By Rabbi Nisan Andrews
(Calgary) The Jerusalem Talmud writes “G-d blessed the Jewish people with three gifts: they are merciful, modest, and they perform deeds of kindness (gomley chasadim)”. The Rabbis derive the last of this list from the first verse in Parshat Eikev: “Because you will heed these ordinances and keep them and perform, that the L-rd, your G-d, will keep for you the covenant and the kindness that He swore to your forefathers.”
The commentators ask, however, all we see from this verse is that G-d will bestow kindness onto us, how do we learn from here that we are performing kindness?
The answer some give is based on a statement from the Babylonian Talmud: G-d does to us what we do to others (bimeda she’adam modded, moddedin lo). In order for G-d to do acts of kindness with us, we must first be the kind of people to do such deeds ourselves. If G-d is kind, it must be because we are, likewise. Hence, we see the proof to the aforementioned comment.
Our relationship with G-d is a two-way street and as much depends on us as on the Almighty. At this time when we enter the high holiday season, we should take stock of our actions and deeds. Perhaps if we can find a place in our own hearts to forgive others, G-d will do the same for us.
On behalf of myself and Congregation House of Jacob-Mikveh Israel, I wish every one of you a meaningful Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and a sweet new year with success and growth in matters both physical and spiritual.
Rabbi Nisan Andrews is the spiritual leader of Congregation House of Jacob-Mikveh Israel.