Encouragement (chizuk) is one of the aspects Rav Levi Yitzchak Bender stated as the obligation of a friend (Words of Faith):
- Encourage your friend with soul-restoring words.
- Give good chizuk.
- Try to cheer up and uplift your friend.
- Provide encouraging words
- Seek his or her good points.
This is the authentic Torah approach for dealing with people.
(For more, please see here: www.myrtlerising.com/blog/how-to-really-love-another-person.)
And Moshe Rabbeinu was outstanding in this area.
And we should definitely follow our leader by doing this too.
As Rav Miller states on page 8-9:
Now I want people to listen to that – married couples, families, boys and girls — everybody should listen to this prayerfully because in many homes people are spending their lives doing the opposite.
And that’s a tragedy because the Jewish home is the scene where this great function of encouraging others can be carried out in the best possible way.
There’s no opportunity to be like a Moshe Rabeinu that is as prolific, as fertile in ways of fulfilling this, as the home.
And therefore the principle of encouragement should be one of the foundations of a Jewish home.
Now, how exactly the encouragement is administered, everybody must utilize his or her own judgment.
But there is one simple and an easy form, and that's compliments.
It's not enough if you don't bicker, if you don't recriminate and belittle.
Unfortunately that’s done too – it's done all the time in very many homes, and these people are complete failures.
They might be successes in other things, in other forms of avodah, but if people are belittling each other, it means they're doing the opposite of this great career, this great mission of idud, encouragement, which Hakodosh Boruch Hu requires.
Encouraging a Wife
Every man who marries must keep in mind that it's not enough that he doesn't transgress this in the negative.
It's so easy to gain Olam Habo if a man would make it a principle once in a while to give his wife a compliment.
But because he is begrudging in words so life goes by with lost opportunities, lost opportunities to be an eved Hashem.
If your wife once cooked a good meal, make it your business to be profuse, to be lavish in your praise.
Other things too — there’s a lot to praise there.
There’s nobody in the world who doesn’t have a craving for encouragement.
And why should a housewife be different?
And so, the Jewish woman who lives successfully in her house – or even not successfully, but she tries – she can be made happy even without any gifts at all.
That's what it says in Mishlei when it describes the Woman of Valor. “Her husband and her children arise and praise her enthusiastically.”
Encouraging a Husband
And a woman too, no less, must make it her business always to look for opportunities to drop a word of encouragement to her husband.
Some men when they have some setback and they need consolation they cannot go home and confide in their wives because women sometimes will utilize that to put salt upon his wounds.
But if a woman would learn her role, her role as a confidant, she would become a Moshe Rabeinu.
She has to assume the role of encourager and soothe the things away – to always tell him, “It’s not so bad; you'll forget about it soon.”
“That person didn't mean it the way you thought he meant it,” or “he is wrong and you're right and I know in the end they'll recognize your abilities.”
...a wise woman builds up her house [Mishlei/Proverbs] by encouragement and encouragement alone.
And even in those things where there has to be correction, if the husband has to be corrected
and improved, the best way to get results is to give an incentive of encouragement.
If he does something that even looks like what you want him to do, praise him for it, and you'll see that he's going to try his best to do even more.
Encouragement for Children
It’s a tremendous mitzvah, a tremendous step to greatness, if you’ll encourage your children.
Children also have burdens; they might not be your burdens but in their own eyes they have very big burdens.
And you can put your shoulder under their heavy packages and lighten their load by encouraging them with kind words.
And children who are encouraged in the home learn better.
They are more neat in their habits. They are cooperative if they are encouraged.
...most of the time a glett, a caress, on the cheek is the best option.
A kind glett and words of encouragement can do wonders.
And the children too, among themselves should be reminded to encourage each other.
Of course, usually they’ll look at you like you fell off the moon. “What encourage? We only bicker; we argue and fight.”
But say it anyhow – it goes in, it goes in.
When children are taught to encourage each other, to say compliments to each other, and the parents do it too, then the house becomes a happy place, a place of avodas Hashem.
Encouragement for Students
There are a lot of boys in the yeshivah that would benefit from kind words. So many bochurim could use it.
And so if you're a teacher, look around. Your pupils need encouragement.
There are some who are not getting along well, some are sad, some are broken because of home conditions.
Some have poverty. Some are not well. Some have difficulty keeping up with the studies.
So be a Moshe Rabeinu!
Encouragement for All Kinds of People
Encourage your chaveirim in the yeshiva.
Girls, encourage your friends in the Beis Yaakov.
Not only your friends — there are many who are getting lost; they’re struggling.
You know how much you could accomplish if you would say a few words of encouragement to ease their burden? There’s so much opportunity there.
Your rebbe too. He needs parnasah so make sure not to discourage him.
Honor him and make him feel good.
After the shiur walk over to him and say, “Rebbi, I enjoyed your shiur” – even though you didn’t. It’s a mitzvah to be mi’oded anavim, to encourage the downtrodden.
Certainly; even on the street, even on the bus, if you see somebody who is dejected and depressed and you could say a few kind words, there's no question that you have given a big donation.
There isn't a human being who cannot stand a few drops of kindness on his soul – it’s a world where everyone has some problems, some worries and troubles, and every human being appreciates some kind words.
If you put your mind to it, you can always find a few words to say, something to assuage, to soothe, to put some balm on their wounds and to encourage them.
That's the important lesson we're learning from Moshe Rabeinu’s story.
Our job in this world is to leave the comfort of our palace and see what’s doing outside by our brothers, [vayar—and he saw]; and not only to see but to think about what you can say to ease their burdens as much as possible.
And that great attitude, that’s the first step into greatness in this world and the next.
The Power of a Friendly Smile
It could be somebody was passing by dejected.
Let's say he has been trying to find a decent job for a long time.
And meanwhile the young lady with whom he was going out finally told him that it's all off.
And now he doesn't even have carfare to go to the bay – he's thinking of taking a long hike down to the bay and jumping in.
And as he passes by, here's a man. It’s you. You happen to know him and give him a friendly smile.
And now the whole world becomes illuminated with sunlight.
You have no idea what you have done.
You have given him a new hold on life.
Why Smile at Office People & Grouchy People?
Don't you know how many times – if you lived a long time, you look back how many times in your career a smile was the turning point.
You know how much courage you get from a smile?
It's really important for us to study this subject, to think about it, because it happens all the time – it's so easy to bestow this happiness on people.
You walk into your office in the morning and you have a bright smile for each person.
You don't just walk through haughtily and ignore everybody and just go to your office.
People think that you don't like them. As you walk through, smile at each person.
And there's no question you'll get a mitzvah. In your own little way, you’re like Moshe Rabeinu.
Now, don’t tell me people are too grouchy.
Look, if somebody is coming toward you with a club, naturally you're not going to encourage him, but if he's passing you with a scowl, you muster enough presence of mind to smile to him.
Like it says in Pirkei Avos hevey mekabel es kol ha’adam besimchah, greet every man with simchah.
Every man means even Mr. Sour Face.
Actually he needs it more than anyone else.
You can bestow happiness in the form of a little sunshine from your face, and that's better than a glass of milk.
People need a lift.
A lot of people are carrying around hurt in their heart and they need this.
It’s a career that will make a man successful in this world.
When You're Smiling, The Borei Olam Smiles at You
And so, if you'll cause your face to shine upon other people, Hashem will smile on you too.
You hear that? Just think about that when you want to do it.
When you turn on the sunshine and smile at somebody, you have to know that above Hakodosh Boruch Hu is going to turn the sunshine on you.
He'll smile to you too. And when He smiles, all good things come.