Dear Friends,

 

One of our most important Jewish values is conveyed in the Hebrew word chesed. Literally it means “acts of kindness.” Visiting the sick, giving charity, uplifting those who are in any kind of need; all of these things are expressions of chesed.

 
Rebecca was chosen to be the wife of Isaac. According to the Torah, she runs to get water for Abraham’s weary servant, and then selflessly gives water to his camels.
 
I like the story of a young girl whose mother was cleaning out the pockets of her winter coat and found a pair of mittens in each pocket. Thinking that one pair must not be enough to keep her hands warm, the mother asked why she was carrying two pairs of mittens in her coat. The young girl answered: “I’ve been doing that for a long time. You see, some kids come to school without mittens, and if I carry another pair, I can share them and then their hands won’t get cold.”
 
In our time we have intelligence and abilities never dreamed of by previous generations. We can type thousands, if not millions of words on tiny computer chips. We can easily call anyplace in the world with our cell phones. We can see and examine our children before they are born. We can explore the other planets and the depths of the seas.
 
But with all of our knowledge and know-how, in our time perhaps more than ever before, what will count most will be the lessons that the human heart might yet learn. 
 
Chesed: Yes, it is true that the smallest kind of deed counts more than the greatest intention.  

 

Shabbat shalom,   

         Rabbi David Greenberg