In this week’s Torah portion, we are taught a few stories which display Abraham’s extraordinary kindness. The commentators teach us that Abraham is the paradigm of kindness and as being one of the Fathers of the Jewish nation, he bequeathed this kindness into the fiber of the Jewish People.
The Torah portion begins by telling us that on the third day after Abraham’s circumcision at the age of 99, G-d reveals himself to Abraham in order to visit him when he is sick and recovering from circumcision. G-d made it an exceedingly hot day so there wouldn’t be any travelers that would bother Abraham, but Abraham was distressed that he was not having any guests. G-d saw his distress and sent him angels disguised as humans. Abraham saw the angels coming and asked G-d to wait for him while he went and took care of the needs of his guests.
The commentaries teach us that from this story we can learn a few important lessons on how to practice kindness. Firstly, we should practice kindness even if we have to sacrifice to do so. For Abraham, the greatest pleasure possible was to have divine revelation yet he interrupted this revelation in order to help his guests. Another lesson that we can derive is that when we practice kindness, we should get involved to the degree that we derive pleasure from helping other people. We can learn this from Abraham who derived such great pleasure from helping people that when he did not have any guests he was pained (although he was in the process of recovering from his circumcision at such an old age).
So there was a time when G-d would intervene and ease people's boredom by sending beings to play-act all day as if they are weary tavellers? And yet now G-d can't be bothered to prevent the senseless and vicious beheading of innocent people engaged in peace-bringing? Not very comforting at all. We are the definition of G-d-foresaken.