Non-Kosher kindness

April 13, 2018 by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
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When presenting the laws of Kashrut, the Torah (in this week’s Torah portion – Shemini) lists all the Non-Kosher birds.

Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

One of these birds is called “Chasida”, from the word Chesed – kindness. Indeed, the reason this bird is referred to by this name is because “she is kind to her friends” (Talmud). It seems strange then, that the Chasida is not Kosher. Shouldn’t her kind personality make her qualified?

The answer emerges from examining this description carefully. This is a bird that is kind to its friends, and that is the problem. Exclusive kindness is not kosher. When we are kind only to those whom we like we are being selfish rather than selfless. We are serving our interests rather than that of others.

Real kindness is an opportunity to go beyond ourselves, not to remain trapped in our own interests and personalities. To be truly kind and compassionate means to help or support someone because they are a creation of G-d, created in His image, not because I like them.

Wishing you a good Shabbos

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