Kindness Hacks from Parshat Shmini
A kindness bird. In this weeks Parsha we are introduced to a white stork, known in Hebrew as a ‘chasida’, which comes from the word Chesed – kindness.
In Hebrew the name of something reveals it's essence, which for the stork is clearly kindness. Funnily enough though this bird is actually included in the list of birds that we are not supposed to eat because of their cruelty! (Ramban)
Why can’t we eat this ‘kindness bird’?
The Chidushai Ha-Rim explains something fascinating. The stork gives out food to other creatures, but only to those that are considered to be his ‘friends’, not to all birds!
Since it doesn’t do chesed, for strangers, it is considered impure, and may not be eaten!
The lesson is clear: Kindness must be done for everyone!
Taking this one step further R’Dessler explains that people are only strangers to us because we have not yet given to them.
If we start to bestow good onto ‘strangers’ their status will actually change and they become like friends/relatives to us!
Let’s not limit our generosity and care to our own circle of friends, but reach out beyond our inner circles to make a difference to both friend and stranger alike!
(Idea about the stork adapted from Love Your Neighbour by Zelig Pliskin)