Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

Why live in a cold, dark, miserable world -- when you can live in paradise, in the gardens of Aden? Why see stupidity in the people around you, their selfishness and greed -- when you can focus on their beauty? Why suffer when you can be happy? Why get angry when you can be serene, peaceful? Why be agitated, worried, insecure, when you can be confident? Why frown, grimace, scowl, when you can smile?

In many different areas, we make decisions. Let us decide likewise which attitudes we want -- and which we don't want. Let us decide which thoughts we think -- and which we don't think. We make decisions as to which clothes we will wear. Let us decide likewise, which face we show the world.

Let us be kings and queens. Let us live in palaces of light and beauty. Let us encase ourselves with support and friendship. Let us be happy, and succeed.


Acting is a special talent we all have. Some of us are better than others -- but to some degree, we all pretend -- we all perform.

"I stepped into the market to buy a few apples," Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, the Alter of Slabodka, once related.

"The peasant woman who sells them was busy screaming at her fellow vendor. Her face was red, totally contorted with anger, contempt. Curses shot from her like a machine-gun. Her body shuddered with one great screech.

"Still, when she spotted me - immediately -- everything changed. Her face flowered with smiles. She blessed me, asked how I was, and how she could humbly serve me. All this was only for a profit of a few pennies.

"It was a truly amazing sight."[1]

Can we use this story to improve our lives? Can we be better actors?


How do you look into a mirror? Do you smile -- say "hi"? Do you pull a face? Do you inspect your reflection with care, straighten an eyebrow, pull back a curl? Do you quickly look away?

In any event, we all have a certain pleasure from seeing ourselves in a mirror. We recognize the face in the glass, and are glad that it's there.

We need then, to do the same thing with other people. We need to look at them as we though we were looking in a mirror. For, in them we may see a reflection of all that lies within us.

To look at others as we look at ourselves is to look at the world through very different eyes. Moreover, it helps us in many different ways. It frees us from jealousies, angers, resentments. And it shows us how we may love life in a new, important way.



My lover, my sweetheart, has a gift from me. He has hidden it just around the corner. He is waiting for something -- a smile maybe, or a laugh, or for me to clap my hands in joy, in anticipation. Then he will produce the gift.

Hashem is our lover, our sweetheart. He wants us to enjoy the life He gives us -- as it is. Moreover, He has a special gift. He has hidden it just around the corner. He is waiting for something -- a smile maybe, or a laugh, or for us to clap our hands in joy, in anticipation. Then He will produce the gift.


[1] Based on "Sparks of Mussar"

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