Word of the Day

Elul 15, 5779
September 15, 2019

The Hebrew word yirah connotes three different experiences combined: fear, awe and reverence.
From our Sources

There are situations in which it is possible to feel fear and reverence and awe in one single, combined inner experience. Imagine, for example, standing at the very lip of a grand valley, looking down into the vast, deep and magnificent landscape. Wouldn’t you feel dread at the sheer drop into the yawning abyss, dumbfounding astonishment at the beauty of the vast and colorful scene, and maybe also awareness of the divine majesty that permeates this magnificent world?
Certain situations or experiences call forth awe without any effort at all. Witness a whale breaching or an eagle soaring, hear a baby’s first cry or look upon a magnificent sunset, and the heart responds and connects. Those “free samples” of awe take no effort, but if we want to train the heart to open to awe, we must undertake some practice. It needs to be clear, though, that cultivating the capacity to experience awe requires not that you seek out the spectacular, but rather that you endeavor to find the spectacular in everything.
-Alan Morinis, With Heart in Mind

When have you experienced a “free sample” of yirah over the past year? What effect did it have on you?
How often are you attuned to the “spectacular in everything?” What helps you to be aware in this way?
How might your life change if you made a practice of noticing the awesome power of the Divine in everyday situations?


Feelings of awe often come to us when we are outside in nature. Whether standing in your backyard, taking a walk at a local park, or simply pausing for a moment to look up at the sky before getting in your car, try to make time each day to experience the awesome power of nature.