. I wanted to skip over these blessings since I do not study Torah text regularly anymore as I did when I was a student in Jewish day school. I wanted to skip over them and get right to the 15 blessings which are more relevant to my day, addressing waking up, the blessing of sight, gratitude for having clothes, as well as walking upright and with inner pride.
But as I stared at the green branches flowing in the breeze, I thought to myself: Perhaps I can reframe what these Torah blessings mean to me. Surely, Torah doesn’t just mean the rules I learned in school, but the intrinsic fabric of the universe—which includes the stillness and majesty of nature, as well as the importance of mindful living.
And keeping this in mind, I was able to more cheerfully recite the morning Torah blessings.