18 Tishrei 5782 / Friday, September 24, 2021 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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A Smile Says Thank You    

A Smile Says Thank You

A smile forces us to tap into the goodness of this world and to recognize it. It's a Divine service to smile – especially when we don't feel like it.



G-d convinced me to take out the  garbage  and  Rabbi  Arush  convinced me to do the dishes.  


Those chores were always hard for me. They always seemed to need to be done just when I was relaxing with a book or a coffee, or even resting on the couch.  


Once I read The Garden of Peace, everything changed.  


A husband is obligated to treat his wife like a queen. He must make her feel like the top priority of everything. There is no greater way to show her how she tops his charts than to leave every place of manly comfort in favor of going outside in the cold to take the trash out of the house or scrubbing off dried cholent pieces from the crockpot spanning the length and width of the sink.  


It's also serving Hashem.  


Doing the dishes to show your wife how much you love her is the huge mitzvah of shalom bayit, or peace in the home. Household chores that put my wife on her well-deserved throne gives joy to Hashem.  


Knowing that these acts are a mitzvah transforms them from drudgery to desirable. Not only is my wife and family requesting them of me – G-d Himself is requesting them of me! 



Forcing an About-Face 

Our entire life is one whole episode of fake news. All-day, we are lied to by the left-wing and right-wing media. They are all trying to advance their position by peddling their snake oil that the world is a bad place. All it takes is a couple of Facebook posts, a newsfeed, or even an email saying, "Michelle Obama called Jared Kushner this and the internet just can't take it!" and we fly into our hourly rage.  


The truth is that the world is a beautiful place.  


Every moment we breathe in air that Hashem gives us.  


Every day we see our parents, our husband, wife, children, brothers, sisters, friends, and colleagues. We are surrounded by people who make us feel the greatest love there is.  


You cannot walk more than 50 meters before you see a flower, a tree, a bird, a cloud, some grass, anything that tickles the senses and gives us a sampler of the Divine beauty all around us.  


Even the people we don't know are inherently good. You can meet someone for the first time and he will extend his hand out to you. Someone you never knew can take the time to explain a process that will help you at your job. The guy at the local coffee shop just gave you a cup for 2 shekels less because you don't have exact change. People do random acts of kindness all the time.  


At any given moment, Hashem gives us 1,000 reasons to smile.  



The Divine Service of our Dimples 

If we have 1,000 reasons to smile all day, why don’t we? If we have 1,000 reasons to get up at 3:30AM, learn Torah until the first morning minyan for prayers, and gain untold merit, what prevents us? 


The evil inclination is a workaholic.  


He is always finding ways to keep us away from the best things in life that are already in our hands.  


When I was a kid, a smile was so easy. Even growing up, happiness was such an accessible emotion.  


What happened?  


I worry about my livelihood and providing for my family. I worry about the world and those who I believe to be hurting it. I worry about what others feel about me or what I think they are doing to me.  


This anxiety isn't always at the surface, but it is just below, and its enough to make me default to being somber when I have no reason to be unhappy.  


That's a sin against Hashem.  


It's a Divine service to smile – especially when we don't feel like it.  


It's an act of G-d to force those lips into a U and raise those cheeks for no reason whatsoever. It's Torah to follow the words of the Ramchal that if we do something that is not natural to us enough times, our actions from without will ignite change from within.  


A smile says “thank you to G-d for all the good in this world. It goes beyond the lies we cover ourselves in that this world is a bad place. This world is run by Hashem – to the minutest detail. There is nothing to worry about except being worried.  


A smile forces us to tap into the energy of the goodness of this world, to recognize it, to appreciate it, to accept it. A smile is a fulfillment of Rabbi Nachman's Torah that: 


It's a big mitzvah to be happy. 


That means that for every moment we show some teeth, we are performing a genuine service to our Creator. A service of gratitude. A service of thanksgiving. A service of bringing light to ourselves, our loves ones, and Hashem's world.  


It’s also a big mitzvah to smile every day at Hashem, and say, “I love you, Hashem!” Look for an easy opportunity to do this – while passing by some flowers, or looking into the face of a loved one. If you pay attention, you might just find yourself doing it far more than once a day… 


Especially in these days where at every corner lurks the greatest darkness, every spark of light we create will shine even brighter.  


* * * 

David Ben Horin lives in Israel with his wife and children. 





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