Midot Hayom: Tiferet in Chesed
Job bestowed charity on the poor, clothed the naked, supported the orphans and widows, and went around visiting the sick – the poor as well as the rich. [When visiting] the poor ones, he would bring a doctor along. In some cases
the doctor would declare that the patient would never recover. Then the patient’s wife would beat her face and pull out her hair. “My daughter,” [Job] would say to her, “why are you screaming before him? Until now, has there been oil in the lamp?” “What shall I do for my children?” she would say. “How shall I support them?” And Job would respond with words of comfort: “Your husband will rise from his illness and will support you as well as his wont. And if, Heaven forbid, he dies all your needs will be met by me.” Then he would summon a scribe and record the commitment in the presence of witnesses. The patient, hearing what Job had taken upon himself, would immediately bless him (Midrash Iyov 40).
People who are suffering often lose their perspective and feel overwhelmed by the challenges of life. An important element of Chesed is to restore their sense of balance, or Tiferet, which will often give them hope, and enable them to deal with their challenges.
Job, a master of Chesed, understood this aspect of Chesed and did all he could to restore a semblance of balance to those in desperate situations. Job did not distract people from their suffering, nor did he make empty promises. He provided hope and security. He provided a sense of balance.
We often work to distract people from their suffering. We visit a Shiva house and attempt to speak about things other than death. We visit people who are ill and do our best to distract them from their illness. Tiferet in Chesed demands more. Distractions are not enough, nor are empty promises such as, “I’m sure you will recover.”
Our job is to address the issue at hand and find a way to restore the person’s perspective.
Call someone who is ill and learn what they need in order to feel that they will people will help them deal with the consequences of their illness, if, God forbid, they will need more help.
Have a conversation with someone who feels overwhelmed with problems. Listen carefully, without distracting them, and make an effort to restore their perspective.
If a poor person asks you for money, pat attention to their story and concerns.