The Scales of Kindness

Make sure that act of kindness isn't at the expense of someone else.

Comments (17)

(17) vampirec, October 17, 2011 5:36 PM


it means to be kind with every one

(16) Anonymous, January 16, 2009 4:03 PM

The circle of life, put another way...

Life ideally is about balance. Life is not the stock market, that is, life is not a zero sum game. The ideal is that when one person wins, everyone wins. But often when one person wins, another loses - like the stock market.

(15) devori, January 15, 2009 6:26 PM

how about a husband who is a therapist who agrees to see one patient after another "in crisis" but is rarely home for dinner

(14) nechami, January 14, 2009 8:52 PM

for jennifer regards giving tzedakah

a friend of mine has an easy way to deal with this. at the begining of the month she and her husband make envelopes with the amount they are able to give inside, they seal the envelopes and when the pple come around to collect money she just hands them an envelope and wishes them well and closes the door. by the time they open the envelope outside the door and realize they want more the door is closed and she has done a mitzva with a smile.

(13) Shoshana, January 14, 2009 3:32 PM

Kindness instead of being home to light Chanuka candles for the family

There were two instances when people I knew were doing kindness instead of being home with their family lighting Chanuka candles. Both people are exemplary in learning or doing chesed, but both were out Chanuka night. One was collecting tzedaka, the other was driving a friend to the airport to return to Eretz Yisroel. Since these two people were so "chosuv" I couldn't say anything....

(12) Ari, January 14, 2009 11:59 AM

like Moses and Aaron

This matches what is written this week parasha about Moses and Aaron, where Moses refuses to receive and evades executing of the G'od's order to save Jewish People not to hurt his brother Aaron feelings who was then the leader of the people of Israel in Egypt

(11) Anonymous, January 14, 2009 4:59 AM

Nice to see the forest through the trees

How true!

(10) carolyn, January 13, 2009 8:27 PM

a chain of mitzvot

On a cold and icy day it was very important to get my late father to the Dr.When arriving at Dad's apt bldg I realized that it was too icy for him to walk to the car. Several Yeshiva boys were getting into their car and I beeped my horn. They asked what was the trouble. I told them and they got my dad and actually carried him to my car and asked if they should wait ..I thanked them and said that it wouldn't be right , just go about their business..On the return trip, I called the apt. maintenance men (from the Dr's office) and they did the same mitzvah... So I realized that Ihad started a chain of mitzvot and even now remember these kind people and will forever!

(9) linda llewellyn, January 13, 2009 4:45 PM


It is easy to get over committed in doing good and forget your real priorities. Good advice

(8) ruth housman, January 13, 2009 2:49 PM

home is where the heart is

The man left on the bus is an egregious example that is just so out there it's hard for me to extrapolate from this to the other examples of small acts of kindness. A woman who leaves a helpless handicapped person to freeze on a bus so she can go to Church is so crazy, it defies understanding, and yes, she should be charged. I think she has very deep lessons to learn about life. Sometimes life does present us with these conflicting problems about "who to serve?". I do think the person who left his wife to take another person to the airport surely should have called to discuss this first with his wife, to make sure his impulse met with her needs. How do we balance these conflicting pulls to do good? I think it's not always home being the place that is primary, but rather the ethics of the situation and that what tips the scale. I think we have to do this situation by situation. There is no one answer fits all. Yes, do not forget your family, and do not also forget we are part of that greater family that is all inclusive.

(7) Jennifer, January 13, 2009 9:34 AM

How am I to respond when a tzedakah collected comes to my home, I am home alone with the children, my husband is out of town, I do a kindness and give him some tzedakah but he does not think it is enough and starts embarrassing me? He is making rude sounds like "this is all you have to give?', I want to call your husband and ask for more, etc. How am I do respond or act? I felt very bad and embarrassed. PLease give me some advice if this should happen again. Thank you, Shalom

(6) Anonymous, January 13, 2009 8:27 AM


I couldnt help but be reminded of something I witnessed over 10 years ago. A friend of my husband's had lost his mother - suddenly and tragically. We were making a shiva call during which the men were davening. The sister of my husband's friend was a bal teshuva. She was there with her husband and three young daughters. I remember her saying to her husband... I need your help (with the kids). Remember: she had just lost her mother!! Her husband shrugged her off, and with a very annoyed voice told her "I'm davening! Can't you see, I'm davening!" Sorry, but there was, and still is something very wrong with that picture!

(5) lisa, January 13, 2009 5:25 AM

Brain must be plugged in.......

I wish more poeple could be this sensitive when asked to do a chessed.....our brain really has to be on the "on" button to think things through when asked to do something...especially if it is out of our comfort zone & will effect others. We should all learn to say "I will get back to you " & think things out rather than saying a quick "OK." Thank Rabbi for always bringing up a topic that , yes, we do need to think about!!!!!

(4) ross, January 12, 2009 10:34 AM

Sound familiar?

When walking home, you are stopped by a man lingering outside of a shul. He asks if you davened yet because they need a "tenth man" (really they only have four inside). You answer that you can't stay for whatever reason (and really you don't need to give a reason), yet he persists and makes you feel real guilty until you agree. Then you wait another 15 minutes for more people. ("Yes, don't worry, we'll get a minyan, just don't leave!) When you finally get home, you need to explain the whole story to your family, apologies and all. It happens to all of us.

(3) SusanE, January 12, 2009 8:42 AM

Can't Afford to Accept More Kindness

Rabbi Salomon, Good title for this weeks article, and one I can identify with a bit...... Friends, neighbors and the community are very kind and including to me. This is about the other side, Rabbi Salomon, because I am the recipient of the kindness.

I get invited out often. This has taken over most of my social life. Holidays, Birthday parties, Anniversary parties, clubs, Graduations, weddings, showers, dinners out, shopping trips, etc. Kind people who invite me are thoughtful enough to want me there, but do they realize the strain financially? Each kindness comes with a 'price tag'.

This has made it difficult for me to give to others who are in need, because I am giving so much socially to those who are not in need. Rabbi, I'm not sure I can afford to accept any more of other peoples' kindness. Am I being ungrateful and rude?

(2) Lily Rose, January 11, 2009 11:07 AM

Kindness for everyone outside the home

I know people who have time and energy and advice and charity for everyone--men, women, and children--as long as it is not one of their own children, who happen to be suffering because of this. These parents feel great about their kindness and dedication to others, without realizing that they would be true givers of kindness if they would begin in the home, with just a few minutes to listen and a few minutes to help.

(1) Moshe Rosen, January 11, 2009 9:21 AM

helping others vs. being taken advantage of

When doing good deeds while at the expense of others, it's a matter of focus of how in-sync our priorities are in life. I can admit sometimes when I give money to charity, that can be less money for me, especially if I were to give it to an impoverished individual or anyone asking me for money in person asking for me, where I'm not sure if I am helping someone or being taken advantage of, regardless of their situation. Indeed, charity begins at home and with one's self.


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