Making Your Shaloch Manos Count

In his sefer, “Getting to Know Your Soul”, Rav Itamar Schwartz discusses the thirteen faculties of the soul according to Rav Hai Gaon. The 7th of these faculties is Chessed or Kindness. Chessed is the physical act, but the goal of chessed is love. Yet feeling love is not the ultimate goal. It is a means of achieving something deeper – a sense of unity between the one who loves and the beloved.

We know the pasuk teaches “The world is built on kindness”. The simple meaning is that the the world cannot survive unless people help each other, which is certainly true. On a deeper level, we know Hashem created the world in order to bestow goodness on his creations. Thus, when we say that “the world is build on kindness”, we also mean that the world was created in order for the Creator to bestow kindness. On the other hand there is a pasuk that says “On that day, Hashem will be one and His name will be one”, implying that the goal of Creation is the revelation of Hashem’s oneness. Which is the goal – kindness or oneness? In fact, one complements the other. We are taught in sefarim, that Hashem’s ultimate kindness is identical with the revelation of His oneness.

For us, if chessed is only about giving, it’s a precious quality, but not the root of them all. The real power of chessed is its power of unifying the world into one cohesive entity.

On Purim, we have two mitzvos of kindness, Matanos L’evyonim and Shaloch Manos. When we give our Shaloch Manos, we can try to think about the connection we are making, and that it is a facet of the deep connection, which is love. The more we focus on the love inherit in our giving, the more we can do our part in building the unity that will herald the day when “Hashem will be one and His name will be one”. Chag Purim Samayach!