Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Shevat 5760 - January 12, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Smile for the Camera
by Rosally Saltsman

My eight-year-old son loves to look at photo albums of when he was `young.' Between all the aah-ing of "Oh, how cute," a few things have occurred to me. All that laughing and smiling for the camera is evidence that we've been happy. Sometimes we get stuck in the difficulties of our lives and we forget that we've been happy. When we look at the final video-of-our- lives in the great screening room of Olom Haba, Hashem may ask us: If you had a good life, what were you so upset about? Why the occasional sour faces and grumblings?

Because when the red light goes off, we often stop smiling. But weren't we smiling just a minute ago? Yes, but that was for posterity. We don't want to remember the angst and sorrow (for there is angst and sorrow), so we smile for the camera. We can smile for the camera; and everyone can do that. It's a Pavlovian response to seeing a lens of any kind in front of our faces, a learned response from birth on. A month before we knew how to smile, we were already being told to smile for the camera.

"Oh, look how cute!"

We can do it. We can always smile for the camera. So why not smile for each other, for ourselves, Hashem, our kids, spouse, the boss? Even the bus driver. We're on our best behavior, showing our sunniest disposition to anything with one large eye. If we saw a Cyclops, we would automatically grin. But we do have a candid camera aimed at us 24 hours a day, 12 months a year. It's also recording for posterity.

When we get to Heaven, don't we want the Court to say, "Oh, look how sweet she was?"

[Editor's note: For you Jerusalemites who ride the No. 3 bus: know the driver who wishes his passengers a good morning? Each one of them? Ever watch how everyone in the bus smiles when new passengers get on and watches for their pleasantly- surprised expression as they, too, are greeted with a `Good morning'?]


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