In his sefer “Getting to Know Your Soul”, Rav Itamar Shwartz, the author of the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh teaches us some important lessons about Chessed:
“Love has three layers in the soul. The outermost layer is chessed (kindness), the middle layer is ahavah (love), and the innermost layer is echad (unity)…The real significance of chessed is its power of unifying the world into one cohesive unit…An act of giving is not chessed unless there is some love in it, either an expression of existing love, or the intent to foster love.”
Rav Shwartz also points out that every act has both lishma (pure) and lo lishma (alterior) motives. We should focus on the lishma components of our acts to strengthen that component. I think we can add that we should also focus on the lishma components of the acts of others. If we do this, accompanied by a feeling or showing of gratitude, we can build love and create deeper unity between ourselves and our fellow Jews.
I send out the davening times for my daily minyan every two months. It takes about 5 minutes and I usually don’t get a response from any of the recipients, nor do I expect one. However this week, as I was marinating this post in my head, I received a thank you from someone in the minyan. It was nice and I felt the love. I also took it as a sign that the message in this post is on target.
Have a Happy Gratitude Day!