Pinchas – The Kindness of Trust

This week we read the first of three Haftorahs that discuss the downfall of the Jews in Israel during the first Beis HaMikdash, ultimately culminating in the Babylonian exile and Tisha B’Av. The first Haftorah takes place in the beginning of Yirmiyahu. The Haftorah concludes: “And the word of Hashem came to me saying: Go, and cry in the ears of Yerushalayim saying, Thus says Hashem, ‘I remember to you the lovingkindness of your youth, the love of your nupitials, your following Me in the desert, in a land not sown. Israel is holy to the Lord, the first of His grain; all who eat him shall be guilty, evil shall befall them,’ says the Lord” (Yirmiyahu 2:1-3).

Rashi
on pasuk 2 teaches us that when the pasuk says “I remember you,” it is saying “were you to return to Me, I would desire to have mercy on you for I remember the loving kindness of your youth and the love of the nuptials of your wedding canopy, when I brought you into the wedding canopy… Now what was the ‘loving kindness of your youth’? Your following My messengers, Moshe and Aharon, from an inhabited land to the desert without provisions for the way since you believed in Me.” (Click here and here for Hebrew text.)

Hashem the Almighty and infinite who does not need our kindness; yet innate in the definition of His being is the natural desire to give and love. Yet Hashem knows that it is only truthful and appropriate that we show that we deserve it. Indeed, once we show even the smallest hint, the size of a pinpoint, that we desire Him, Hashem reciprocates with a plethora of love and kindness. He does this because He focuses on all the good that we showed Him in our youth, when we first came out of Egypt and accepted the Torah on Mount Sinai. Like a man and woman getting married, we followed Hashem like a kallah who is in love and enraptured with her chosson.

What was this kindness? We didn’t give Him anything, and we didn’t do anything for Him. What did the Jewish people do? They just left with enough food to last them thirty days, knowing it would eventually run out. They did leave a place that though was rampant with much grief and strife was still called home. They were settled and had plenty of food to go around. When they left that place of turmoil which they called home to blindly follow Hashem’s messengers, Moshe and Aharon, they followed them into an utterly barren desert where there was no food and drink to be naturally found. What kind of kindness is that towards Hashem?

Yet by leaving their homes and guaranteed food with only blind faith and unquestionable trust in Hashem, that was the chesed they did. We see from here an added dimension in doing acts of kindness. One does not have to do a physical act for someone else; just trusting another is a form of kindness, because you are making them feel good that they are trusted. Granted, Hashem doesn’t need us to make Him feel good by trusting him, but He is teaching us a valuable lesson that we should apply in all circumstances: that when we trust someone else, we are doing to him or her an act of kindness.

So next time you are thinking about trusting an employee, a friend, or a child, remember you are doing a chesed, and act of kindness, if you do so.
(Note: Granted with human beings your choice to trust him or her must be taken with a grain of salt because no one is perfect but if you don’t perceive anything that could go wrong, rather you are just nervous, remember it’s a chesed. However certainly knowing you are getting double reward, for a chesed and for trusting in Hashem, should be an impetus to grow in faith and trust of the Almighty.)