The Virtue of Hesed

It is a privilege to contribute to this Festschrift in honor of Elliot Klayman. Elliot is a gifted visionary, teacher, mentor, and friend. His wisdom, generosity, kindness, and sense of justice continue to leave a deep imprint on the Messianic Jewish movement. Elliot has always been a man to honor the past, envision the future, and make a difference today. I have learned much from Elliot, especially in the years that we served together at Beth Messiah Congregation in Columbus, Ohio, a congregation founded by Elliot and his wife Joyce. I learned that good organization and due process coupled with prayer and a deep concern for people lead to successful ministry. Elliot has accomplished many things in his life, but it is who he is rather than what he has accomplished that continues to be his legacy. If I had to pick one attribute to describe Elliot, it would be hesed or lovingkindness, as it is often translated in the Bible. Elliot truly is a Baal Hesed, a man of lovingkindness. Therefore, this essay in honor of Elliot Klayman is a survey of the virtue of hesed in the Bible and Jewish tradition.

Hesed in the Tanakh: The Loyal Love of God

Hesed is a powerful and profound Hebrew word. It describes the covenant love of God toward Israel and benevolent relationships between people, often with the expectation of mutual benefit. There are many studies that have investigated the meaning of hesed.1 The word is more of a concept to be described than a term to be defined. Terms such as “lovingkindness,” “steadfast love,” “loyal love,” and “kindness” have been used to translate hesed. However, there is no word that covers the full scope of its meaning.

Of the 245 occurrences of the word hesed in the Hebrew Bible, three fourths of them describe the hesed of God.2 The hesed of God encompasses all of the benevolent traits and actions that he demonstrates toward the created world, and in particular to those with whom he is in covenant relationship. In Exodus 20:6 and 34:6–7, hesed is prioritized and emphasized among the attributes of God. He is abounding in hesed (34:6) and keeps his hesed (34:7). Abounding in hesed means that his loyal covenant love is beyond measure and in endless supply. Keeping his hesed means that God preserves, maintains, and focuses on hesed. The hesed of God is unchanging and enduring.3 Hesed is specifically identified with covenant relationship in Deut 7:9–10 where Moses reiterates the Sinai Covenant, and in 2 Samuel 7:12–16 where God makes an unconditional covenant with David. In these and other passages, hesed is related to the covenant relationship.4

God keeps his covenant and his hesed! God obligates himself to the covenant and therefore to hesed. It is not a legal obligation, however. It is a covenantal or moral obligation that originates in the very nature of God. It is not a quid pro quo. God does not keep his hesed because people are obedient to the covenant. He keeps the covenant because his hesed is unconditional. Obedience, which begins with repentance, is when hesed can be appropriated. This is what has given Israel hope throughout both biblical and post-biblical history.5 In fact, many of the passages that describe hesed are promises and prayers when the nation or individuals have broken the covenant. The faithfulness of God to maintain hesed even in the face of Israel’s failure is an indication of the stability and loyalty of divine hesed. The context of Exodus 34:6–7 is the forgiveness and restoration of the nation after the sin of the golden calf.

After David sins by committing adultery and sending a man to his death, he prays for hesed. He never gives up hope in the kindness of God.6

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your hesed;

According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. (Psa 51:1)7

Hesed is often coupled with other attributes of God that accentuate an aspect of its meaning. The three most prevalent words that are coupled with hesed are emet (51 times), rachamim (21 times), and tov (28 times).8

When coupled with emet, the steadfast, faithful, unconditional, and loyal hesed is emphasized. Psalm 89 is a description and affirmation of the faithfulness of God to his covenant with David. Six times in the psalm the word hesed is used to describe the assurance of covenant faithfulness. In each case, hesed is accompanied by a form of emet, thereby demonstrating the firmness, assurance, and confidence that God would never forsake his covenant relationship.9

When hesed is coupled with rachamim the compassion of hesed is emphasized. This demonstrates that there is an important emotional component to hesed.

“In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting hesed I will have rachamim on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer. (Isa 54:8)

The Psalmist understands the loyal hesed of God to be coming from a place of compassion.

