Friday, June 09, 2006


Most people have been to Niagara Falls at least once. It's a great place to go with family, friends, for graduation trips, etc. Go, see the falls, do all the touristy things. Take pictures everywhere. Then go home. What do you remember from your trip? The fun experiences. Getting sprayed on the Maid of the Mist. seeing the colorful lights on the Falls, and maybe the fireworks. The time when Sarah tripped and fell on her face in front of the Chinese couple who then started snapping pictures of "the American".

What about the incredible thing you saw? The sheer power of this creation of G-D? The fact that the entire bottom of this huge river just drops out, leaving it looking like someone punched a hole in the rock? The fact that 600,000 gallons go over the Canadian portion of the falls alone, every second?

One of the things I did while in Niagara Falls (the city), was go see an IMAX called “Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic.” The film tells the story of Lelawala, a young Native American girl who is forced to marry the oldest man in the village. She rebels, and has to leave the village. She runs through the forest, gets into a canoe, and moves out into the river. She has a serene look on her face as she calmly paddles her way over Niagara Falls. The film says that some believe she "became one with the spirits". It the shows her misty figure standing, hands raised, on a rock right next to the falls. Later on in the film, when a young boy is recued after having miraculously survived a plunge over the falls, it flashes to Lelawala, standing with her hands in the air, implying that she saved him.

Now, besides for being total kfira and avoda zara, this is not exactly a believable story. But at least someone found some real meaning in their understanding of the falls. Of course we know that it wasn't Lelawala who saved this boy. But when we look at the falls, shouldn't we be saying, "mah rabu maasecha Hashem," instead of "Oh. Nice. It's so beautiful" ? I'm not trying to say that we should be like thoes who believe in Lelawala. But they do have their priorities in order...

If it's your first time at the Falls, you make the bracha "Oseh Maaseh Beraishis" b'shem v'malchus. This is major. There is incredible power here. A friend of mine, while looking at the Falls, said "How can anyone look at this and not believe in G-D?" How, indeed? Sure, we believe it. But when we look at it, is that what we are thinking about? Our vacations take precedence.

The next time you go to Niagara, the beach, anywhere really, step back and look around. Open your eyes. Look at what Hashem created. And think, "If He can do this, He can do anything."

Have a Good Shabbos.


Blogger PsychoToddler said...

We went to the falls last year.

3:18 PM  

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