CHESED (Sefira: Week 1)
Literal definition: Kindness (Loving Kindness)
In other words: Nurturing. Warmth. Providing someone’s needs. Love.
Chassidus explains that “Ahavah love” is from the word Ovoh. Which is Netiyas Hanefesh, wanting to connect. Gravitating to another on a soul level. Not the shallow ‘love’ of the common secular vernacular.
EXPRESSIONS of Chesed
• Chesed is loving kindness, doing and giving to others – your time, talents, possessions, anything and everything that another might need or ask from you – from a true place of love. True soul love allows us to reach above and beyond ourselves, to care and experience another person and to allow that person to experience us.
• Loving kindness is about giving freely, graciously and unconditionally – with a generous heart. In a way that leaves the other with their dignity and self-esteem. Giving to another on their terms not our terms.
REFLECTIONS about Chesed in your marriage
• Do you give to your spouse – unconditionally … just to make your spouse feel good … on their terms … without expecting anything in return?
• Do you give happily – with full soul love? Even when things are not quite so ‘perfect’? Or is it somewhat grudgingly?
• Do you give and love only when you are in the mood? Or do you give simply because you care and you made a soul commitment to your spouse?
• What is your spouse’s preferred way of receiving your love and kindness? Is that the way you actually express it?
• Does your spouse sense sincerity in your giving? Does your way of giving uplift your spouse’s dignity (or at least leaves them with their dignity)?
• Do you express appreciation and give compliments – often and freely? The kind that they appreciate, not only the type that you feel comfortable giving? Does your spouse know that you truly feel fortunate that you are married to them; how do you know that?
• Do you dedicate time and energy just for your spouse? Do you give the gift of listening? Of your smile? Every day? What do you do every day to make your spouse feel special?
Chesed [kindness] is rooted in Ahavah [love].
Ahavah [love] is rooted in Ta’nug [pleasure/delight].
When you bring pleasure to another, you generate their love which fires up their kindness. And you know how wonderful that will be for you and your family.