This week’s Haftarah comes from the book of Hosea. This section is about the agreement between God and Israel. God says that if we follow Him, then He will give us goodness, mercy, righteousness and justice, which are part of three very important concepts in Judaism. Goodness, or chesed, is about people helping others. Mercy, or rahamim, is forgiveness towards others even if what they did was hurtful. And finally righteousness and justice, or tzedek and mishpat, are acting fairly towards others. These values are just as important for our society today as they were when God promised them.
Among these concepts, the one I want to speak about is chesed, because it motivates us to be helpful. The Talmud explains that chesed can be done by anyone. Rashi, a medieval commentator, explains that chesed creates an understanding between two people because it helps both people to feel good. This is, in fact, how I felt about my mitzvah project, helping with the “Cool Kids Campaign.” This amazing program provides events, programs and support for children with cancer and their families. This is an organization I have been working with for many years to help with their fundraisers, gathering toy donations and assembling care packages. When I work with this population, I feel grateful that I have helped to make a positive impact on the lives of cancer patients and their families. Acting with chesed in the world today reminds us of Hosea’s teaching that showing kindness is to act in a loyal, loving way toward another person. It is reflected in the true kindness found in human relationships and the kindness God shows us.
Hannah Kean is a seventh-grade student at Krieger Schechter Day School.