middot gratitude meditation showering chesed

showering chesed

Written by  rebbetzin malkah

art-raindropsThe Hebrew word for loving-kindness is chesed.   

Loving-kindness can be displayed by taking time for another, helping out someone in need, holding a door, going the extra mile for friend or foe (or even someone you don't even know), to doing what is required of you on a daily basis.  There are so many ways we can be givers of benevolence, sustainers of one another in love. 

Shimon the Righteous was one of the last survivors of the Great Assembly. He used to say:

"On three things the world is sustained: on the Torah, on the (Temple) service, and on deeds of loving-kindness." -- Avot 1:2

In order to sustain the world, we must seek out those moments to perform loving-kindness.  By having an awareness of the chesed which is shown daily by our Creator and by those around us, we are more able to reciprocate this kindness.  It is important, however, to understand proper kindness.  By this we don't mean syrupy, unconditional kindness but rather healthy benevolence that contributes to sustaining others and not enabling them in unhealthy ways.

If we are to emulate Hashem and Mashiach Yeshua, we are to do the following:

"If you love those who love you, what kindness do you have?  For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what kindness do you have?  Even sinners do so.  If you lend to people from you whom you hope to receive something, what kindness do you have?  Even sinners lend to sinners so that the loan may be returned to them.  But love your enemies.  Do good and lend, and do not anticipate being repaid.  Then your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Highest, because he is good to those who are ungrateful and evil.  Therefore, be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate."  -- Mashiach Yeshua, Lukas 6:32-35, DHE

Practice this simple meditation to heighten your ability to do chesed by focusing on your desire for the well-being of all creatures

(Note:  For more information on meditative techniques, see the source Jewish Meditation by Aryeh Kaplan.)

Find a comfortable seat in a quiet place.  First, take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing brings oxygen to your brain and helps clear the mind. Close your eyes. Continue breathing until you feel relaxed and feel little or no distractions.  Let the noises around you, no matter how small, filter out.

As you slowly continue breathing, either recite in your mind or out loud:


May all breathing beings be safe, healthy and happy...

Keep your focus on this phrase as you contemplate firstly those with whom you are close. 

Then, let your mind drift to people you know, but with whom you are not close or perhaps do not even know. 

Then, allow yourself to confront in your mind people with whom you are at odds, no matter where they are in the world. 

As you go through these groupings, try and recite this phrase until you feel the same level of chesed for those with whom you are at odds, those you do not know or with whom you are not close, and those with whom you are close. 

The goal is to create the same level of feelings for the well-being of all, as Hashem bestows chesed upon each one of us.  Practice this meditation often so you can start to increase your levels of chesed towards others more freely.

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