The Power of Compassion

Parashat VaYishlah

According to Jewish theology, many things are precious to God, but compassion and kindness are precious above all else. A remarkable midrash imagines Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses all pleading with God to no avail. Only Rachel’s words pierce the heavens because she herself has displayed such remarkable mercy, even in the face of legitimate, understandable ambivalence. So great is compassion, Jewish theology tells us, that it has the power to break God’s heart open. (5775)