I have explained before that the best place to find answers to our questions on this subject is to study the account the Torah provides of our Egyptian exile. It was in Egypt where we encountered the first Holocaust – we were placed in hellish labor camps, beaten and tortured. And then Pharaoh came up with his satanic“final solution,” decreeing that every male Hebrew infant be murdered.
Our Torah teaches that our people were saved from this butcher’s clutches because of the chesed and rachamim our ancestors displayed to each another. Every person felt the pain of his fellow, and despite the fact that all were equally tormented they sublimated their own suffering to give courage and hope to their brethren. Our ancestors lived under bestial conditions, and though they may have forgotten the majestic heritage of Yaakov, the laws of chesed and rachamim remained forever engraved on their hearts.
When Hashem sees that we are united in loving compassion, we merit His miraculous intervention. It was this weapon that broke the iron chains of Egyptian bondage. And so it was throughout our history. The forthcoming festival of Purim is yet another testimony to this timeless truth.
However, it is not only in the world arena that we need the healing balm of chesed. Internal strife, jealousy, hatred, greed, corruption, immorality – all of these have torn our families, our communities and our institutions asunder. It is for this reason that I have dedicated my recent columns to chesed and rachamim – pillars of our faith that can heal us of our pain and bring salvation from above.