web analytics
August 22, 2014 / 26 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Sweeter Than Honey

Safran-090613

One of the beautiful customs of Rosh Hashanah is to eat an apple dipped in honey and other sweet foods as a way of asking Hashem to make things sweet for us in the coming year. People also wish each other a healthy and sweet New Year. However the best way to make the year sweet for ourselves and for others is to become “sweet” people, remembering to smile and treat each other in a sweet and friendly way.

In our story, a kid discovers that “sweet” is more than something to eat.

“Have a nice day!” the woman behind the school-lunch counter said with a smile, as she handed Sari her change. With barely a grunt, the girl took her lunch tray and went to find a seat. If that lady wanted to go around all smiley-miley that was her business, but it wasn’t Sari’s style.

Sari had just taken the first bite of her fries when she felt a light tap on the shoulder. “Hi, is the seat taken?” a smiling girl from one of her new classes asked, pointing with her head in the direction of the seat next to hers.

“Looks to me like it’s still there,” Sari answered with a frown and went back to her lunch. She expected her to sit down, but apparently the kid changed her mind, because she quietly slipped off and sat next to someone else.

Sari didn’t care. Though she didn’t dislike people, she just didn’t see any point in the smiley, friendly chit-chat that most of the other kids seemed to spend almost all their free time doing. As far as she was concerned, it was a waste of time. After all, a person should spend her time productively. Either studying or at least doing something practical to help people — like she was planning to do after school.

Later That Day

“Okay, Sari. Here are the New Year’s baskets. Make sure to give one to every person on the list, okay?” her mom said, handing her the 20 neatly-wrapped small gift baskets, each containing a dozen home-made cookies, an apple and a small jar of honey. Each year, before Rosh Hashanah, Sari’s mom tried to bring a little cheer to the patients in the nearby Jewish nursing home by bringing them these gifts.  But this year, she had twisted her ankle, so she asked Sari to bring them instead.

Carrying them all in a big shopping bag, Sari walked in the front door of the nursing home.

“Going to do a good deed like your mother, huh?” the receptionist smiled as the girl walked by. Sari, wearing her usual frown, gave her a slight nod and went on her way.

She went to the first room on her list: Mrs. Blumenthal, room 107. She knocked lightly on the half-open door and when nobody answered, she peeked in. She saw a small, elderly woman sitting on a chair by the window. The woman had a really sad, almost angry look on her face and Sari, feeling a little scared, was about to just leave the package at the door and move on when she heard a voice call out, “Well, come in already.”

With no choice, the girl took a few steps inside the room.

“Well, what do you want?” the lady asked.

“Um, I brought you a New Year’s basket…Happy New Year,” she said, handing her the basket unsmilingly and turning to leave.

“Wait one minute!” the lady called out, freezing Sari in her tracks. The girl nervously turned around.

“Why didn’t you bring me the same gift as your mother did last year?” the woman asked.

Now as long as Sari could remember, her mother had been making and delivering the exact same packages. Same cookies, same apple — even the same kind of basket. Maybe this woman was senile or something.

“I…think…it is the same,” Sari said slowly.

The lady shook her head. “Nope. All I see here are cookies, and apple and honey. It’s missing the best part.”

Now Sari was really confused. The lady went on.

“It’s missing the big smile your mother would give me when she handed it to me and wished me a sweet year. I could almost live a whole year on that smile. I look forward to it all year. You don’t get many of them around here, you know.”

“Oh. I’m so sorry.” Sari said, softly, as she slowly turned to leave.

“So? Where’s the rest of my gift?” the woman insisted. “I can buy cookies in the gift shop, but a smile is worth more than gold. Come on, dear. Don’t be like me — I never smiled as a girl either. Didn’t have time for them — or for people either. Now I couldn’t smile if I wanted to. I had a stroke last year and my face is paralyzed into one big frozen frown. And people? I didn’t have time for them, now they don’t have time for me…” Her voice trailed off sadly.

Sari knew this was serious. She didn’t want to let the lady down, and she didn’t want to become like her either. Mustering all her might, Sari curled her lips into a wide, happy smile.

“Happy New Year, Mrs. Blumenthal! And may you have a good, sweet year!”

The lady nodded, and though she didn’t smile with her lips, the happy, grateful light shining from her eyes said it all.

