Kenneth Cohen

The Power of Chessed

In Parshat Vayechi, we find Yakov Avinu making a request of Yosef. He asks him to do with him חסד ואמת, kindness and truth, by promising to bury him in Eretz Yisrael.

It is from here that we learn, that caring for the dead, is a true act of Chesed. This is a selfless act, as the deceased are no longer around to give thanks. It is motivated by a true desire to do the Mitzva, for its own sake.

The Jewish people stand out for this quality of giving and generosity. The Talmud in Masechet Shabbat points out that Jerusalem will only be redeemed by צדקה, acts of kindness. This is based on the words of the prophet who said, ציון במשפט תפדה ושביה בצדקה, that Zion will be redeemed with justice, and its returnees with Tzedaka.

An extremely encouraging sign of the current war, and a proof that a resounding victory is on its way, is the tremendous giving that we have been witnessing.
It is nothing less than astounding to see how collectively we have come together as a people. The endless preparation of food and supplies to our soldiers by volunteers, is amazing.

Jews have come together to help with picking the crops that have ripened. Generous donations have flooded in to help those uprooted from their homes. It gives us great pride that we are Jews.

This is a very real חסד של אמת that we have seen. In this case, it does not apply only to kindness to the dead, but it represents the selfless giving that is resurrecting us, as a nation.

We are witnessing before our eyes, the redemption of Zion, and the returnees redeemed with charity.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at
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