Acts of Loving Kindness

In our community we are given many opportunities to act for others. These opportunities are often referred to as Tzedakah, or more broadly, as acts of Tikun Olam. However, I would like to introduce another concept, Gimilut Chasidim- Acts of loving kindness.

How can we understand Gimilut Chasidim? Consider the following teaching from the Talmud:

Our Sages taught: Gemilut chasadim (acts of loving kindness) is greater than tzedakah in three ways: Acts of tzedakah involve only one’s money – gemilut chasadim can involve both money or one’s personal service. Tzedakah can be given only to the poor – gemilut chasadim can be done both for the rich and for the poor. Tzedakah can be given only to the living – gemilut chasadim can be done both for the living and the dead. (Talmud, Sukkot 49b) [AJWS translation]

There is a lot to unpack in this teaching, yet, for this week I would like to draw our attention to the first line: “Acts of tzedakah involve only one’s money – gemilut chasadim can involve both money or one’s personal service”.

In our society we are often called upon to act for others through the giving of money (Tzedakah). None the less, this teaching comes to stress that we should also find ways to give through the donation of our time and action (Gemilut Chasidim). At the end of this month, as a part of the larger Cheshire community, we will have an opportunity to engage in a true act of Gimilut Chasidim with Foodstock. The food pantry is low on food and has asked us to help stock their shelves.

With that in mind, on June 29th from 5pm-7pm we, along with our Christian houses of worship, will be collecting food for the Cheshire Food Pantry on the town Green in front of the Community Church. We will also be having live music, a bounce house, and an Ice cream truck.

Please see how you can engage in this summer's act of loving kindness.