One of the high points of the traditional morning prayers comes right at the beginning. As the worshiper concludes putting on the tefillin, he wraps the leather strap around the middle finger three times, reciting the words of Hosea 2:19–20.
For the Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all its ruins, and He will make its desert like a paradise and its wasteland like the garden of the Lord; joy and happiness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and a voice of song. -- Isaiah 51:3
Compassion is one of the most important of character traits, yet its an attribute that comes from learning, mostly in the school of hard knocks. People who have compassion reflect the face of God, because He Himself is compassionate to all.
Rav Yisrael Salanter was a leading 19th century sage who founded the Mussar movement which was dedicated to the study and renewal of Torah teachings and halachot regarding ethical behavior and character development. One early morning, a disciple of Rav Yisrael passed through a room full of sleeping people in order to get water for the ritual washing of his hands. Rav Yisrael later rebuked him, saying: “Washing the hands when you wake up is a mitzvah instituted by our sages, but robbing others of their sleep is forbidden by the Torah!” Rav Yisrael was reminding his disciple that the Torah's prohibition, “You shall not rob” (Leviticus 19:13), includes a prohibition against “robbing” someone of his sleep.
The disciple needed to realize that his action was mistaken for two reasons: It was wrong to violate this prohibition in order to wash his hands; moreover, the mitzvah to wash one’s hands upon awakening is a rabbinic mitzvah, while robbing others of their sleep is a Torah prohibition and therefore takes priority. --taken from “Sparks of Mussar” by Rabbi Chaim Ephraim Zaitchik
Our chavurah is reading together through Luke in the Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels, and this week we came to this verse: “Therefore, be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate” (Lk 6:36), the climax to Messiah Yeshua’s instructions to love our enemies and be generous toward the undeserving.
"Give, and it will be given to you; they will return to your lap a beautiful measure pressed, crammed full and overflowing. For with the measure that you use to measure, it will be measured to you."-- Mashiach Yeshua, Luke 6:38, DHE
Hillel stated: "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah. The rest is the explanation; go and learn."
"Therefore, a man should take care to be generous according to his means, to be magnanimous where magnanimity is called for…weighing all in the scales of Torah." -- The Ways of the Tzaddikim, The Gate of Miserliness, page 323
"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar, it comes to see that
an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." — Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness." — Mother Theresa
"Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It’s the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too."
— Frederick Buechner
"The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in." — Morrie Schwartz
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." — Dalai Lama XIV
"Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it’s beauty." — Albert Einstein
Use these questions to evaluate your day: