Chayei Sarah: All We Need Is (Love) Kindness


One of the greatest songs of the 20th century was “All you need is love”, by the Beatles.

This succinct phrase captures the essence of our humanity, and its vital need for companionship.

And love is the primary emotion which fuels our ability to bond with others.

Yet, as passionate as love might be, it has its drawbacks.

For at the core of this powerful emotion, lies our indulgent self.

We love someone or something which satisfies our needs.

As altruistic as love might sound, it could be dangerously selfish and destructive.

So many people have been hurt in the name of love.

Our patriarch Abraham provides his descendants with inspirational guidance.

Yes he truly loved mankind, without any reservation or inhibition.

But his was a selfless love.

He achieved this by being focused, to the point of obsession, with acts of kindness.

It was never about him, it was always about others.

Acts of kindness, particularly towards strangers, is a selfless act.

This ensures that the love we feel, will remain altruistic.

This is why, when Abraham sought a wife for his son Isaac, his litmus test was a women with genuine kindness.

Indeed it was precisely at the moment when Rebecca offered water to a stranger - Abraham servant - at the well, that he knew she would be the one.

Love could be the most powerful emotion, but it is the acts of kindness which ensure that it is selfless.

The acts of kindness also serve as a catalyst to ignite the love, when you are not feeling it.

Hence, a better phrase would be, “All we need is kindness”.

Next time I bump into Paul McCartney (we live in the same neighbourhood) I will mention it to him.