The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 12 May 2007 / 24 Iyyar 5767

The Panorama of Chessed

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
One of the characteristics of the Jewish People, say our Talmudic Sages, is that they are gomlei chassadim — doers of kindness to others.

This is true of all Jews, but especially among Torah-observant Jews who not only generously respond with time and money to the needs of others, but go to great lengths to innovate gamachim (an acronym for the abbreviation of the Hebrew words for kindness activity).

Just open up a Jewish telephone directory for a Torah-observant community and you will find no less than 86 pages of listings of gamachim — beginning with meals for Shabbat and ending with medical supplies. In between are organizations that provide second-hand clothing for needy families, help with celebrations and mourning periods, and even help parents locate lost tots.

The dozens of varieties of gamachim and the hundreds of organizations involved present a fascinating panorama of chessed of which all Jews can be proud.

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