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The power of a smile


Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Here is some practical advice regarding our current period of mourning as we approach Tisha B'Av. Rabbi Chaim Friedlander, who passed away 37 years ago today, explains that our self-improvement and self-rectification are in the details.

"As we mourn the destruction of Jerusalem, we need to address the reasons that it occurred: divisiveness and baseless hatred.

Having a pleasant facial expression when greeting another person is an unrivaled form of lovingkindness. An encouraging smile has enormous power, far more than material assistance.

A cheerful countenance -- this is what I am obligated to display at all times since each person deserves it. A sad countenance is likely to cause pain to others.

I am obligated to be cheerful not only to those who come to my home. Even when I am walking down the street I must make sure that my face shines with a smile. Toward whom? Toward passersby, people I don't know; it is essential that they see a smile on my face.

All of this is not an unrealistic aspiration, but something that can be applied in the here and now. Initially, we can make this happen with members of our household and then extend our warm and cheerful disposition outward to others, to break down the barriers of divisiveness and baseless hatred once and for all."


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