You, O Lord, will not withhold Your rachamim from me;

Your hesed and Your emet will continually preserve me. (Psa 40:11)

When hesed is coupled with tov, the goodness of hesed is accentuated. When Moses asks to see the glory of God, the response is that the goodness of God would be made known (Exo 33:18–19). Then when God reveals his goodness, we read that he is abounding in hesed v’emet. Psalm 136, which outlines so much of the hesed of God, begins with a proclamation of His goodness and the everlasting nature of his hesed:

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,

For His hesed is everlasting. (Psa 136:1)10

Psalm 136 provides a catalogue of examples of the hesed of God: creation (5–9), deliverance (10–15), protection (16–19), and provision (20–25). Perhaps these four qualities serve as headings for almost all of the fruit of hesed. The hesed of God is described in numerous passages in the Bible. The hesed of God is associated with justice (e.g., Psa 89:14; 101:1; Isa 16:5; Jer 9:24; Hos 2:19), righteousness (e.g., Psa 36:11; 40:11; 103:17; Hos 11:12), deliverance of people from disaster and oppression (e.g., Psa 31:7, 21; 32:10; 94:18; 86:13; 109:21), sustenance of life (Psa 119:88, 149, 159), and acceptance and the forgiveness of sin (Psa 51:1; Num 14:19; Neh 9:17; Psa 86:5). The hesed of God provided a wife for Isaac (Gen 24:12, 14, 27, 49), steadfast love for Jacob (Gen 32:10), favor in a difficult situation for Joseph (Gen 39:21), and guidance for Israel in the wilderness (Exo 15:13). Categories of strength, fortitude, confidence, resolution, pledge, and health have also been suggested.11

All of these facets of hesed are like looking at a diamond. The hesed of God affects people in a multitude of ways. What we know for certain is that they are all beneficial for us communally and individually. None of these facets captures the entire scope of hesed. The only other word in the Biblical text that seems to have such an overarching meaning of the benevolence of God is the word barakh, or “blessing.” The barakh of God and the hesed of God can both be described as the life-infusing benefits of creation and covenant. For example, the Aaronic benediction is a wide-ranging blessing that Aaron prays over the children of Israel as they are about to embark on the wilderness journey. It is a benediction of blessing for protection, mercy, and shalom. But hesed is not mentioned. Perhaps we could say that hesed is the essence of blessing.

Hesed in the Tanakh: The Virtue of Mutual Hesed

Hesed in the Bible is not only the benevolence of God toward people. Approximately one third of its occurrences take place in the context of relationships between people. It is a divine characteristic that is to be echoed in human relationships. Glueck has categorized five types of relationships in which hesed is demonstrated. Hesed occurs in relationships between relatives (Abraham and Sarah in Gen 20:13, Laban and Abraham in Gen 47:29, Ruth and Naomi or Orpah in Ruth 1:8, and the Kenites and the sons of Israel in 1 Sam 15:6); between host and guest (Lot and the men who saved his life in Gen 19:19, Abraham and Abimelech in Gen 21:23, and Rahab and the surveyors in Josh 2:12); between friends (David and Jonathan in 1 Sam 20:8, David and Mephibosheth in 2 Sam 9:1, and David and Hanun in 2 Sam 10:2); between king and subjects (Jabesh Gilead and Saul in 2 Sam 2:5, Abner and the house of Saul in 2 Sam 3:8); and between two parties in some sort of beneficial relationship (Joseph and the cupbearer in Gen 40:14, the surveyors and the man from Bethel in Judges 1:24, and Israel and the house of Jerubbaal in Judg 8:35).12

In almost every case, there is an expectation of relational mutual hesed. For example, in Genesis 21:23, Abimelech expects Abraham to show him hesed because the king had shown kindness to Abraham. In Ruth 1:8, Naomi prays that the Lord would show hesed to her daughters-in-law, as they have shown great kindness to her. In Joshua 2:12 Rahab expects the surveyors to show her hesed because she showed kindness to them. In Genesis 40:14, Joseph expects the cupbearer to show him hesed because he interpreted the cupbearer’s dream. We also see that in most of these examples there is some form of covenant relationship. Abraham was in covenant relationship with Sarah. Abimelech and Abraham formed a covenant. And David and Jonathan formed a covenant relationship. Another observation is that in all cases, hesed means doing something concrete for the benefit of the other!

