Two Kinds of Kindness


Dear Rabbi, Is there such a thing as being “too kind” and helpful according to Judaism? Thanks



  1. It is difficult to imagine “too much kindness” since being kind to others is one of the primary pillars of Judaism. In Hebrew this is called “chessed.” We are taught that the world is sustained by three things, one of them being acts of loving-kindness (Pirkei Avot 1:2).

    However, there may be times when one should rein in this noble character trait — for example, if a certain action will adversely affect one’s family harmony or extremely impoverish the giver. And sometimes giving a person what he wants is actually bad for the recipient and the truly kind thing to do would be to deny the help requested. For example, a drunk who asks for money will only be hurt by giving him money to feed his habit. Real kindness would be to do something to help sober him up.

    But, in general, this trait of chessed is a central part of being Jewish, and is actually a part of our “Jewish DNA” that was inherited from our Patriarch Abraham. This is in accordance with the Torah’s teaching: “Whoever is merciful to others is clearly a descendant of Abraham our forefather, and whoever is not merciful to others is clearly not his descendant.”

    Best wishes from the Team