Months ago I wrote a synopsis of the Maharal’s understanding of Hesed. A major point that was not explicit is that Hesed, compassion, by definition may be catalyzed by a need, but one is technically under no obligation to respond. One does it only because one wants to, just as God sustains the world out of no personal need, but only because this is God’s will.
Two concrete examples:
Take this report from NPR about two high school grads from Goldsboro, North Carolina. This is exactly what the Maharal was talking about.
In a different vein see what Paul Simon did for a fan at one of his concerts. After Simon announced that he was going to play “Duncan” Rayna, a Simon devotee called out, “I learned to play guitar on that song.” She was invited on stage and this is what happened:
In both cases, it is the fact that these gifts came without expectation, merely out of one’s desire to make something wonderful happen in the life of another. Not only does it transform the recipient of such largesse, but those who witness it are enriched, and profoundly transformed by the Divine potential of humanity. Anyone who has a heart is warmed by the power of everflowing love for those we know, and those we may not.
In listening and watching these stories unfold I welcome you to be part of that community. Now maybe just wonder why these stories make us feel so good.