An example of the hesed of God manifested through blessing is when Isaac digs the wells of Abraham in Genesis 26. There are very few places in the Scriptures where we read about Isaac being the main character of a story. He plays a role in the Abraham story and the Jacob story. But here we see Isaac demonstrating hesed when he refuses to fight with Abimelech over the wells that belonged to Abraham. Every time he digs one of Abraham’s wells, the men of Abimelech complain. Rather than fight over the wells and demand his rights, Isaac moves on until he finally digs a well without contention. The result is a blessing from God and a covenant of peace between Isaac and Abimelech. Isaac is a Baal Hesed. In this case a Baal Hesed is a peacemaker.

In the prophets, hesed is often used to describe the moral and ethical obligations of people in covenant relationship with God. For example, in Zechariah 7:10, hesed means: “do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.”13 As Zobel observes, hesed always designates not just a human attitude, but also the act that emerges from this attitude. It is an act that preserves or promotes life. It is intervention on behalf of someone suffering misfortune or distress. It is demonstration of friendship or piety. It pursues what is good and not what is evil.14

In the Second Temple Period, the meaning of the hesed of God was focused on the compassion and mercy of God toward Israel.15 Evidence of this is that the Septuagint uses the word eleos (mercy, compassion) as the primary translation of hesed. Also, in the Second Temple Period in the context of human relationships, the meaning of hesed as “benevolence” came to signify a merciful or compassionate act of charity without an expectation of mutual benevolence.16 An example is Sirach 29:1, “He does a kindness who lends to his neighbor, and he fulfills the precepts who holds out a helping hand.”17 Interestingly, this is one of the first occurrences of the idea of Gemilut Hasadim, acts of lovingkindness that we will find later in the rabbinic literature. Lending money to someone in need is a primary act of Gemilut Hasadim.

Hesed in the New Covenant Scriptures: Yeshua the Hesed of God

In the New Covenant Scriptures, which were also written during the Second Temple Period, this same focus on the mercy, grace, and compassion of hesed is evident. The words eleos (mercy) and charis (grace) are used to translate the idea of hesed. In the Gospel of Yochanan (John), Yeshua himself embodies the hesed of God. The phrase “grace and truth” in John 1:14 and 17 comes directly from Exodus 34:6–7.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

For the Torah was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Yeshua the Messiah. (John 1:17)

Yeshua is abounding in hesed v’emet! Yeshua is the living Torah. In him there is forgiveness, deliverance, release, restoration, assurance, kindness, acceptance, and every other covenant benefit! The fullness of the embodiment of hesed in the Messiah is in his death. He was misunderstood and hated, yet he paid the price of judgment for the sins of the world (see especially Isa 53; 2 Cor 5:21).

But God, being rich in mercy (hesed), because of His great love with which He loved us . . . (Eph 2:4)

For by grace (hesed) you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God . . . (Eph 2:8)

Not only is Yeshua in himself the hesed of God, but Yeshua also taught the virtue of hesed. The Sermon on the Mount reveals the weighty nature of hesed. When Yeshua said, “Let your light shine before humanity in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven,” he was saying: when you do hesed, you are glorifying God. He then gave examples of hesed such as forgiveness, honesty, kindness beyond measure, and meeting the needs of people. When Yeshua confronts the Pharisees, he tells them that they have neglected hesed v’emet, which is the weightier part of the Torah.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin and have neglected the weightier provisions of the Torah: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. (Matt 23:23)

The parable of the Good Samaritan is a particularly good example of hesed. Yeshua is asked “Who is my neighbor?” in response to the command to love your neighbor as yourself. His answer was the story of the Good Samaritan. A man was laying half dead by the side of the road. The only person who would help him was a Samaritan. Since the Samaritans and Judeans were unfriendly toward each other, this was surprising. The Samaritan showed compassion (Luke 10:33), took care of him, and paid for a place for the man to stay (vv. 34–35). The Samaritan was the neighbor. The Samaritan showed hesed to the wounded man. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he exhorts them to imitate the hesed of God (Eph 4:32–5:1). James (Jacob) exhorts the Messianic Jews to practice covenant hesed by following the “royal Law” (James 2:8).