Sari’s smile grew and grew as she handed out her baskets to the rest of the people on the list, and watched how the sweet foods and especially her sweet smile gave the elderly people new life. Probably they weren’t the only ones who needed a friendly smile, either.

“Finished already?” the tired, harried-looking receptionist asked as Sari walked into the lobby.

“Almost,” Sari said with a glowing smile — that from now on was going to be her special gift to everybody. “This last one’s for you. Have a Happy, Sweet New Year!”

 

Questions

Age 3-5

Q.  How did Sari feel at first about smiling at people?

A.  She felt it really didn’t make a difference, so why bother?

 

Q.  How did she feel in the end?

A.  She saw how much it meant to the lady in the nursing home and decided to give people smiles from now on.
Ages 6-9

Q.  What life lesson do you think Sari learned that day?

A.  She had thought smiling and acting friendly to people was just something meaningless that people did and a waste of time. But once she saw what a real difference smiling and acting sweetly to someone made in their life, she began to make the effort.

 

Q. Do you think that if we try to feel friendlier to others, it will affect the way they feel to us?

A.  A person’s heart is like a mirror. How we feel toward others will reflect back on how they feel toward us. When we are sweet, it makes our whole world sweeter, too.
Ages ten and up

Q.  Our Sages teach that smiling at someone is a more valuable gift than giving them a costly present.  How do you understand that?

A.  A sincere smile is more than just a turning of the lips—it infuses the person we smile at with powerful and healing energy that reaches their very heart. What mere ‘present’ could compete with that?

 

Q.  Is it appropriate to act sweetly toward people who aren’t sweet to us?

A. While we certainly don’t have to allow people to harm us in any way—people’s unkind behavior needn’t make us become like them. Nearly always things turn out better with others if we remain kind and sweet—and for sure it will make us feel better about ourselves.

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at e1948s@aol.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Sweeter Than Honey”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
It is believed that this is a photo from the Friday afternoon execution outside a Gazan mosque.
UPDATE: Hamas Executes 21 Arabs in Gaza
Latest Judaism Stories
Weiss-082214-Beloved

Hashem recalls everything – nothing is hidden from His eyes.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

Lessons-Emunah-logo

An interview was overheard in which an Arab asked a Hamas commander: “What’s the problem? Why aren’t you hitting your targets? Don’t you know how to aim?” To which he was answered: “We know how to aim very well. We are experts. But their G-d moves the missiles.”

Daf-Yomi-logo

Discretion
‘Vendors Of Fruits And Clothing…May Sell In Private’
(Mo’ed Katan 13b)

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.

Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.

The first prayer of Moshe was Vayechal, where Moshe’s petition was that no matter how bad bnei Yisrael were, the Egyptians were worse.

“We’re leining now, and shouldn’t be talking,” Mr. Silver gently quieted his son. “At the Shabbos table we can discuss it at length.”

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

Culture is not nature. There are causes in nature, but only in culture are there meanings.

Rabbinic law is pivotal but it’s important to understand which laws are rabbinic and which biblical.

We give slave gifts? If he wants to stay, we pierce his ear?!

A bit of (non-Jewish) history can help us understand this week’s Torah portion: In the early 1500s, the Catholic church was being fundamentally challenged by movements which claimed it had monopolized religious power and used to enrich the church and its officials. The most radical of these movements were a particular sect of Anabaptists. Anabaptists […]

“When a mother plays with her child there is an acute awareness of the child. But even when the mother works at a job or is distracted by some other activity, there is a natural, latent awareness of her child’s existence.

More Articles from Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

What defines kana’ut these days? Throwing rocks at passing cars on Shabbos? Burning an Israeli flag on Yom Ha’Atzmaut?

One who may leave his wife an agunah is not included in the general rule that we may not imprison on Shabbos.

“Fulfill my requests for good, grant my request, be mindful of us for deliverance and compassion…remember us for a good, long life…give us bread to eat, clothes to wear…”

Too often, as parents and teachers, we think it means talking at our children, delivering to them good and worthy content that they should simply hear and assimilate into their minds and hearts.

I was singing, dancing, jumping and, sweating. Just joy and happiness. One child on my shoulders after another. What happiness! And then, the little boy on my shoulders – he could not have been older than six – began to cry.

The only way for children to find a way back to the path is through parental love and understanding.

Nothing defines a community so much as its recognition of common leadership and willingness to respect its authority.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/sweeter-than-honey/2013/09/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: