Today is the First Day of the Omer, a Jewish period of counting and reflecting that connects the liberation of Passover to the receiving of the Covenant at Mount Sinai on Shavuot.
Each of the days of the seven weeks of the Counting have been given a theme by Jewish mystics. The first week and first day are both devoted to the idea of chesed in Hebrew, or loving-kindness, in English.
Just what is loving-kindness?
In the culture of the Jewish Bible, a colleague of mine, Rabbi Amy Scheinerman, pointed out that "love" can be better understood to be devotional loyalty - as in "You must love God" and describing that love by talking about upholding the Covenant between the Universe and the Jewish People.
So we can talk about chesed as noticing what the world and the people around us need most, and offering it with care and devotion, and with no expectation of compensation.
Let us all find a moment to realize the great caring accomplished for our souls, our friends and family, and our larger communities, when we give out of compassion and devotion.