Hesed as a Fundamental Virtue in Judaism

Following the Second Temple Period, the practice of hesed naturally developed into a fundamental value of Judaism. In one of the foundational documents of Judaism known as Mishnah Pirke Avot we read, “On three things the world stands: on Torah, on Service, and on Acts of Hesed” (Pirke Avot 1:2). This means that the world is held together by these three virtues. If one of them falters the world would fall apart! In the same vein many years later, the 19th century rebbe, the Chofetz Chaim (Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaKohen), said in his book Ahavas Chesed that the world could not exist without hesed. He bases this on Psalm 89:3a and Isaiah 16:5a, “For I have said, lovingkindness will be built up forever,” and “A throne will even be established on lovingkindness.” He further says, “To what may this be compared?—to a stool. One of its legs became loose. A pebble was placed under the leg and it held firm. So, as it were, is the throne of God. It became infirm and is propped up with hesed.”18 The Talmud also states the weighty nature of hesed: “The Torah begins with Gemilut Hasadim and its end is the performance of Gemilut Hasadim” (b.Sotah 14a). In other words, the Torah is filled with acts of hesed. Passages such as these demonstrate the centrality of hesed.
Much stress is placed on the meaning of hesed as not simply doing acts that benefit others, but doing acts in abundance from a motivation of love with no expectation of anything in return. A key verse about hesed in this regard is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O people, what is good; / And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”19 The Chofetz Chaim commented on this verse: “Since the verse says ‘he has told you,’ it means that the Bible is filled with teachings on hesed. For example, Noah’s sons demonstrated hesed when they covered him up after he became drunk, and Abraham practiced hesed when he rescued Lot and then again when he entertained the three visitors.”20 But most importantly, Micah 6:8 says to “love hesed.” You cannot simply do hesed, you must love it! It must not come from a feeling of guilt, pressure, or obligation. It must be heartfelt.21 It is our personal involvement and effort that qualifies an action to be Gemilut hesed.22

As we have seen above, hesed can refer to many different ways of showing commitment, kindness, strength, and compassion. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks describes it, “It is born in the generosity of faithfulness, the love that means being ever present for the other, in hard times as well as good; love that grows stronger, not weaker over time. It is love moralized into gestures of help and understanding, support and friendship: the poetry of everyday life written in the language of simple deeds.”23 The verse that best describes the attitude of hesed is Leviticus 19:18b: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Our neighbor is whoever is in need. To practice hesed is to go above and beyond what is required of us. We imitate God by abounding in hesed v’emet, as it says of the Lord in Exodus 34:6. Hesed is an action that is motivated by love and not obligation. It does not expect anything in return and is given for the sustenance of the receiver. Morinis calls it “generous sustaining benevolence.”24 The prophet Micah says that God delights in hesed (Mic 7:18). When we come across an opportunity to practice hesed for someone, it has been said that we should delight in it, like finding a treasure!25

The virtue of tzedakah is sometimes compared to hesed. In the Bible, tzedakah means doing what is right and expected. In Judaism, tzedakah is charitable giving where it is needed. Hesed is understood to be giving more and in excess. It is the giving of one’s self. It is a more comprehensive term that has no limit on the type or amount of kindness shown. For example, Psalm 41:1 says, “How blessed is the one who considers the helpless.” It is the consideration of the poor that makes it hesed and not only tzedakah. Consideration is understood to be words of encouragement, a cheerful smile, wise counsel, showing respect and dignity, and at the highest level providing a way to become self-supporting.26 Rabbi Jonathan Sacks makes this point when he writes, “Where tzedakah is a gift or loan of money, hesed is the gift of the person. It costs less and more: less because its gestures often cost little or nothing, more because it takes time and attention, existential generosity, and the gift of self to self. More than anything else, hesed humanizes the world.”27

The Talmud comments on the difference between hesed and tzedakah:

Gemilut Hasadim is greater than Tzedakah in three ways: 1) Tzedakah is performed only with one’s property whereas Gemilut Hasadim are performed with both property and one’s self; 2) Tzedakah is given only to the poor whereas Gemilut Hasadim are performed with both the poor and the rich; and 3) Tzedakah is performed only with the living whereas Gemilut Hasadim is performed with living or the dead. (b.Sukkah 49b)

We could say that all hesed is tzedakah but not all tzedakah is hesed!

