Midot Hayom: Day 4: Netzach in Chesed
Job made four entrances to his house so that the poor would not have to trouble themselves to walk all around the house [in order to enter] . . . When [two poor people] met, one would say to the other, “from where are you coming?” “ From the house of
Job” [the first would reply]. “And to where are you going?” “To the house of Job” [the second would reply]. Nevertheless, the Holy One, Blessed is He, said to Job, “You have not reached half the degree of Abraham. You sit in your house and the guests come to you. To whomever is accustomed to eating wheat bread you feed wheat bread; to whomever is accustomed to eating meat you feed meat; to whoever is accustomed to drinking wine you give wine. But Abraham did not do so. He went out into the world, and when he found guests he would bring them into his house; to whoever was not accustomed to eating wheat bread he fed wheat bread . . .” (Avot D’Rabbi Nattan 7:1).
We have already seen that Job’s Chesed was expansive. However, this Midrash implies that there were limitations. The two people who met were already on their way to Job’s home. Abraham’s Chesed, on the other hand, had the quality of being eternal. It was infinite, because he did not wait until people came to him. Abraham went out into the world, constantly expanding his Chesed.
He was not satisfied even after he found new opportunities for Chesed, the ones for which he searched. Abraham added the element of the eternal, expanding one’s reach, part and parcel of the Chesed by offering people food that was higher quality than that to which they were accustomed. Every aspect of Abraham’s Chesed was reaching for more, as if to say, “I can always reach higher, and so can you.”
Do not wait for an opportunity to do Chesed. Look for the opportunities.
Evaluate how you generally do Chesed, whether it is by contributing money or work, whether it is visiting the sick, opening your home, or even spending time listening to people who need to talk. See how you can take your Chesed one step further. “How can I give this person more than they expect?”
Pray for people who need help by asking God to give them more than their immediate needs.
Try to repair a damaged relationship by reaching beyond your usual efforts.