18 Jewish Quotes (+ One from the Dalai Lama) on Kindness

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This is a collection of 18 Jewish Quotes (+ One from the Dalai Lama) on Kindness. 

The purpose of these quote collections is to share Jewish wisdom and give bite-size moments of inspiration in our busy, engaged lives.

When we think about the quality of kindness, we think about awareness of and consideration for others, friendliness and generosity.  It’s easy to think that kindness is just being nice.  But kindness is something deeper than niceness.  Actively being kind means doing intentional, voluntary acts of kindness. 

Our modern understanding of psychology frames voluntary acts of kindness as food for our body, mind and spirit. Helping others simultaneously benefits ourselves, and the empathy and compassion built-in to performing acts of kindness has positive effects on self-esteem and mood. Everyone benefits!

Key to kindness is not holding expectations of receiving anything in return. We might think of some people who seem to naturally embody this quality of being, but it is also simple to cultivate through intentional action.

Kindness is always an option, even in the most challenging situations.  Bonus is, it is also free and simple, fantastic for our health and endlessly positive for everyone involved. 

Before we head into the Jewish texts, I wanted to share a lovely quote on the topic of kindness from the Dalai Lama

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

— Dalai Lama

Gendered language 

These original texts often use male-gendered language. We’ve preserved the original language out of respect to the text, but these quotes can easily be read with other gendered pronouns and reclaimed for one’s own story. 

These quotes are from the following Jewish texts: The Tanakh, the Babylonian Talmud, the Palestinian Talmud, the Mishnah Torah, Avot de Rabbi Natan, Peninei Halacha, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and Exodus Rabbah.

Sotah 14a

One of the recurrent themes is God’s kindness- He begins and ends His Torah with acts of kindness towards Man- providing clothing, and burying the dead.

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Sukkah 49b

Acts of kindness are perceived to be better than charity- it is a more comprehensive type of giving. 

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Berachot 60b

We pray to be graced with God’s kindness and kindness from our fellow man every day

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Shabbat 127a

The Talmud views acts of kindness as one of those rare deeds that a person profits from in this world and the World to Come

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Sukkah 49b

The Talmud interprets Micah 6:8 as referring to acts of kindness, equating mercy with kindness.

Shabbat 104a

Kindness is more than doing good when the opportunity presents itself. It involves actively going out and pursuing opportunities to do good.

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Berachot 8a

Acts of kindness are so powerful that they are compared to redemption

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Misha Torah, Hilkhot Daot 5

Kindness is an essential part of being a scholar

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Hagiga 12a

Kindness is one of the foundations of the world

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Shabbat 127b

The Talmud seeks to define acts of loving kindness and includes in it hospitality and visiting the sick

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Ketubot 66b

Kindness can help you save money

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Avot De Rabbi Natan 34:8

Kindness is essential to life

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Yerushalmi Peah Chapter 1:1:20

Even works of kindness are greater than charity

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Penini Halacha Moadim 13:12:3

The primary purpose of the Torah is to encourage kindness

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Acts of kindness are eternal

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Acts of kindness stand at the foundation of the world

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The daughter of Pharaoh’s act of kindness was so great that it is enshrined in Moses’s name

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God’s kindness is eternal

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Those who live a life of kindness are sheltered by God

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Hope enjoyed these 18 Jewish Quotes (+ One from the Dalai Lama) on Kindness.

In the comments below, please add your favorite quote on kindness!

If you are looking for more inspiration, you might enjoy the below quote collections:

This is my collection of Ultimate Pirkei Avot Quotes on Humility, Action, and Relationships.

Pirkei Avot is one of sixty-three tractates of the Mishnah, a foundational Jewish text which was codified by the 3rd century C.E.. Unlike the other 62 tractates which focus on legal instruction, Pirkei Avot is a collection of ethics and moral insight from revered Jewish sages, including famous names like Hillel the Elder, Rabbi Akiva, and Shimon ben Gamaliel (president of the Great Sanhedrin). 

Here are 57 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes to guide us forward in this time of mourning. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1933-2020. Baruch Dayan Emet, literally meaning “blessed is the judge of truth”.

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