The practice of hesed is an imitation of God. In the Talmud, R’Chama the son of R’Chanina asks what it means to walk in the way of the Lord. The answer is that it means to walk after the attributes of the Holy One. The text goes on to describe this in concrete terms:

Just as He clothes the naked, as it is written and the Lord made for Adam and his wife skin garments, and he clothed them, so you should clothe the naked. The Holy One, Blessed is He, visited the sick as it is written, the Lord visited him on the plains of Mamre, so you should visit the sick. The Holy One, Blessed is He, comforted mourners, as it is written and it was after the death of Abraham that God blessed Isaac his son, you too should comfort mourners. The Holy One, Blessed is He, buried the dead as it is written, He buried him in the depression—you too should bury the dead. (b.Sotah 14a)

During the Medieval Period, Maimonides commented on this passage:

Just as He is called “Gracious,” you shall be gracious; Just as He is called “Merciful,” you shall be merciful; Just as He is called “Holy,” you shall be holy. In a similar manner, the prophets called God by other titles: “Slow to anger,” “Abundant in kindness,” “Righteous,” “Just,” “Perfect,” “Almighty,” “Powerful,” and the like. [They did so] to inform us that these are good and just paths. A person is obligated to accustom himself to these paths and [to try to] resemble Him to the extent of his ability.28

Jewish philosophers, writing about the desire for an inner communion with God, discussed the idea of Devakut or “clinging to God.”29 According to Jewish mystical tradition, God reveals himself to humanity through ten emanations called Sefirot. Humanity, created in the image of God, is called to embody these attributes. The perfect balance of hesed (mercy) and din (judgment) serves as the way of Devakut or clinging to God. The Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Hasidic movement, and later Jewish philosophers embraced the concept of Devakut in a variety of ways. The practice of hesed is an essential element in experiencing the presence of God.30 The practice of spiritual formation in Judaism, or Mussar, includes practicing hesed as an essential element of attaining true spirituality.

According to most sources, the list of actions that are considered to be Gemilut Hasadim include: granting free loans (approximately one half of Ahavas Chesed is giving detail on loans); providing hospitality; visiting and comforting the sick; providing clothes, food, and shelter to those in need; rejoicing with a bridegroom and bride; attending to the dead (this is considered a tremendous act of hesed because it honors the deceased, and we could never expect anything in return); comforting mourners; and bringing peace and reconciliation to those experiencing strife.31 In addition, a variety of attitudes are considered hesed, such as never bringing shame or embarrassment to a person, showing kindness to enemies, and having an overall attitude of acceptance, forgiveness, and encouragement.

Practicing Hesed in Community

An assumption that we make when we talk about the virtue of Gemilut Hasadim is that people live in community. After all, it is impossible to practice this kind of covenantal love in a disconnected environment. Every example and teaching about hesed assumes that people are willing to meet the real needs of others and that we know what those needs are. Most Jewish communities have social service agencies and other organizations that help to meet the needs of Jewish people. Many Jewish people today, however, live in geographic areas without connection, or they find their needs met by public social service agencies and other civic organizations. The best place for us to truly live out hesed, and demonstrate the faithful, compassionate, love of God is in congregations and chavurot. In addition, if we have the attitude that everywhere I go and every person I meet is an intentional meeting from God, then we may be able to practice hesed everywhere!

In a spiritual community, however, we live in covenant relationship and have a moral obligation to engage in mutual blessing and hesed. If we look at the traditional categories of hesed mentioned above, we need to be sure that the people in our covenantal community have the basic staples of life such as food, clothing, and shelter. We need to pour ourselves into young couples and rejoice with them at their weddings, as well as help them to have happy marriages. When there is a financial need, how important it is that we help in a healthy way. When a death occurs, it is one of the main demonstrations of Gemilut Hasadim to mourn with those who mourn, provide a minyan so people can sit shiva properly, provide food, and meet other needs. When someone is sick or in the hospital, we visit and provide for the needs of the family. When there is strife, we serve as peacemakers. We can add to this Pikuah Nephesh (saving a life), caring for the elderly, and showing hospitality. How does this happen? In a healthy congregation or chavurah, we engage one another in a safe environment and have protocols in place to meet those needs.

We live a world filled with strife, misunderstanding, and injustice. How important it is for us to demonstrate hesed in the way we engage each other as well the world around us. Many of our Messianic congregations have people from a variety of different ethnic and social backgrounds. It is a wonderful testimony to demonstrate our unity in diversity in the relationships we have in our congregations. When the Bible says that we are the witnesses of God, and that we are called to share the Good News far and wide, let us remember that we are witnesses of the redemption that we have experienced in the Messiah. We are witnesses of a new worldview and way of life that includes deliverance from all kinds of alienating ways of thinking and living. May we walk in a manner worthy of our calling. As Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?”

