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I had a rather unpleasant walk to the store today, through heavy wind, rain, mud, et cetera.

During this walk, seeing the goodness of the natural world was a bit challenging.

Is it a mitzvah to constantly think the natural world good / beautiful / awesome? Or is one permitted to think it imperfect and in need of perfection by both Man and Hashem? I know Hashem has said it is tov / tov me'od, but is one permitted to regard this goodness as, to some degree, potential goodness?

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    We don’t ask for rain in Israel until fifteen days after succos to allow people to reach their homes. This indicates that rain while traveling is not something to particularly ask for. Rashi says on the passuk of “rain in its proper time” that it means Wednesday and Friday night when people are indoors.
    – Chatzkel
    Jan 2 at 17:32
  • @Chatzkel - thanks :) Would doubts about the present goodness of the world only be consequent upon Hashem’s curses / Ha-Satan then?
    – Tom W
    Jan 2 at 17:56
  • When I read the title of this, I just had Marvin The Paranoid Android's voice in my head saying "I've seen it. It's rubbish." :-P Jan 3 at 16:04

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Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch used to visit the Alps. He said that when a person dies Hashem will ask him "Did you see my Alps?".

https://www.aju.edu/ziegler-school-rabbinic-studies/our-torah/back-issues/have-you-seen-my-alps

However I personally don't take it too seriously it isnt listed in the list of Mitzvahs.

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The following is a parable from a friend of mine, Rabbi Israel Drazin.

"A dignified bearded man in a black jacket and pants, with a black broad-brimmed hat, died. He was summoned before God. “I have a question for you, Hayim,” God said. “Yes, sir,” Hayim replied, somewhat overawed. “How did you live your life?” God continued. “Well, sir,” Hayim responded, “I recognized that a pious person does not seek pleasure. I did better." “How?” God inquires.

Hayim smiles and says, "I made sure I never enjoyed a minute of my life. I never drank alcohol, I never drank wine, walked in gardens admiring flowers, ate sweets and most fruits. I avoided all sweets, and I spent most of my days reading and rereading the Talmud, the Torah, and praying at the synagogue.”

There was a moment of silence. Then God becomes angry. God spoke in anger. “After careful deliberation, I created a pleasurable world for humans to enjoy. I gave them red and white wine with pleasing colors, smells, and tastes that wine experts appreciate before drinking. I gave fruits delightful colors to attract people and did the same for flowers. I created the world and made it possible for all living things to enjoy it. Yet, you, Hayim, insult me by rejecting my gifts! You are saying that what I did was senseless.”

God then surprised Hayim by slapping his face hard. And surprised him even more by what He did next. He faced God's wrath.

This story is, of course, a parable. God does not become angry because, as Maimonides said, God does not have emotions. But the parable brings a clear message: enjoy the gifts of God. Chassidic masters would spend hours studying flowers as they bloomed. You could even sit by a lake and admire the ducks.

One of the finest scenes of religious contemplation is walking into the woods and fields, and lofty forest. Walking through waving of tall grass, hearing the roll of mighty rivers, and listening to the melody of birds. To look upon the cedars of Lebanon, or a small flower, a bird that sings, or a humble blade of grass is more cheerful than visiting an empty church. He needs no lesser cathedral!

We should enjoy nature. And show gratitude and admiration. We need to appreciate the creation. Do we not see a fair creation prepared to receive us the instant we are born⁠? A world, that cost us nothing? Is it we that light up the sun; that pour down the rain; and fill the earth with abundance? Whether we sleep or wake, the vast machinery of the universe still goes on. Are these things, and the blessings they indicate in the future, nothing to, us?

God created the world for humans to enjoy. God wants us to enjoy all that God has made. Rather than spend all day learning at Kollel, we should walk in the woods or garden, admire delightful colorful flowers, sip wine, eat sweet fruits, and enjoy all the gifts of God.

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