שַׁמַּאי אוֹמֵר, עֲשֵׂה תוֹרָתְךָ קֶבַע. אֱמוֹר מְעַט וַעֲשֵׂה הַרְבֵּה, וֶהֱוֵי מְקַבֵּל אֶת כָּל הָאָדָם בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת:
Shammai would say:
- Make your Torah a fixture [of your day].
- Speak little and do much.
- And be accepting of all people with a pleasant facial expression.– Pirqei Avos 1:15
Rav Yisrael Salanter says that we do not own the right to walk around with a grumpy expression. A smile is infectious, and therefore our smiles are not entirely our own, they impact the mood of everyone in our environment.
There isn’t much I can say about the life of Aliza Kayla bas Mikhah Shemuel. She was born the first day chol hamo’ed Sukkos. I don’t think she wanted to… Kayli spent the first days of Sukkos getting herself as far from out of there as possible, and when it was time to be born, she came into the world feet first. We named “Aliza Kayla”, for two beloved great-aunts.
Eleven weeks later, a couple of days after Chanukah, I had a hard day at work, and my day was ending early. Siggy was putting Kayli to sleep, before leaving for a shiur offered by the local chevrah qadishah. But I asked to hold her first and say good night. And I carry a deep memory of how as I played with her, I smiled and Kayli smiled back to me. She never woke up that night.
Two thoughts though.
Kayli’s brief life brought people together. We moved to Passaic shortly before her birth thinking that our enlarged family would need the extra space. People invited us for Shabbasos those first weeks to make the new people feel at home in the neighborhood. Then she was born, and we relieved weeks worth of food from neighbors who took care of us while my wife recovered. We were barely done with all the leftovers from those meals when the meals started arriving during shiv’ah!
More directly, one thing struck me about Kayli’s life. The last time I held her, marveling at her newly acquired talent to smile back at me when I smiled at her. Social smiling develops somewhere around 7 weeks give or take, but I never was the most observant parent.
It is now 4 Teiveis, Kayli’s 25th yahrzeit. I cannot ask people to remember her example and give tzedaqah like she did, learn like she did, be a generous friend like she was. But Kayli did teach me the preciousness of a simple smile.
It seemed to me her soul might have been brought down to earth just to learn how to share a smile. So how could I be stingy with mine?
Please do me a favor and make someone smile today! Complement them, give an unexpected “thank you”, tell a joke. Just do anything to bring people together, more happiness into the world, and a smile to someone’s lips.
ושמא תאמר, אין בו טעם? ת”ל: “חַכְלִילִ֥י עֵינַ֖יִם מִיָּ֑יִן”, כל חיך שטועמו אומר “לי, לי”
ושמא תאמר, לנערים יפה ולזקנים אינו יפה? ת”ל: “וּלְבֶן־שִׁנַּ֖יִם מֵחָלָֽב”, אל תיקרי לבן שינים אלא לבן שנים.
פשטיה דקרא במאי כתיב?
כי אתא רב דימי אמר, אמרה כנסת ישראל לפני הקב”ה: רבונו של עולם, רמוז בעיניך דבסים מחמרא, ואחוי לי שיניך דבסים מחלבא.מסייע ליה לר’ יוחנן. דאמר רבי יוחנן: טוב המלבין שיניים לחברו יותר ממשקהו חלב. שנאמר: “וּלְבֶן־שִׁנַּ֖יִם מֵחָלָֽב”, אל תקרי “וּלְבֶן־שִׁנַּ֖יִם” אלא “לבון שינים”.
When Rav Dimi came [to the Golan from Naharda’ah, Bavel], he said: The Congregation of Israel said before the Holy One, “Master of the universe, twinkle to me with Your ‘Eyes’, which are sweeter than wine, and show me Your ‘Teeth’ which are sweeter than milk.” [The twinkling eye and the visible teeth being a description of a heartfelt smile.]This is a proof for Rabbi Yochanan. As Rabbi Yochanan said: Whitening a friend’s teeth [in a smile] is greater than giving him milk to drink. As it says, “uleven shinayim meichalav — and teeth whitened with milk.” (Bereishis 49:12) Do not read “uleven shinayim“, rather “libun shinayim — the whites of teeth” [“meichalav” — more than milk].
And on the the verse, the Yalqut Shim’oni quotes Rabbi Yochanan as above, but he continues:
לא כעולם הזה העולם הבא, בעולם הזה יש צער לבצור ולדרוך אבל לעולם הבא כל אחד ואחד יוצא לשדה ומביא ענבה בקרון או בספינה ומניחה בקרן זוית [ומספק הימנו כפיטוס] גדול ועציו מסיקן תחת התבשיל, “וְדַם־עֵנָ֖ב תִּשְׁתֶּה־חָֽמֶר” אין לך ענבה וענבה שאינה עושה ששים גרבי יין שנאמר חמר לא תקרי חמר אלא חומר:
This world is not like the world to come. In this world there is grief in harvesting and treading [the grain]. But in the world to come, each one goes out to the field and brings a cluster of grapes back by carriage or boat, puts it in the corner [and has enough from it like a banyan] that is large and its wood is enough to burn under the stew [pot]. “The blood of the grapes you shall drink as foaming wine” (Devarim 32:14) — you will not have any cluster of grapes that would not produce 60 garab [roughly 7 gallons] of wine, as it says “חָֽמֶר — foaming”. Do not read “chamer” but “chomer — substance.”
May we all great each other with a twinkle in the eye and a smile on the lips, so that we may live to see the day the worlds unite, and there is bounty without effort in this world as well.
נשמה שנתת בה תהורה היא
עליזה קיילא בת מיכה שמואל