A Place of Kindness

Yael Eckstein  |  April 27, 2023

Grateful women sitting together

Those who are kind benefit themselves,
     but the cruel bring ruin on themselves. —
Proverbs 11:17

Compassion is one of Judaism’s highest values and this caring concern and empathy for our fellow human beings is considered one of the three distinguishing marks of being Jewish. Enjoy these 11 devotions on this very important concept for Christians and Jews.

There is an old Jewish parable about a man who had a dream. In his dream, an angel came to him and told him that he would show him both heaven and hell.

First, the angel took him into an extravagant dining room. The room was set up with one very long table, with seats along the two long sides, facing each other. The table was covered with tray after tray of the most elaborate delicacies. There were meats, gourmet dishes, piles of the most beautiful fruits, cakes, pies, and every food imaginable.

“This must be heaven,” the man said to the angel. Then, the door opened. Through the door came a crowd of sickly-looking people, all looking sad and tired. They looked excitedly at the food and took their seats. They began reaching for the food, but soon began crying out in agony. They could reach the food but could not eat it. You see, they had no elbows. Without elbows, they couldn’t get the food from their hands to their mouths. “This is hell,” said the angel. “Now, I’ll show you heaven.”

A Place of Kindness

They went through another door into another beautiful dining room. This second room was set up exactly as the first. The door opened. But this time, the people who walked in looked happy and healthy. They were laughing and joking with each other as they took their seats. The man then noticed that this group were also without elbows.

After everyone was seated, the man watched as they each picked up food and fed the person sitting across from them. The lack of elbows did not hinder their enjoyment at all.

In Proverbs, we read, “Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” From this we learn a profound lesson. The world can be a place of selfishness and cruelty, or it can be a place of kindness, enjoyment, and happiness. It all depends on our attitude toward the blessings that God has put before us and how we treat one another.

Your Turn:

How can you use the blessings you’ve been given to serve others? Let’s build our world into a place of kindness and compassion.

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