Howard Silverman has been involved in Messianic Jewish ministry for forty years. He served with Chosen People ministries for eleven years. Since 1991 he has served as Congregational Leader and Rabbi of Beth Messiah Congregation in Columbus, Ohio. He was President of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations from 2008 to 2012, and currently is the Midwest Regional Director. Howard was a graduate student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the Ohio State University and received an MA from the Messianic Jewish Theological Institute. Howard and his wife, Janet, have three children and four grandchildren.

1 Three significant monographs that have sought to illuminate hesed are: Nelson Glueck, Hesed in the Bible, trans. Alfred Gottschalk, 1967, Reprint (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2011); Katherine Doob Sackenfeld, The Meaning of Hesed in the Hebrew Bible: a New Inquiry, 1978, Reprint (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2002); Gordon R. Clark, The Word “Hesed” in the Hebrew Bible, 1993, Reprint (New York: Bloomsbury, 2015).

2 William VanGemeren, ed., New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis, Vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 211.

3 Nahum M. Sarna, Exodus, JPSTBC (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1991), 216.

4 See also 1 Kings 8:23; Nehemiah 1:5; Psalm 89

5 Josiah D. Peeler, “YHWH’s Hesed: Providing Hope in The Midst of Rebellion and Exile,” Restoration Quarterly 58:2 (2016): 75–85.

6 Gordon R. Clark, The Word “Hesed” in the Hebrew Bible (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), 267.

7 All Scripture quotations are based on the NASB with occasional word substitutions, such as “hesed” for “grace,” and “Yeshua” for “Jesus.”

8 Clark, Hesed, 91.

9 Psalm 89:1, 2, 14, 24, 28, 33; Cf. Psalm 25:10; Exodus 34:6–7

10 This is a refrain that we read in the following verses: Psalm 109:21; 1 Chronicles 16:34; 2 Chronicles 5:13; Psalm 100:5; 106:1; 107:1; 118:1, 29; Jeremiah 33:11 (Cf. Psa 23:6; 69:16; Ezra 3:11; 2 Sam 2:6).

11 C. F. Whitley “The Semantic Range of Hesed,” Biblica 62, no. 4 (1981): 519–26.

12 Glueck, Hesed, 35–37.

13 Hans-Jürgen Zobel. “חֶסֶד”, Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, Vol. 5, eds. G. Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren; trans. David E. Green (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 49.

14 Zobel, חֶסֶד, 51.

15 Bradley C. Gregory, “Hesed, Second Temple/Hellenistic Judaism” in Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, ed. Dale C. Allison Jr., et al (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2015), 970.

16 Gregory, “Hesed,” 970.

17 Cf. Sirach 7:33; 11:12. The translation here is from Patrick W. Skehan and Alexander A. Di Lella O.F.M., The Wisdom of Ben Sira: A New Translation with Notes, Introduction and Commentary, Vol. 39 AYB (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 368.

18 Chofetz Chaim, Ahavas Chesed, 2nd ed., trans. Leonard Oschry (Jerusalem: Feldheim, 1973), 79.

19 Chofetz Chaim, Ahavas Chesed, 77.

20 Chofetz Chaim, Ahavas Chesed, 22–23. He provides many additional illustrations of hesed in the Torah.

21 Chofetz Chaim, Ahavas Chesed, 79.

22 Rabbi Jacob Immanuel Schochet, Gemiluth Chassadim (Brooklyn: Kehot, 1967), 9.

23 Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility (New York: Schocken, 2005), 45–46.

24 Alan Morinis, Everyday Holiness (Boston: Trumpeter, 2007), 187.

25 Chofetz Chaim, Ahavas Chesed, 89.

26 Schochet, Gemiluth Chassadim, 17–18.

27 Sacks, Heal, 46.

28 Maimonides, Hilchot De’ot 1:6–7

29 Rabbi Rifat Sonsino, 6 Jewish Spiritual Paths (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, 2002), 30–31.

30 Admiel Kosman, “ ‘Hesed’: Rabbinic to Modern Judaism” in Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, ed. Dale C. Allison Jr., et al (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2015), 971.

31 Schochet, Gemiluth Chassadim, 21–26.

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