At some point or another, we are all guilty of the following: We try using fancy, smart-sounding verbiage (sorry, language!) instead of using simple language. If you have ever written anything on a computer – say, a book report, an essay, an email, and so on – odds are you have done what many people do. You look around, make sure no one is watching, and then you hover your mouse over a few select words – until the “synonyms” box appears – and then you secretly change the previously used simple sounding words to some fancy words that you are honestly not sure makes sense in context, but you are sure will impress your audience.

Here is a good example. The lyrics for the popular nursery rhyme “Three Blind Mice” go like this:

Three blind mice, three blind mice.

See how they run, see how they run.

They all ran after the farmer’s wife,

Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,

Did you ever see such a thing in your life, as three blind mice?

But did you know, there is another version of this exact song that goes like this:

A trio of sightless rodents, a trio of sightless rodents.

Observe their method of locomotion.

They all pursue the agricultural spouse,

Who severs their appendages with a cutting utensil,

Did you ever observe such a spectacle in your existence, as a trio of sightless rodents?

It sounds smart and highly intellectual, doesn’t it? But does it really impress you? In a fascinating article on Fast Company called “The Secret to Sounding Smart? Using Simple Language,” research reveals that using big words can actually make you appear less capable (of course, there are times when bigger words should be used). You are better off sticking with the simple sounding language, over the seemingly intellectual.

I was thinking about this idea in the context of our daily lives and what really struck me was the largeness and expansiveness of that which is simple and “seemingly” mundane. We often think we must do the “big” stuff to be recognized accordingly, when in fact, it is the simple, the basic, and everyday things that we do that usually make the biggest impact in our lives.

Parshas Tzav (6:6) discusses the commandment of אֵ֗שׁ תָּמִ֛יד תּוּקַ֥ד עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּ֖חַ לֹ֥א תִכְבֶֽה – A continuous fire should burn upon the Altar; it must not go out. Every day, the fire on the Altar needed to be kindled. There’s something so special about the everyday, about the תמיד. Simple consistent flames. That is, the life of a Jew. Of course, the big events and holidays are sprinkled in and are important. But there is a focus on the simple continuous flame of everyday. Fanfare, extravagance, and great elaboration may look nice. But realistically speaking, having a continuous fire – living with a consistent simple flame – will make the greatest impact and garner even more respect.