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Torah Commentary Blog

Parashat Vayishlach (December 11, 2016)
by Elizabeth Cooper

HENRY JAMES, THE 19TH CENTURY WRITER, once said “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” This remark, simple in structure and meaning, is difficult in execution. Acts of kindness often are instigated by other acts of kindness. We live in accordance with reciprocation and, thus, do good when good has been done to us. However, kindness should not be conditional (for the most part...). When one acts kindly in an unprompted circumstance, he or she has displayed greater courage and character than one who simply returns acts of kindness.

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