In the previous essay we introduced the Mitzva to emulate HaShem’s character
traits. One of the most obvious ways in which we can do this is emulating
HaShem’s limitless kindness. HaShem constantly showers every individual
with numerous gifts, indeed the basic gift of life is priceless. We do not
necessarily recognize HaShem’s kindness in this way because we get used to
all the gifts that He bestows on us. However, anyone who is unfortunate
enough to temporarily lose the use of one of their five senses, or of any
limb, can communicate the great appreciation they felt in the moments after
Therefore, when a person performs an act of kindness he is fulfilling the
Mitzva of emulating HaShem. (It is very important to note that when
performing any Mitzva a person should try to have intent that he is
performing G-d’s will, without such intent it may well not be considered as
if he has fulfilled the Mitzva). This begs the question that there seems to
be another Mitzva that also pertain very much to the idea of kindness; that
is the MItzva of ‘love your neighbor as yourself’. As we discussed in the
section on that Mitzva, one aspect of the Mitzva is to perform kindness.
What then is the significance of the fact that there are two different
Mitzvot for one action?
One answer to this question is that the purpose of the Mitzvot mean that
there are times when one applies and the other does not. For example, the
Mitzva of ‘love your neighbor’ only involves performing kindness to our
fellow man, but not to other creatures such as animals. However, treating
animals in a kind fashion does fulfill the Mitzva of emulating HaShem
because it involves the character trait of kindness.
In the coming essay we will discuss further differences between the two Mitzvot.