27 Kislev 5782 / Wednesday, December 01, 2021 | Torah Reading: Mikeitz
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Miri's Hat    

Miri's Hat

For the first time in her adult life, Miri posed in front of the mirror as light sparkled in her eyes and the mischievous smile that she had in her youth…


Miri Sheldon lived with her mother in a small apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York City.  Miri was not young, nor old, not tall nor short. She was not fat nor thin.  She was not particularly pretty nor ugly, she was not smart but not unintelligent either.  Miri Sheldon was an average girl who worked as a junior clerk in a large company, and her life was gray, mundane and boring. No one at work ever really noticed Miri, and one secretary even thought she was a bit dull.


One morning on her way to work, Miri noticed that a new hat shop had just opened on her street. A spark of curiosity and mischief reminiscent of days long gone awakened within her as she found herself walking into the store.   When she entered the store Miri noticed a little girl accompanied by her mother, another shopper, and a multitude of shelves filled with hats.  Miri sheepishly tried on a number of hats when she suddenly caught sight of a charming hat on the top shelf.  She reached for the hat on put it on her head…. It suited her nicely.  She reveled in her own reflection as she stared into the store’s mirror.  First to notice Miri was the little girl who tugged at her mother’s sleeve saying, “Mommy, Mommy, look how beautiful this woman looks in that hat.”  The mother looked over at Miri and said, “Ma’am, that hat really suits you.”  Even the lone shopper noticed Miri saying “I think you look very pretty in that hat.”


“Could it be?” . . . thought Miri to herself.  For the first time in her adult life, Miri Sheldon posed in front of the mirror as light sparkled in her eyes and the mischievous smile that she had in her youth crossed her lips.  She slowly made her way to the counter, paid for the hat and stepped out into the busy street. Once outside, Miri discovered a brand new world.  I never noticed these beautiful flowers along-side the city street before, she thought to herself as a cool breeze hit her nostrils.  The noisy cars and bustling people now sounded like a pleasant harmony to her ears.  She even found herself skipping slightly as she headed to work with a melodious sing-song in the heart.


When Miri arrived at her office building, the doorman opened the door for her and wished her a good morning, he never seemed to have noticed her before. The people in the elevator asked her what floor she needed and pressed the button for her.  Even in her office, it seemed as though co-workers noticed her for the first time.  They noticed how the light glistened in her eyes and complimented her pretty smile.  During her lunch break, the Manager approached Miri and asked her how she was doing and wanted to let her know that she is always welcome to share her feelings about her work load and assignments.


By the end of this most intriguing day, Miri decided to walk home instead of taking a taxi in order to enjoy the city lights and store fronts.  It seemed that every person stopped to say hello.  As she slowly made her way home Miri thought of her magical hat and how it had wonderfully and almost instantaneously changed her life.  When she finally reached her apartment building, Miri cheerily climbed up the stairs and rang the bell.  Her mother opened the door and gasped in surprise, “Miriam! You look beautiful, your eyes are shining.  They remind me of the way they used to sparkle when you were a little girl.”


“Thanks mom, it’s really all thanks to this wonderful hat,” said Miri as took off her jacket. 


“What hat?” asked her mother.


“What? What do you mean?” asked Miri as she put her hands on her head in horror to discover her worst fear.  The hat! The hat that changed her life – was… gone!  Miri collapsed onto the sofa and began to panic trying hard to recall the events of her day step by step. She had to remember where she had lost her special hat.  She did not recall taking it off as she walked home after work, nor did she lose it during her lunch break.  Perhaps she took it off in the elevator on her way up to the office?  No, she did not lose it there either.  Her thoughts took her back to the store, to the moment that she noticed the charming hat, putting it on looking at herself in the mirror and smiling.  She thought of the little girl’s compliment, and remembered walking over to the counter and paying… and then she remembered with painful clarity, how she was handed back her credit card and how she cheerily left the store with the hat … left behind. 


Miri!  Oh, Miri!  If you only knew how beautiful you really are.  How sweet and kind and smart.  All you needed was a little self-confidence.  A little smile and lots of compliments.  Want to bring out the best in others?  Shower them with compliments.  And always remember your good points, how special you really are too.


There is an old Yiddish adage “Think good and it will be good”.  Our thoughts create our reality.  If we think positive our lives will be positive.

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