Modim: Goodness and Empathy
“Ha’tov ki lo kalu rachamecha, v’ha’merachem ki lo tamu chasadecha”
“The Good One because Your compassion never finishes, and The Compassionate One because Your goodness never stops”
God is called Good, because of His Compassion, and Compassionate because of His Goodness- shouldn’t it be the opposite? You are compassionate because your compassion never stops. And you are good because your goodness never stops!
The way we explain it is as follows. It is so easy to give to someone else- to give and give, and give, without thinking whether it is good for that person. The tov (good) that you do for another has to be m’rachem. It has to be empathic. (m’rachem comes from the root of the word Rechem, womb; it means empathy because it implies shared existence). You must understand what is good for that specific person, in that specific situation.
In being empathic, you have to know if it is good for the recipient of your empathy.
There are two things that are going on. We tend to separate the two. We are saying that God does not. When He gives, every act of goodness is empathic, and every act of empathy is good.
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