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Torah Portion: Ki Teitzei
What A Smile
Do you smile?
There are different types of smiles.
There’s the raised-corners-of-the-mouth social smile, which is basically the deliberate flexing of facial muscles to telegraph polite positivity.
But there’s also the genuine, full-faced smile; the one that’s clearly proclaiming “welcome, I’m making room for you in my life.” That smile is larger than the simple movement of facial muscles and cordial interactions. That smile is a gesture that transcends simple facial expressions; it’s about offering yourself to another. A real smile means you’ve removed some of the walls between you and the world, that some ‘inner you’ is connecting with an ‘other.’
When you’re on the phone, can you sometimes tell that the other person is smiling, even though you can’t see their face? When someone is genuinely smiling, his voice has a lilt of giving and openness, a flow of bonding, an embracing spirit that goes way beyond facial expressions.
Polite smiles don’t express that kind of depth, because they aren’t that deep. They don’t come across the phone.
The Torah describes G-d as blessing us by ‘”shining His face” upon us, as though G-d is giving us a glowing, full-faced smile.
There’s a friendly face, and then there’s a glowing face. There’s a smile, and then there’s a full-bodied smile. The difference may be difficult to describe, even intangible, but it’s huge.
You know it when it happens.
This Jewish month of Elul, the lead-up to Rosh Hashana, is a time when we’re told that G-d is giving us a full-faced smile, an open welcome into a caring relationship.
How do you respond to an open smile?
Care enough to give someone a genuine smile today. Find the faith and connection to give G-d a genuine smile today.
Get into the Rosh Hashana rhythm.
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein
This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM