Lech Lecha/Vayera
Lech Lecha/Vayera

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The One Mitzvah God Wants Us to Love and Desire

By: Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim

Following Abraham’s circumcision God brought an extremely hot day to deter travelers from visiting Abraham’s vicinity. Once God saw Abraham’s distress that no guests were coming, God brought Angelic guests in the guise of human beings. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein asks why Abraham was distressed. There were no guests in need of assistance and therefore no obligation to bestow kindness. This is akin to a person being in distress on a weekday about having no obligation of Shabbat observance, or a person being upset on Shabbat that they cannot fulfill the Mitzvah of Tefilin, for which we find no precedence.

He answers that when it comes to Chessed (lovingkindness) we are not only obligated to perform kindness, but to actually love and desire to perform acts of kindness. While God commands us to perform all the Mitzvot, we are not commanded to love performing them; however, when it comes to Chessed (loving kindness), God does not want us to perform acts of loving kindness out of a sense of obligation but rather to become people who desire to bestow kindness upon others.

Abraham was a prime example of this; he loved and desired to bestow kindness upon others to such a degree that he was actually distressed at not being able to do so. Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan (Chofetz Chaim) makes the very same point as Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and provides evidence that God desires us to become people who not only perform lovingkindness but love loving kindness from the following verse: “He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord demands of you; but to do justice, to love loving-kindness, and to walk discreetly with your God.” (Micha 6:8)

Let us work to become individuals who love loving kindness.