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What is "chesed"?

by Rabbi Moshe Miller

  

Library » Jewish Identity » Love thy Neighbor | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Chesed simply means kindness. To do chesed means to do acts of kindness such as visiting the sick, helping the poor or the needy and so on. The Torah declares - "You shall go in His ways".1 The Rabbis interpret this as meaning: Just as the Holy One blessed be He is called "Compassionate," you should be compassionate; just as the Holy One blessed be He is called "Gracious," you should be gracious; just as the Holy One blessed be He is called "Righteous" you should be righteous...2


Just as the Holy One blessed be He is called "Compassionate," you should be compassionate; just as the Holy One blessed be He is called "Gracious," you should be gracious
Similarly, You should emulate the attributes God -- just as He clothes the naked... so should you; just as He visits the sick, so should you; just as He consoles the bereaved so should you.3


Acting in this way is listed as one of the 613 commandments of the Torah.4

Footnotes

  • 1. Deuteronomy 28:9.
  • 2. Sifrei, Ekev.
  • 3. Talmud, Tractate Sotah 14a.
  • 4. Maimonides, Sefer HaMitzvot positive commandments 8.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Love thy Neighbor
Philosophy » Character

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.