Aside of the specific duties mentioned already, there are other obligations that are included in the mitzvah of Gemilut Chassadim.

The determinative factor of chessed, thus of Gemilut Chassadim, is the personal involvement (as explained above, chapter 1).The mitzvah of Gemilut Chassadim is not fulfilled by simply alleviating some need by material assistance. The true meaning of this mitzvah is best expressed by the Rabbis when they said: "It does not say 'happy is he who gives to the poor,' but 'happy is he who considers the poor.’ (Psalms 41:2)1

Empathy, sympathy, sincere consideration, is much more important than material assistance. A Talmudic proverb reads: 'the man who shows his teeth white (i.e., a cheerful countenance) to his fellow, is better than he who gives him milk to drink2.’ Even when giving another all the good gifts in the world, but doing so with a downcast face, Scripture accounts it as though nothing has been given. Conversely, when welcoming another with a cheerful countenance, though unable to give him anything, Scripture accounts it as though all the good gifts in the world had been given3.

We are enjoined to perform charity with speech, that is, to speak kindly to the poor and to encourage them, as it is written: "by virtue of this davar ('this matter'; but may also be translated ‘this word’), G‑d, your G‑d, will bless you (Deuteronomy 15:10)4”.

On the scale of degrees in the extension of tzedakah and Gemilut Chassadim, therefore, the highest level is attained by the one who enables the needy to retain their fullest self-respect and self-confidence, and unobtrusively helps them to become self-supporting5.

Consideration, sympathy, a kind word and friendly greeting, sound counsel and encouragement, these are the essence of Gemilut Chassadim.