The woman on the bus motioned for me to come sit next to her. She wore a simple black shirt and shawl. Her legs were covered with opaque tights under her flowing skirt. I had no idea how old she was. She looked like she could be any age and she also looked timeless.

She smiled brightly at me. Her smile was contagious. She couldn't contain her excitement anymore and I put down my book to listen. She held out her hand for me to see what she was holding.

"My son sent me these!" They were vouchers for the supermarket. "I just got them and I quickly got on the bus to do a shopping for Shabbat Kodesh (the Holy Sabbath)."

Vouchers for the supermarket. This woman was grinning from ear to ear because she now had what she needed to buy food to honor the Holy Sabbath.

Simplicity. Sincerity.

This woman was grinning from ear to ear I took my children to the toy store. It was my daughter's birthday and when one gets a present the other one receives one as well. I held my breath as we walked it. How I would love to buy them anything that their hearts desire; I touched the wallet inside my pocket and knew that it was nearly empty except for a few dollars. We walked past the electric toys, the fancy bicycles, the doll houses and the toys that can walk and talk. We arrived at the back of the store and I told them to pick whatever they wanted. They each grabbed a bag of 75 cent marbles and a two dollar watch. I praised them for their excellent choices. They spend hours playing with their fascinating marbles.

My children were thrilled Marbles that require no batteries and don't know how to make noise or light up. My children were thrilled with the gifts that cost their Mommy a few dollars.

Simplicity. Sincerity.

At our table was an international mixture this past Shabbat. Usually there is a common language, English or Hebrew, amongst our guests, but this time my husband and I had to wing it speaking in three languages. At one point it became a bit complicated; by trying to please everyone and make everyone understand the conversation no one was paying attention.

One of our guests, a professional cantor, got up and grabbed a book of songs. He opened his mouth and started to sing. All of a sudden there was harmony and everyone, including my two-year-old daughter who barely speaks a sentence, joined in by singing, humming, or clapping.

When there are no common words and there is lack of understanding, there is always the profound simplicity of music.

Simplicity. Sincerity.

My students ask me why I always look happy. My friends ask me the secret of the radiance that, thank G‑d, shines from my children's faces. The answer is simple. It's all about simplicity. It's all about sincerity.

It's all about simplicity The Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Chassidic movement, had a very dear disciple. One day, the man came into the Baal Shem Tov's presence intending to ask him a favor. He was taken aback by the cold reception that he received. The Baal Shem Tov was about to go on a trip and invited him to come with him, although still keeping his distance.

During the journey, in the carriage, the Baal Shem Tov suddenly broke the silence:

"Do you think that I don't know why you came to see me?"

The man began to tremble, sensing that his teacher was reading his mind.

"You came to ask me to teach you the language of the birds, didn't you?"

The disciple nodded yes. The Baal Shem Tov then began to teach him the keys to this secret science. In a very short time, the man began to understand the twittering of the birds in the forest through which they were passing. He heard everything, including great secrets and announcements about the future.

The Baal Shem Tov began to teach him the secret Suddenly, as they were approaching the end of their journey, the Baal Shem Tov passed his hand over his student's face. The man immediately forgot all that he had heard and could no longer understand the language of the birds.

The Baal Shem Tov then said to him:

"If I had thought that you needed this knowledge to serve the Almighty, I would have taught it to you a long time ago. But it is not the case; you must serve G‑d with the means that you already possess and be simple with the Almighty your G‑d."

Simplicity. Sincerity.

We live in a world where everyone thinks that if you don't have a title before or after your name then you are a "nobody." We live in a world where if you don't possess the newest cell phone, computer, or electrical device, then you are not "with it."

Well guess what, the title, the object, the money—they won't buy happiness. As the famous saying goes, when you have one then you'll want two; when you have ten you'll want twenty. I look at my finger at my most precious piece of jewelry, the simple gold wedding band that my husband gave me.

Simplicity. Sincerity.

For it is with a simple, sincere and pure heart that we can not only reach the most intense levels of closeness to one another, but to our Creator as well. To reach the highest spiritual level one must focus on the brilliance in the simplicity and sincerity of the connection. As our Torah teaches us, if you want to be with your G‑d, be tamim, sincere, with Him. (Genesis, 17:1)