Design & Smile – Ki Tisa
Dolls in orange marinade
I remember back in third grade when we were supposed to deliver mishloach manot to a classmate whom we chose by lottery. I really didn’t care who I picked, because I simply enjoyed the fun of calling upon all my creative talents to fashion a magnificent mishloach manot! And indeed, my mishloach manot was definitely memorable—a marshmallow swan floating in a lake of blue food coloring that I spent days happily planning and crafting to perfection. Simultaneously, I couldn’t wait to receive my own mishloach manot from a friend. I delivered my creation with all pomp and circumstance, waiting for the exciting moment when a knock on the door would herald something special for me. To my chagrin, the girl who approached handed me a plain white disposable plate with a peeled orange sitting atop a sprinkling of yellow bamba… I was sure there was some mistake! This had to be a joke. The teacher had gotten mixed up, or else the girl would surprise me suddenly with a cream cupcake in the shape of a doll! Sadly, there was nothing else on the agenda for me that Purim. Through my disappointment, all I could see was that my classmate had at least extended the minor effort it took to peel the orange!
Superman & Spiderman
One of the central features of Purim is ‘V’nahafoch hu!’ which literally translates as, ‘It turned upside down!’ This is an expression of acknowledging that events and elements in life can change instantaneously, as written in the Megillah: “And it was turned to the contrary that the Jews ruled over those who hated them.” I’m quite convinced that the Jews in Shushan didn’t dress up as superheroes when fighting their enemies that year, but the dramatic miracle of the times inspired the custom of dressing up on Purim and turning into someone—or something—else…
If it’s funny, go ahead and laugh!
When we change habits, alter our perspectives, step out of the box, expand the borders of familiarity or turn around completely, we introduce an element of surprise into life! The more we do it, the greater the surprise, creativity and excitement. And when we do a good job, it brings smiles and laughter to the world and those around us! So my goal in this week’s post is to make you grin! If you’re one of those who like being different, funny or out-of-the-box, you can express that in your house, store or business environment.
In fact, a light, humorous design can be a huge business advantage, because customers are attracted to places that evoke smiles and happy feelings. They may be inclined to enter because they see it as a place where they’ll receive something atypical, something with special taste and unique flavor.
Service-providing offices should broadcast the message to clients that, “Here, service comes with a smile! Here, we think and care about our client/customer in a unique way.”
Particularly in recreational and vacation settings, a design laced with humor or comedy can be a major draw because vacation is the time when people long to escape reality and convention, to let loose, enjoy, smile and laugh.
The designs that amuse me most are when furniture is used in an unconventional or unexpected manner. A piece of furniture from one realm surprisingly stuck into another elicits grins and good feelings!
Who broke the Luchot?
There’s a famous joke about a Hebrew school director who strode pompously into a classroom and spontaneously decided to test the students’ knowledge. “Who broke the Luchot (Tablets)?” he asked sternly. “Not me!” said one kid. “Not me!” said another. “Really now! Is there no one in this classroom who can tell me who broke the Luchot?!” the director cried in appall. “It’s alright, sir,” replied the teacher. “We’ll find out, and whoever did it will pay for it!”… In this week’s portion, Parshat Ki Tisa, which is read the day after Shushan Purim, Moshe Rabbeinu descends from Mount Sinai with the stone Tablets in his hands. “…And Moshe descended from the mountain, with the two Tablets of Testimony were in his hands… Tablets written on both sides…The writing of G-d engraved on the Tablets” (Shmot 32:15-16). Upon witnessing Bnei Yisrael worshipping the Golden Calf, Moshe shatters the Tablets upon the nation, and the Torah is not taught to the people until his second descent from Mount Sinai with the new Tablets. This episode teaches the awesome lesson that words taught and engraved in stone possess a far greater and eternal strength than words that are merely uttered aloud and liable to change or be forgotten.
The handwriting on the wall
Any text introduced into home design, whether engraved on the wall or depicted on a picture or sign, stirs inspiration and provokes thought. When the text is spiced with humor and laughter, it contributes to a happy, lighthearted environment.
To laugh or smile? That is the question.
There’s no end to funny phrases or mottos that can be printed on kitchen towels, tiles, mugs, magnets and more! “Hapolania” does that best. with phrases like: “How do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t tasted it yet?” / “This is not a restaurant!” / “Why do I need a gift? Don’t you have something else to do with your money?” / “Yours tears don’t impress me.” / “One day, you’ll thank me, but by then it’ll be too late.” And lots of others… Best of all is the one I’ve seen printed on a pillowcase. “I’ll have loads of time to sleep in the grave.”
All it takes is a pinch of fun, a sprinkling of surprise, a tablespoon of smiles and a heaping cup of laughter to turn your house into a HAPPY HOME!
And with that, I’ll sign off with my best wishes for A Freilechen Purim!
Happy Purim and Happy Always!