My grandmother told me “it doesn’t cost anything to be kind.” Kindness is one of those beautiful gifts of the human heart. Kindness is flexible, it is forgiving, and it is spacious.
In this week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, we are reminded of these lessons of kindness. Having just left Egypt, we too are reminded of the spaciousness in kindness. In Ex. 23:9, “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.”
We must always remember the narrow place we came from so we can help ourselves and others find the width of compassion. During this pandemic, certainly we as a community have extended our hand to those in need. The Hebrew word for “kindness” is Chesed.
Chesed is truly love and loving kindness. Over the next few months, we will be celebrating how we as a community have performed the mitzvah of Chesed- acts of lovingkindness. This year our Spring Celebration is not honoring only one person, it is honoring all of us. We are calling it, “Celebrating the Strength of Our Community.” The events will take place in March and April, culminating in a wonderful virtual concert on Saturday, April 24.
Even when we start to lose patience within this pandemic waiting for an appointment to get a vaccine, praying for those in need of healing from Covid-19, and hoping for a time when we can gather and embrace, we must remember the tangibility of single acts of kindness and the strength they provide. May we keep that kindness in our hearts and be blessed with “Chesed” as well.