Chesed Part II: The Power of No

גבורה שבחסד

In order to better understand Chesed, we need to know that the virtue of Chesed isn’t always accomplished by only being kind.
Avraham’s son Yitzchak and his grandson Yaakov were not known for that particular focus. Clearly they bring something to the equation that Avraham did not.
Put another way; If Chesed is enough, why bother with three Avos? One main forefather could have been enough. In theory, three are not required.

So we’ll say that Kindness is our starter-concept. But it’s not the end-all be-all of goodness.

Put in a more concise way: Chesed is the necessary first step in goodness. But it is not the only step.

That’s an an important point: Putting things in order is important.
Something can be a good idea at the beginning but not in the middle or the end.
Let me offer a real example; a simple example.  A child, about to go to sleep for the night tells his mother that he wants to eat a chocolate bar.  The mother knows that the chocolate will energize him, keep him up for another hour or more. As it is, he has to catch up on two days of reduced sleep, and he has to be up the next morning. The mother tells the child that he can’t have it, and she has to enforce the decision.
Would anyone suggest that the mother who loves her child must reduce her love in order to restrict his access to sugar? Of course not!  Telling him he can’t have the sugar is an expression of her love, not a withholding of her love!
This is the meaning of
גבורה שבחסד
Discipline within Chesed.  Giving through restriction.
We all have a sense that rules are good.  Yet a healthier outlook is to appreciate that rules expand life by restricting options that life has to offer.  When the words are put together, it all sounds rather counter-intuitive.  Yet I’m sure we can think of at least a dozen or more examples of this truth.
I have read that the single greatest life enhancing phenomenon in the USA in the past 50 years has not been the creation or development of any new medicine or drug. It has been the push by the Elite, at all levels of “the Establishment”, to restrict and end tobacco use, particularly cigarettes.

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