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"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3


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GENESIS — 1:27 image

The commentators take the statement to refer to G-d’s attributes. He gave His creatures the power to emulate His middoth; to do good and to act with kindness towards their fellow men, as Scripture has it (Psalm 134:9): “G-d is good to all …” (Psalm 136:25) “He gives food to all flesh, for His chesed endures forever.” The existence of the entire world then depends on this virtue …  AHAVCH 82

GENESIS — 3:21 clothed 

Chazal have exhorted us mostly keenly to observe this mitzvah [gemiluth chesed – acts of kindness].  They have declared Sotah 14a: “What is the meaning of Deuteronomy 13:5 ‘You shall walk after Hashem, your G-d’?  Is it possible for a human being to walk after the Shechina?  Has it not been said Deuteronomy 4:24Hashem, your G-d, is a devouring fire’? The meaning is that one should follow the Attributes of the Holy One, blessed be He.  As He clothes the naked, so you clothe the naked.   AHAVCH 199 

GENESIS — 9:23 covered

They were not obliged to show this respect; this act is not one of the seven mitzvoth of Benei Noach.  The sons acted out of chesed.  The Torah further quotes the blessing, given by Noah to these sons, which was fulfilled later on.  It is mentioned in order to show us the greatness of this virtue.  Man must deal benevolently with his fellows and exert himself to the utmost to hide the shame of his fellowmen, just as he would in protecting his own honor.  AHAVCH 22

GENESIS — 12:5 acquired

[Regarding] the poor in intelligence – the person who has no Torah education – the more fortunate person should consider ways to attract him to the Torah.  This is certainly of paramount importance.  As the Talmud puts it Baba Metzia 85a: “R. Shumel b. Nachmani said in the name of R. Yonathan: Whoever teaches his friend’s son Torah becomes worthy of sitting in the heavenly Academy.” Chazal stated further Sanhedrin 99b: “Resh Lakish said: “Whoever teaches his friend’s son Torah is regarded by Scripture as if he created him…” On the Mishnaic dictim Avot 1:12: “Love people and bring them near to Torah,” Avot deRabbi Nathan has this to day (Chap. 12): “One should bend men and lead them under the wings of the Shechinah in the way that Abraham our father used to make men bend, and then lead them under the wings of the Shechinah … as it says [this verse]: “And the souls that they had made in Haran.”” One should be aroused to the same degree of compassion for such people as of he had seen someone naked without anything to wear. Indeed how shall that unfortunate clothe his soul in the upper world, if he is so bare of Torah and Mitzvoth?  AHAVCH 222

GENESIS — 18:19 charity

We shall return to the subject of gimiluth chesed, acts of benevolence.   … Suppose two people were to approach you and offer you an opportunity to invest in real estate.   Both assured you that the value of the property would appreciate considerably in the course of time.   Both enjoyed the widest reputation as bona-fide dealers, and as most competent experts in the real estate business.   You, yourself, trust implicitly that not a single word they have told you will prove false.  An independent dealer, the foremost of all the experts in the field, in the meantime, has also praised the offer very highly.   Would you not rush post haste after this investment and close the deal, even though you would have to give a very considerable amount as a down payment?   … You would rejoice that G-d had granted you the opportunity to rise higher, to enjoy a reputation comparable to the risk.  My friend, as for pursuing after chesed with all your might, two of the world’s most renowned persons, reliable, and expert in every type of wisdom – our forefather Abraham and King Solomon – have lavishly praised this occupation.   They have disclosed that the highest pinnacle of success is achieved through such activity. Abraham, our forefather, of blessed memory, was first.  He strove with all his might to do chesed. He benefitted men spiritually, by teaching them to know Hashem, and physically, by serving them food and drink, by bringing them into his home and by treating them with respect and deference.   He even planted a tree for their comfort.   All these acts emanated from the goodness and kindness in his character.  He also enjoined his children to continue along the same lines. He assured them of success in their efforts. And in this way, all the blessings with which G-d had blessed him would be passed on to them. As for King Solomon, of blessed memory, he asserted that whoever pursued charity and chesed would find life, righteousness and honor.  (If only sporadic rather than constant preoccupation with this mitzvah is required, then the word “pursue” would be inappropriate).   Furthermore the Great Guide, the Supreme Head of all, the Holy One, blessed be He, has given His approval to this activity. He said [this verse].  From this verse the Gemara Yevamoth 79a deduces that the same results will be achieved by the person engaging in gemiluth chesed, since both charity and chesed have this in common, the doing of good to others.   What more need we say on the subject?   AHAVCH 137-8

GENESIS — 18:19 charity

Why did our forefathers earn the right to this world, to the Messianic era, and to the world to come? – because they habituated themselves to giving charity.   Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, Aaron, David and his son, Solomon, were praised only for their charity.   From where do we learn concerning Abraham? – As it is said [this verse].  AHAVCH 155

GENESIS — 20:13 say

If one is able, by word of mouth, to prevent harm befalling another, this also constitutes chesed.  An instance of this would be if, by chance, someone happened to meet a group of suspected robbers.  He believed that they intended to rob someone, since he overheard them discussing this person’s wealth.  It is his moral duty to misrepresent, to say that the intended victim is poor, even though he knows, in his heart, that this is not true ... So we find Abraham telling Sarah [this verse].  It would be even better if the person could forewarn the intended victim to guard himself against their nefarious designs.   He is certainly obliged to do so, according to the law of the Torah (end of the Chosen Mishpat).  AHAVCH 225

GENESIS — 21:33 tamarisk

Avoth de R. Nathan (Chap 7) adds that he built large mansions by the wayside and left provisions there for the sake of passersby (see Sotah 10a).   How worthy would it be for man to learn this virtue from Abraham our forefather!   Every person should arrange to have a guest rom. When his guest leaves in the morning, he will, then, naturally fulfill the mitzvah of escorting him.   The letters of the word eshel (tamarisk tree) are initials: aleph stands for achilah, eating; shin for shethiah, drinking; lamed for leviah, escorting.   Others have lamed for linah, lodging.   Chazal have stated “and if one is unable to fulfill the mitzvah of providing the guest with food and drink properly, is he therefore not to perform the mitzvah of providing lodging and escorting?” AHAVCH 197-8 (Continued at Deuteronomy 20:7 shed AHAVCH 198)

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