do a chesed

Written by  rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

art-dokindnessThere was an older gentleman I used to to interact with fairly regularly at a Rabbi Nachman shiur I used to attend.

Anytime he would ask for a favor, big or small, he would begin by saying this: "May I ask you to do a chesed for me?" At first, the yeshivish way of asking for a favor didn't particularly strike me. As I got to know him more and think about what he was actually asking I became deeply moved. He was one of the few people I know who really only wanted people to do things for him if they saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate kindness. He used to always speak of kindness as an amazing opportunity. To be sure he did want the things he asked of people, but he also really saw it as a blessing to be given the opportunity to be kind. His face would beam any time he shared a story of a time he had been given the opportunity to "do a chesed" for someone else. What a beautiful way to live! He was in tune not only with the actions we do for one another, but the heart behind those actions.

I have rarely found someone appreciate the things I do for them begrudgingly. For a favor to truly be a "chesed" it needs to carry the attitude of loving-kindness as much as the behavior. May this be a lesson for us all to grow closer to the attitude of loving-kindness, as well as the behavior.


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