Chessed is Personal

“The beauty of justice is that it belongs to a world of order constructed out of universal rules through which each of us stands equally before the law. Chessed, by contrast, is intrinsically personal. We cannot care for the sick, bring comfort to the distressed or welcome a visitor impersonally. If we do so, it merely shows that we have not understood what these activities are. Justice demands disengagement… Chessed is an act of engagement. Justice is best administered without emotion. Chessed exists only in virtue of emotion, empathy and sympathy, feeling-with and feeling-for. We act with kindness because we know what it feels like to be in need of kindness. We comfort the mourners because we known what it is to mourn. Chessed requires not detached rationality but emotional intelligence.”

To Heal A Fractured World, p. 151