This week in Yetzirah the Nitzanimers focused on words to describe a feeling or mood and how we might interpret someone’s facial expression to conclude how they are feeling.
First, our Nitzanimer panel generated synonyms for “Happy/Sameach” and “Sad/Atzuv” and I listed them on large paper. When someone ran out of ideas, another Nitzanimer would remind them of an experience they had (witnessing their little sister having a fit over going to bed, for example) and ask “How did you feel?”… “Frustrated… because I felt like she was only thinking about herself… Selfish…”
Then, the Nitzanimers applied this vocabulary. On a table laid 5 magazine clippings of people’s faces. They were asked to study each face for a minute or so and write down one/two words to describe how they thought the person in the clipping felt. Then place their “guess” (there was no right answer, and no definite answer) in an envelope.
Later, Rabbi Rebecca opened the envelopes and the children tallied their “guesses”. The tallies revealed a difference of opinion in how each Nitzanimer interpreted a particular facial expression. Undoubtably, we will continue this discussion of how to interpret a person’s mood, and how to react to it in a friendly way.