I was discussing this concept with a friend the other day, after reading an interesting chapter in the book “Nefesh Chaya” based on the teachings of Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus. In the book Rav says that women, like the moon, reflect that which they see and that women don’t just become affected by what they see, they actually become what they see.
This might seem extreme, but then stop and think. Have you ever walked away from Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and suddenly felt more classy and elegant like Holly Golightly? Or watched Pretty Woman and wished you had Vivian’s massive curly hair? Or possibly you stumbled upon 10 Things I Hate About You and felt like Kat, just minutes away from joining an all-girls rock band. Let’s be honest, the things we see do make us feel different. I’m not blaming us, this was how we were created, as reflectors like the moon. But what my friend and I wondered is, what is the impetus behind this crazy Mirror Mirror system?
It comes down to this: G-d created all of us with a piece of divine essence inside; a piece of Himself. G-d, in all His glory, is perfect. He personifies perfection. Our tasks, each one of us, is to reach this lofty level, to perfect ourselves. This is the job we are entrusted with. Therefore, inside us we are all feeling a pull, a tug, toward absolute perfection. So it only makes sense then, that this is our drive, this is our impetus behind our actions. We are constantly and always striving for perfection.
But how have we today, as women in modern society, been trying to perfect? Perhaps at times, it’s been by buying the new mascara CoverGirl is advertising, while other times it might be updating our bedrooms to match the one in the Pottery Barn ad. Or at other times it’s even just starting to speak a little bit more like our friend with that fabulous habit of using the word fabulous. Whatever it is, we are constantly hitting the “update” button on ourselves, retouching the top layer. Which is fine…and healthy, because we should always be growing and changing. And perhaps sometimes we don’t even notice we’re doing it, like when we emulate our favorite tv show character or that new friend we’re always with. However, while we are retouching the outside, are we neglecting that which is in? While we revamp the top layer, do we also work on the inside layer?
Hashem made us with a drive to perfect ourselves, so it’s natural like anything else, that that drive be focused in a different direction than intended sometimes. Like when someone misplaces their anger on their spouse instead of the client at work or their child instead of their messy dog. However, Hashem gave us this drive to perfection for a reason, and while we perfect every other aspect of our beings, we must also remember to hone in on perfecting our insides as well.
Since we, like the moon, reflect, we should surround ourselves with friends who have sparkling middot (character traits) who are always treating others respectfully, and we should read books about remarkable people like Rebbetzin Kanievsky and Rebbetzin Chaya Sara Kramer who spent their days doing acts of kindness. We should find mentors, people who give their time and energy to helping others while at the same time build their own special families, to connect to. This way, when we reflect what we see, when we hit the update button, we won’t just refurbish the outside, we’ll update the inside too. And since we’re so good at reflecting what we see, we’ll reflect the things we truly want to reflect, not just that which happened to be in front of us.
So ladies, may you merit to reflect enormous light onto this world, as does our mother, the moon.
(special thanks to Amanda for helping me develop the idea for this post!)