Smile Back!

(Torah Portion Ki Savo) Smile Back!

In this week’s portion there is much attention given to performing our obligations and worshiping the Almighty with a sense and expression of Simcha – joy.

Expressing joy and happiness is a necessary component in serving G-d and in achieving success in interpersonal relationships.

When one puts on a smile, others are bound to smile back.

In our prayers and blessings, the word Chain – favor – occurs frequently. We refer to G-d’s Chain – favor – when we talk about Him sustaining us, or providing us with intellect. Also in the Birchas Kohanim – priestly blessings – G-d blesses the Jewish people with favor.

We often express words of kindness and compassion in our prayers associated with G-d’s favor to us.

What follows, is that when we approach and connect to G-d through prayer and observance, we should realize that G-d is filled with favor towards us, and that G-d is smiling and happy to extend His blessings to us. The proper way to respond to G-d’s gesture is to smile back with favor through our expression of prayer and observance in a most pleasant and joyful disposition.

When one delves into the usage of the term Chain – favor – in the Torah, he sees that it is usually used when one faced very challenging and strenuous situations, yet they exercised and used their Chain – their favor, kindness and goodness.

Noach, who was faced with the challenge of building a massive ark and witnessing the destruction of all of mankind, found favor in G-d’s eyes. Noach, in turn, did not respond to G-d with anger or upset, rather maintained a disposition of Chain – favor.

When Yaacov went to meet with his hateful brother Aisav, he approached him with Chain – favor.

After Yosef was sold by his brothers and wound up as a slave, the Torah relates, he found favor in the eyes of his master. He did not let his personal issues get in the way of his passion for life. When Yosef asked the Pharoh for permission to bury his father Yaacov in the Land of Israel, he approached him with Chain – favor.

When the Jews were about to leave Egypt, the Torah relates that, “G-d granted Chain – favor – of the Jewish people in the eyes of the Egyptians and they loaned the Jews their valuables.” With all their suffering due to the plagues, G-d opened up the Egyptian’s eyes and exposed them to the inner Chain of the Jewish people.

When Moshe pled with G-d to forgive the Jewish nation for their participation in the sin of golden calf, many times he asked G-d for Chain – favor. He was granted his wish for their forgiveness.

When Moshe beseeched G-d to allow him entry into the Land of Israel, he offered 515 prayers. The word the Torah uses to describe Moshe’s many prayers is V’eschanan. The root of this word is Chain – favor. Moshe throughout his entreaties to G-d, approached Him only asking for Chain – favor – with the feeling that would G-d to allow him to enter he would consider it as a free gift. Moshe did not get frustrated nor did he demand that his prayer be answered due to spiritual achievements.

In this case, G-d instructed Moshe to stop praying to be allowed to enter the land, for if he would have mentioned one additional prayer, G-d would have let Moshe enter the land, which was not G-d’s will. Moshe of course obeyed G-d’s wishes.

Esther, when she was chosen to be Achashvairosh’s queen and taken against her will, the Megilla attests that Esther exuded a special Chain – favor – in the king’s eyes. Esther, through Mordechai’s instruction recognized that she was placed in this odd situation in order to eventually be of help to the Jews. She received the gift of Chain.

Thus we see that Chain, a disposition of favor and kindness when one prays or interacts with others, is an integral component to one’s success even when he feels stressful or hurt.

This is only achieved when one is confident and believes that the Almighty listens to us and is in control over all.

In fact the Talmud relates that a person who has Chain, is identified as one who has a sense of awe and reverence of Heaven.

Wishing you a blessed, uplifting and peaceful Shabbos!

Rabbi Dovid and Malki Saks and family