Week One: Chesed
Chesed – literally lovingkindness – is the expansive force in the world. It is the light and the positive. It is love, compassion, caring, nurturing.
Love is the most powerful force in the world, and it takes many forms. Romantic love, the love of parents for children and vice verse; the love of friends. The rabbis were not shy about the power of love – that’s why Shir haShirim, the Song of Songs, is included in the Hebrew Bible. The Song of Songs is one long love poem, and it can be read both on the level of romantic love between a man and a woman, and the spiritual love between God and Israel. It’s no coincidence that we read the Song of Songs in the synagogue on Passover. Passover, “the spring holiday,” is a time of renewal. There’s a saying “love is in the air.” We start the period of the counting of the omer with this beautiful expression of love and chesed. Abraham is the one of our forefathers associated with chesed – he is famed for welcoming strangers into his tent.
Day One: Chesed of Chesed
How powerful is your love? How intense? Do you let your love really flow, or is something blocking it?
How expansive is your love? Are you able to include not just your immediate family, your “loved ones,” but others as well? Other Jews? Non-Jews? For us Israelis, does your chesed expand to include Palestinians and African refugees?