June 10, 2024

Acts of Loving-Kindness and the Value of Chesed

Two Jewish Men Hugging Each Other

Acts of loving-kindness, or “Chesed” in Hebrew, hold a special place in Jewish tradition. Chesed goes beyond mere charitable giving; it embodies the essence of compassion, empathy, and selflessness. 

Explore the profound meaning of Chesed, the difference between Chesed and Tzedakah (charitable giving), and how you can incorporate these values into your life. Discover the impactful work of Colel Chabad in supporting Israeli families and charities, and the beauty of Chesed and its significance in helping Israel thrive.

What Does Chesed Mean in Hebrew?

Chesed, often translated as “loving-kindness” or “mercy,” is a core value in Judaism. It represents acts of goodwill, compassion, and generosity towards others, especially those in need. Chesed emphasizes going beyond what is required, performing acts of kindness willingly and wholeheartedly. It’s a way of embodying the values of empathy and selflessness, which are central to Jewish tradition.

The Torah mentions the concept of Chesed over 190 times. It is considered one of the primary ethical virtues in Judaism, along with justice and righteousness. In fact, many Jewish thinkers believe Chesed is the very foundation for all other mitzvot (commandments) and the key to creating a harmonious society.

What are the Differences Between Chesed and Tzedakah?

While both Chesed and Tzedakah are mitzvahs and involve acts of giving, they have distinct differences. Tzedakah primarily refers to charitable giving and consists of the obligation to share one’s wealth with those less fortunate. 

On the other hand, Chesed represents a deeper form of kindness that extends beyond monetary donations. It encompasses acts of love, compassion, and support beyond financial means. Chesed is about being there for someone emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It’s about lending a helping hand, listening, and showing empathy.

3 Ways to Practice Chesed

If you are eager to incorporate the value of Chesed into your life, here are three ways to get started:

1. Acts of Loving-Kindness

    Start by performing daily acts of loving-kindness, such as helping a neighbor, visiting the sick, or providing emotional support to a friend in need. These small acts can have a significant impact. The conflict overseas has sparked action for many Jews trying to find the best charities to support Israel to assist those in dire need.

    2. Tzedakah and Charity

      Embrace the practice of Tzedakah inspired by Rabbi Meir Baal Haness by giving to those in need. The best way to donate to Jewish charities is either online or through traditional means like a Pushka (charity box). Although Chesed goes beyond monetary giving, Tzedakah is still essential to practicing Chesed.

      3. Volunteer Your Time

        Donating your time  to charitable programs, non-profit organizations, or Jewish charities in Israel can be a powerful way to practice Chesed. You can volunteer in Colel Chabad’s various programs, like our soup kitchens or Gett Chesed (see below), to make an incredible difference.

        How Colel Chabad Embodies Chesed

        Colel Chabad is a renowned organization dedicated to supporting Israeli families and charities. 

        We offer a range of programs that embody the values of Chesed and Tzedakah:

        • Nutrition Security: No Israeli family should go to bed hungry, which is why we provide food assistance to thousands of families in need.
        • Medical Services: Colel Chabad offers medical services to those who cannot afford healthcare, ensuring everyone can access vital medical treatments.
        • Widows and Orphans: We support thousands of widows and orphans, helping them move forward with the resources they need.
        • Childcare: Our childcare programs support working parents and give children a safe and nurturing environment.
        • Special Services: These programs offer various special services to individuals and families, including financial aid and counseling.

        Colel Chabad: A Mission of Charity and Service

        Throughout our history as the oldest continually operating charity in Israel, Colel Chabad has been providing essential support and promoting the values of Chesed and Tzedakah since 1788. We foster unity among all Jewish communities in Israel, regardless of religious or cultural differences.

        Through its various programs and services, Colel Chabad strives to positively impact the lives of those in need, embodying the true spirit of Chesed and Tzedakah. 

        Our reputation as one of the most efficient Israeli charities means a high percentage of every dollar donated goes directly towards helping those in need. This is thanks to our commitment to low administrative costs and leveraging a dedicated group of volunteers who selflessly commit their time and resources to our cause.

        Colel Chabad’s mission goes beyond just providing material assistance. We also focus on promoting self-sufficiency and empowering individuals and families to break out of the cycle of poverty. 

        Through education, job training, and other initiatives, we strive to give those in need the tools they need to build a better future for themselves and their families.

        We are proud to partner with the Israeli government to help communities find the best charities to support Israel during these hard times.

        Donate to Colel Chabad and Support Gett Chesed

        In the spirit of both Chesed and Tzedakah, we invite you to make a difference in the lives of Israeli families through sponsored Israeli charities, since they need your help now more than ever. By supporting organizations like Colel Chabad, you can be part of a tradition that extends a helping hand to those in need. 

        Your contributions, whether through donations or volunteering, strengthen the bonds of compassion within the Jewish community and beyond. Act now and donate to support Israel and its people.



        Yizkor Donation

        בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁבְּלִי נֶדֶר אֶתֵּן צְדָקָה