“There is no hope of joy except in human relations.” Antoine De Saint-Exupery
I began this blog from a thought I had when I read a statement in a Facebook thread I was following. A day later I saw a book on my shelf that I had not yet read, the subject of the book linked to the thought I was already pondering. With the book in hand, I set out to read it before I continued to write.
I did it, I read the book in a few short days and I am glad I did. It added so much to my own thoughts on the subject that now I am wanting to buy a few copies for some of my friends. Matter of fact the opening quote came from the book.
Over the past few weeks I have been pondering about the first verse of Psalm 145, I have asked myself, “In what ways that I might be able to exalt and bless the Name of the Creator”. This particular Psalm has become one of my favorites and on various occasions I have written on it. The original thought I had at the beginning of this blog has led me to the question I had on this first verse of the psalm.
[A Psalm of] praise; of David.
I will extol Thee, my God, O King; and I will bless Thy name for ever and ever. http://www.mechon-mamre.org
The statement made on the Facebook thread was about that when a person sins that they become an atheist during that sin (paraphrased by me). This statement reminded me of something I learned while studying for Orthodox Jewish conversion. A Torah scholar once said something in the like, “When a person sins they are insane…” meaning that a person experiences insanity or they forget the Creator and His rules during the time they are committing the sin or they wouldn’t sin to begin with.
Know this brings me to my thought.
“When we do acts of kindness toward another human being, we are keeping the essence of the Seven Commandments of the Creator.”
Ponder the Seven Commandments for a few minutes. When we do a kind act toward someone else, we are not robbing them, murdering them, having forbidden sexual acts with them etc. So, a benefit for us is that the power of kindness helps us become observant in the Commandments of the Creator.
Some may ask, “How does kindness help us observe the prohibitions of idolatry and blaspheme?”
In a Youtube interview with Rabbi Moshe Shulman, he stated that what ever we do, to make sure we are doing it for Hashem (The Creator). If we are doing a good deed just for the deed itself, it can be seen as robbing the Creator. The deed is likened unto a king’s minister, when we pay more homage to the minister in front of the king, we rob from the king the honor he should have received.
What the rabbi said lead me back to the question I have had about Psalm 145:1, “How can I bless the Name of the Creator everyday?
The answer that came to me, is that when we do acts of kindness toward someone else, knowing this is how the Creator wants me to be, then in the act of kindness I have not only observed the Commandments, but also the act of kindness has led me to bless the Creator.
The prohibition of idolatry and blaspheme come into play when we do not serve any one or thing else above the Creator. And that we as Seven Commandment keepers do all of the Seven Commandments for the sake of the Creator alone.
During the time of my reading the book, one of my many thoughts was; “It is like the Creator told us just to be kind to one another but just in case I will spell it out for you and thus we have the we have the Commandments or actually they are Seven Deeds.”
Quotes to ponder from the book I just read (Name and author at the end.)
1. “Ancient wisdom has immeasurable power to heal human hearts. Much of this wisdom promotes the act of kindness as a tool for healing.”
2. “Goodness is in all of us. Sometimes we need the selflessness or charitable behavior of others to bring it to the surface.”
3. “Every culture has an expression for performing an unsolicited good deed for another. Each of these words has the same superlative connotation, suggestive of not only the act of kindness, but the spirit surrounding it.”
4. “If we start improving ourselves by doing good for others, we are traveling in a positive direction.”
5. “The truth is that when we do things for others, we are really doing for ourselves, in that we advance in our spirituality, the component that makes us uniquely human and elevates us from all other forms of life.”
6. “Good deeds therefor help dissolve the barrier between one person and another and allow us to briefly become one.”
7. “Good deeds really do have the power to change us.”
I chose seven quotes since our basic deeds form the Creator are seven.
Reconsider and ponder this passage of scripture:
He has told you, O man , what is good! What does Hashem (the Creator) require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with you God. Artscroll Tanach, parenthesis mine.
Terry W. Hayes
Good deeds really do have the power to change us.
P.S. The name of the book I read is,
Do Unto Others – How Good Deeds Can Change Your Life by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash