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What is the difference between kindness and compassion?

Kindness gives to another.

Compassion knows no “other.”

By Tzvi Freeman
From the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory; words and condensation by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman. Subscribe and get your dose daily. Or order Rabbi Freeman’s book, Bringing Heaven Down to Earth, click here.
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Alice Sood Torrance January 8, 2016

So much conveyed in few words...the significance of kindness and compassion...
Thanks for these beautiful words of wisdom! Reply

Gershon Hoffman Las Vegas January 8, 2016

Profound beyond words. Reply

farah sajid pakistan January 8, 2016

New Thank you Rabbi, i never think so deep like you,again thank you for give us bright talk with deep thought of life. Reply

Daniel Minneapolis April 25, 2015

Kindness may be the root, while compassion may be a spiritual feeling. Reply

Susie Kahn Parker Northridge, CA November 13, 2011

Compassion Thank you, "anonymous in Lawrence, NY"! I think I now grasp it. But I have been enjoying the other thought-provoking comments as well. As someone who doesn't have knowledge of Hebrew, and only basic knowledge of Talmud, as an adult, I find that these ideas turn around in my head in some sort of "mystical dance".
I get so much from my "Daily Dose"! Reply

Zalman brooklyn, NY November 11, 2011

RE: Which one is greater As the writing implies that Compassion is greater and some don't see that much of a distinction. This might help.

We usually think of Love as the deepest feeling we can have for another. But this is because we see compassion as a shallower "I feel bad for you" emotion. That compassion is in fact lower than love and comes with a strong sense of superiority.

Kindness is when I give what I have to someone in need or someone I love. Either way, there is always some sense (perhaps super subtle) of my superiority. I am a giver

True compassion is when you connect at a level within yourself that is so deep it transcends your individuality. With that compassion, you can share with one whom you otherwise dislike or one who is (intellectually and emotionally) undeserving of kindness just as easily as giving to someone you love. Reply

yehuda st louis, mo November 9, 2011

kindness and compassion Kindness seems to be shared and compassion seems to be personally internal. Reply

Daniel staten island, ny November 9, 2011

my idea Kindness maybe the act of doing. Sharing with others or recieving from others.

Compassion is the feeling of oneness with another, feeling anothers desires and catering to them.


Kindess is the act (the physical aspect)
compassion is the feeling. (the spirtual aspect)

One goes hand and hand with the other
The soul guides the body Reply

F. Reison Kingston November 9, 2011

Connecting the dots in our universe ... IF kindess implies a movement outward ... like painting a straight line ...

then does compassion imply reception, in inward acceptance?

or is Compassion both at the same time? representing an outward movement & an inward alignment, like a geometry, a figure 8;

an 'om' ;

in hebrew, a 'hey', that contains an 'om' symbol within in borders ...

Gateway & destination; & then further movement of kindness ...

...cosmic seeds bearing fruit?


the daily dose & the community of comments here is truly ... a breakfast of champions!! Reply

Anonymous Forest Hills, NY/USA November 9, 2011

Compassion I am not able to understand right at the beginning either. The rabbi's explanation helps. But I have to confess I do not know exactly whether I distinguish the 2 matters. I just trust Hashem that He makes me a kinder, a more sensitive, a better person to whosoever I come in contact with. Reply

Anonymous Efrat, Israel November 9, 2011

kindness/compassion To my mind they are the same, where compassion includes feeling more empathy. Reply

Anonymous lawrence, ny November 9, 2011

Re: Susie I like your take on this, though I believe that it is something much simpler than that. Compassion is the type of giving that is free of pride. Kindness is sympathy while compassion is empathy. Compassion FEELs someone elses lacking and gives rather than to kindness, which SEEs someone else that doesnt have and gives. One thing sees another, but two things feel together, creating unity.
That's just my $.02.
Thanks Reb Tzvi,
Have a great day everyone! Reply

Anonymous Nadi Town, Fiji November 9, 2011

Compassion I read about what compassion is. It's good to know. Thanks(Vinaka) Reply

Susie Kahn Parker Northridge, CA November 9, 2011

Kindness and Compassion I have been reading and re-reading these two sentences, trying so hard to grab some understanding. I'm thinking that when one considers "kindness" and "compassion" they can be taken to be different kinds of tzedakkah, as described by Maimonides. Kindness can be given "first person to second", while "compassion" can be as part of the highest level of tzedakkah: the giver does not know the recipient, and the recipient does not know the donor. I shall return to the "daily dose" and peruse it over and over until I get some real understanding. If anyone can "enlighten me", please do! Reply

Michal Tittling, Germany November 9, 2011

To "high" for me to understand For me kindness is more than compassion.
I try to be good (and in this emulating G-d)
to everybody. It does not depend on my feeling, but on the need of my (brother/sister/stranger) at the very moment. Compassion is a feeling. I have compassion with people, because there was an earthquake or a flood, and it happens far away. It does not mean I can do anything.
Only in the love to my husband s"l there was no "you". His pain was my pain, and his joy was my joy. How can I ever be so near to anyone else in the world? So, how can compassion be something higher than kindness??? - And with Hashem, I don't long for compassion, I long for His love. This love is kindness at the same time.
Is there something wrong in my thinking? - Reply

Monty Efrat, Israel November 9, 2011

kindness / compassion Not sure I understand this. Reply

Vitaly Russia September 25, 2009

Regarding the Mr. Freeman's reply to Laura Dear. Mr. Freeman,
Could you please tell, who is an author of the quote you placed here? From your reply I doubt that the author is you, since in the case of compassion you continue to speak of "I" and "she", "you" and "her"... Anyway, thank you very much indeed for placing it!
As for me, I see Compassion in the following verse:
"Singing songs,
Reciting poems,
Playing ball together in the fields,
Two people, ONE HEART."
From Russia with Love and Compassion! Reply

henk Buffalo, NY December 11, 2008

one complements the other without any doubt, we all need each other, none of us are any least important than the other, so why are there so many today who walk around as if they are? the status they have in society, did they accomplish these things on their own or were they given talents others were deprived of in order to see how they would make use of them? why are so many with talents caring more about how they can impress and fit in with those like themselves rather than mingle with those who lack abilities in order to reveal to them what they have been given? Reply

Laura Caracas, Miranda/Venezuela December 11, 2008

Response Yes, It does!
Thanks. Reply

Anonymous December 5, 2008

one complements the other and each need the other Reply