After seven years of living in Israel without one…we finally bought a car! No more shlepping a stroller and two kids to the grocery store. No more changing buses and traveling for an hour to get to work. Finally, a car.

And it is amazing we were able to get one as we didn't have the money for it and knew nothing about where to look or what to buy. But amazingly friends and the bank loaned us money and somehow, someway, my husband left one day in the morning and came back a few hours later with a car.

All I could hear was badAnd then my friend called: "What's going on with the car?"

"We bought one! Salomon (my husband) is bringing it home now."

"What kind?"

"I'm not really sure."

"Did you get it checked out first?"

"Um, I don't think so, I'm not really sure, he told me that he just bought it. "

"How could you by a car without checking it out first? "

All I could hear was bad. I wanted to cry. My cell phone rang, it was my husband telling me to come down to see our new car. I hung up the other phone with the "friend" and all I could think about was, "How could he have done this? How could he have bought the car without me? Without checking it out first, etc. etc. etc."

My children and I went down to see the car. They were jumping up and down with excitement. For them, a car is like a trip to Disneyland. I saw the car, but I didn't see the car. All I saw were the dents and the scratches. "This is the car?" I growled at him. My husband's face fell.

"Come let's go for a ride."

We drove around our neighborhood. My children singing and clapping, myself sulking. Then all of a sudden by the grace of G‑d I snapped out of it. "Elana, you have a car! Your husband tries so hard to please you. Be appreciative, be happy!" I apologized to my husband and started to notice that the car was comfortable and it worked, we were driving!

When we came back home I promised myself to never allow a person to damper my happiness or to influence me in such a way that it would lower my opinion of my husband or family ever again. I also learned an incredible lesson about the importance of giving someone a compliment and of either only saying good things or of keeping my mouth shut and not saying anything at all. Once a deed is done, it's done. Once the item is bought, compliment it.

Once a deed is done, it's done. Once the item is bought, compliment itIn the Talmud the Sages discuss whether or not a person can lie at a wedding and tell the groom that his wife is beautiful, even if he (the person) thinks that she is ugly. The Sages conclude that not only is it permissible, but one should tell the groom his wife is beautiful because it's not a lie, since to the groom she surely is beautiful. Additionally it is praiseworthy to elevate her in his eyes.

One of my teachers pointed out to me that the Menorah is in the same shape as a smile on a person's face. When you walk the streets of Jerusalem during Channukah, you not only see menorahs alit, burning bright from every window, but you see them on the street in front of homes and apartment buildings.

I'll never forget the gigantic menorah of my youth in the middle of Union Square, SF. The Chabad rabbi used a crane in order to be able to reach it to light it with his big blow torch. In Chanukah, the bigger the Menorah, the better. The more people can see it the better. Why? Because part of the mitzvah of lighting the Menorah is to publicize the miracle that occurred thousands of years ago involving a small flask of oil and the Holy Temple's Menorah.

When the few Jews returned from winning the battle against the mighty Greeks the came back a find the Temple in ruins. They started to clean up and wanted to rededicate it and light the Menorah. They found only a small flask of the pure olive oil. They decided to light the Menorah even though it wouldn't be enough to last for the eight days that was needed to make more oil. A miracle happened and the oil burned and lasted for the entire eight days.

When I see the menorah burning so brightly, telling me that yes, "miracles" really do happen, that yes even in the darkness, there are always sparks of light I can't help but smile. The light of the menorah is beautiful and its shape reminds me, "Elana, smile!!!! Even if you don't feel like it on the inside, smile on the outside. Publicize your smile and by doing this you will shine light and make people happy." You don't like your friend's new dress? You don't have to express your opinion about it, smile, compliment her on her shoes instead. You think the drawing that your child brought home is a scribble and he thinks it's a masterpiece. Smile. Don't ruin it for him, compliment him on his effort. Your husband made you a surprise dinner that tastes burnt. Smile. Appreciate his thoughtfulness, it will actually make the food taste better. Whatever you do, don't forget to smile!