I was driving today and saw a yellow sign with the word “SET” right side up and upside-down with a big black arrow. I was going in that direction anyway, so I figured I might as well go and find out what they are filming. Maybe I can meet a Movie Star, maybe I can become an extra. I went to a person catering the filming production. I asked what’s going on. He told me “They are filming a commercial.” “Oh yeah? Are there any movie stars in it?” I Asked – he said “No. It’s for a Hyundai Commercial. The Star is the Car.”
I remember many years ago, when I overheard a woman speaking with her mother. She mentioned that a friend of hers dresses provocatively. She, herself, didn’t dress as such, she said. These people – touched upon a secret that the Torah teaches. It is not the external that will make you appreciated. The cars, the fancy clothes or drawing attention to one’s physical appearance that will make one appreciated. This will cause others to look. But in half a second they will forget you forever.
To be appreciated for yourself, be yourself! What makes one appreciated is being good. Being good brings out our true selves – because we are basically our souls and our souls want to do good.
Listening to Torah Lectures regardless of the subject – helps us get in touch with ourselves. The true self is the soul. The Soul wants to do what’s right. The soul is the essence of the person. Satisfy it and you will be satisfied. There are two other components to the person. The Ego – which wants to do what lifts up its ego. And the body – that wants to follow after pleasure (As Dr. Dovid Leiberman explains). When one feeds the soul one attains satisfaction. When one just feeds the body or the ego’s wants – one rarely attains lasting happiness. Thus a Jew can attain happiness through – following after Jewish law / Halacha – because that is what pleases a person and helps him or her to reach their true selves. A gentile would learn their laws – the Torah’s 7 Noahide laws to reach lasting happiness. Two Excellent Lectures I recently heard that talk about reaching ones potential are entitled Maximize Your Potential by Dr. Dovid Leiberman and one by Rabbi Chanan Gordon – called Spiritual Time Management.
Torah law enables a person to be appreciated for themselves. The Torah puts a person on the goodness track rather than the keeping up with the Jones track. On the goodness track – one tries to do as much good as possible. There are people who were outstanding in Kindness – going to incredible lengths to do Kindness / Chesed with others. Rabbi Meir Schuster – used to stand at the entrance to the Kotel / Western Wall to invite people for Shabbat at various peoples homes and find provide them with lodging at his youth hostel – Heritage House. People I know – have over 30 guests every Shabbat for meals. A woman, Henny Machlis, would have hundreds of guests over her house in Jerusalem. We can learn from all of these people.
One of the main Mitzvahs of a man is Torah study. One of the great Mitzvahs of a woman is Jewish Modesty / Tzniut. Just like Torah study brings a special light of beauty on a man’s face – so does Tzniut.
A Jewish woman dresses in a certain manner – like sleeves that cover elbows, skirts that cover knees, shirts that cover neck line – in order keep her guarded like a precious diamond from the looks of others. A married woman covers her hair with a beautiful scarf. In essence a woman that does such is ultimately appreciated for her internal beauty rather than her external appearance. She focuses on her inner qualities / middot which eventually reflect on her external beauty. Some women have external beauty but lack internal beauty – which exhibits a sense of dissonance – because of the contrast.
Her beauty is internal. Thus people appreciate her for this beauty in her speaking nicely, and doing of kindness and not talking badly of others – all this contributes to the big picture and ultimately this kindness makes her appreciated all the more so.
This is what is meant from the verse talking about Sarah our matriarch That says “And the Days of Sarah were one hundred and twenty and seven.” The commentators ask “why not say simply she was one-hundred twenty seven years. Why did the verse have to specify each period of seven, twenty and one-hundred” Rashi explains – when she was 20 she was as beautiful as when she was seven. The beauty the verse is talking about is the child’s beauty. Children are beautiful because they are pure and sinless.
Being Proactive in Doing Good
The Rambam lists level of Giving Charity. One is giving grudgingly. A higher level is giving when one is Asked. Another is actively seeking fellow Jews to give to. Charity begins at home. If one has a relative that is in need and a friend that is in need his family member takes precedence. A person who is serious about giving may consult a reputable Torah authority to find out what are priorities.
I know someone who actively seeks on starting Kollels – places where married Jewish men study and are paid for a small stipend for the opportunity cost of their time learning Torah. He has changed the face of many cities by starting a Kollel in each city – assimilation decreased and observance in Torah increased. Working men start to learn weekly or daily with kollel members – that eventually changes their outlook and entire family for the better.
Being proactive allows a person to bring out his potential energy – for doing good and change it into real goodness throughout the world. When one does such – he or she is much appreciated by the poeple of the world and by Hash-m / G-d.