Have you ever used the selfie mode on your cell phone? Silly question. Of course you have. We all have.
I look at the my image on the selfie mode, move my lips this way and that, working on a smile that will look real, or using one of the many filters to beautify my face or remove some of those blemishes or if I’m in the mood to make silly faces with my kids, add some donkey ears. It’s fun, cute and fake and the stuff that tik tok thrives off of.
In many ways the selfie has replaced the handheld mirror. The difference is that a mirror tells me what is and the selfie with the filters can tell me whatever I want it to.
A mirror is a powerful tool. Is my face dirty? Is it time for a trim (of my head hair of course)? Does my beard look brushed and dignified? Are my Tefillin centered on my head?
Maybe my escape from the mirror to the selfie is a major misunderstanding of my own self worth?
Let me explain; the moment I came into this world I was already fully packaged. My primal emotional make up was set, not to be changed. Some of it pretty, kind, generous and some of it not so nice, in fact appearing blemished. It is that package combined with other things (upbringing, culture, parents, siblings, etc.) that I had no control over (until I arrived to a place of self awareness) that gives my life its definition, purpose and meaning.
This is not always an easy pill to swallow but when I ponder this, I realize the truth of this in a manner that becomes liberating. Those blemishes on my face are the Divine Design. They’re beautiful and give my life the texture it is designed for.
In this week’s Parsha we read about the most cherished vessel in the Mishkan, the wash basin. It was made from the copper mirrors donated by the women.
These mirrors were used by the women in Egypt to entice their husbands and produce the next generation of Jewish Children, the “children of Israel” who left Egypt and became the founding of our People.
The specific story and insight can be found here.
I wonder if the enticement and the depths of their relationship and in turn our relationships, both marital and otherwise, is better served when we look in the mirror together and recognize our truest beautiful blemished Divinely designed cores?
Next time instead of a selfie, I may just use the mirror feature on the phone to just look at us as we are.
Have a great Shabbos.
Rabbi Mendel Schusterman
Thanks to my brother, Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman, of Chabad Intown, Atlanta, for sharing the above thought.