“Acts of kindness never die. They linger in the memory, giving life to other acts in return.”
“The best way of breaking down barriers between people or communities is through simple, unforced acts of kindness. One act can undo years of estrangement.”
“Faiths, as we know, unite and divide. They unite by dividing: by identifying an ‘us’ as opposed to ‘them’. Hence both the good and harm they do come hand-in-hand. We are the children of the light; they are the children of the darkness. That generates light but also darkness. There is only one non-utopian way of creating the good without the harm, and that is to create programmes of what in Hebrew is called chessed, in Latin caritas, or in English, loving kindness, across boundaries. We must love strangers as well as neighbours, in the simple sense of love-as-deed, practical help. That imperative flows from the covenant of human solidarity, and in a national context, from the covenant of citizenship. ”
“What is chessed? It is usually translated as ‘kindness’ but is also means ‘love’ – not love as emotion or passion, but love expressed as deed. ”
“Where tzedakah is a gift or loan of money, hessed is the gift of the person.”
“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. Hessed, 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… Hessed is an act of engagement. Justice is best administered without emotion. Hessed 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. Hessed requires not detached rationality but emotional intelligence. ”