Sometimes I am overwhelmed, in the best possible way, by the acts of kindness I encounter every single day. Living in New York City, it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life and to see only the ugly that this world has to offer. I am so very thankful for the people in my life who remind me that kindness is a virtue, and that goodness does indeed exist in our world.
We read in Pirkei Avot, "On three things the world stands: on Torah, on avodah (worship/work for God) and on gimilut chasadim (deeds of loving kindness.)" Each of these three pillars of the Jewish faith could easily stand on their own, but really, they each blend into one another so easily when we talk about deeds of loving kindness. We are reminded of kindness many times in Torah, and our worship allows us time to pray to God for those around us who are in need of prayer. When we pray to God on behalf of others, even if only once in awhile, we open ourselves up our own acts of kindness.
One of the most beautiful things about my spiritual journey throughout the last year and a half has been the opening of my eyes to acts of kindness. While I'm not always quick to show it, I am genuinely thankful for the ability to recognize this kindness. In the last few months, so many people have reached out to me in the form of kind words, gifts, and/or support. To all of you, thank you so, so much--for loving me, for opening yourselves up to gimilut chasadim, and for making me a kinder person through your thoughts, words, and generosity. Whether you realize it or not, you are each an example of living, breathing Torah, and you help to carry on all three of these pillars of our Jewish faith. You also remind me, in whatever ways I am able, to extend the same kindness towards others. Your actions make ME a better person in the eyes of God and Jewish tradition.
There is no better gift you can give me than that.