In page 9b, we learn the famous reasons for the destruction of the Second Temple. The Talmud famously tells us that the Temple was destroyed for senseless hatred- sinas chinum. The Talmud tells that the people were scrupulous in the mitzos, rituals, learning and ironically they were even careful in their acts of kindness- gemilus chasudum. However, despite being careful in acts of kindness they still displayed sinas chinum- senseless hatred. It is possible that hatred could conceivably exist with meticulous ritual… but chesed? How does hatred exist in the same person as chesed.
How is this possible? It makes no sense! How can one act kindly and be a bal chesed and yet still harbor hatred?
The SD would like to weigh in. There might have been individual or systematic acts of kindness, but there was NO ETHOS of kindness or compassion or love. There was no overarching emotional sensitivity and awareness of others. It is possible that the kind act is isolated in one’s psyche and does not pervade one soul. This exactly what the Torah wants us to promote. The Torah wants systemic kindness. Organic kindness. A kindness and concern that overwhelms. A real Jew is one who feels the pain of other and acts on the pain of others. It is pervasive in one’s being.
The work of the SD is to recognize that individual acts are not enough. It must be a culture or ethos of character elevation.