Mishpatim (Exodus 21-24 )
A waiter gets paid for serving food, not for raising a customer’s spirits.
A doctor gets paid for his medical treatment, not for the future accomplishments of his patients.
But God rewards not just the act of kindness but everything that will come about as a result of that act of kindness as well.
Take for example someone who is debating whether or not to help a friend on the verge of bankruptcy. He decides to help him out and the business survives. 150 workers remain employed.
One worker is saved from marital stress that would have happened as a result of job loss. Another is able to sign on a house and move his family to safer area. A worker with an elderly mother is able to afford home-aid care for her. The ripples go on and on…. All the result of a one loan.
In this week's Torah portion tell us about the commandment of lending money to the poor (22:24), a life changing act of kindness.
But lending does not stop with money; it is also mitzvah to lend objects. (Ahavat Chesed 1:2)
Helping out in this way can sometimes be difficult, even when the item is sitting unused.
An antidote to this struggle, (or to the struggle against doing any act of kindness) is to imagine the ripple effects that the act can put into motion.
The meeting that was not missed because of the loaned GPS, the knowledge gained from a borrowed book which is then perhaps taught to others, or the get well card written with the borrowed pen, which when given put a smile onto the face of someone ill.
The progress of an act of kindness is impossible to trace!
A small act, but unmeasurable result.