In our reading this week, Yaakov blesses Yehudah by saying, “His eyes will be read from wine, and his teeth white from milk.” Rabbi Yochanon (Kesuvos 111b) changes one vowel and reads, “and to whiten his teeth from [more than] milk.” To give a warm smile is better than giving him milk.
One of the most important forms of charity is to help a person smile, to lift him up from being unhappy. It’s a form of charity that doesn’t cost anything and can be found anywhere, even in our own homes. Many people today are lonely, sad, in need of your smile. And considering where any form of improvement must begin, sometimes it starts in the mirror!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken
Director, Project Genesis – Torah.org