What are some examples in the Talmud where it tells a story of one of the sages from the time of the Mishna or Gemara showing exceptional kindness that could be a good example to other people?

For this question, "exceptional" refers to behavior beyond that which the average person would do. For example, while an average person might give a homeless person some money, exceptional behavior would be to go out of one's way to provide extra goods for them or invite them into their house. And "good example" just means "good role model" here. For example, "This sage only slept 4 hours so he could make sure that he could cut enough firewood for the orphanage, let's learn from him to try harder to help orphans."

  • Pirkei Avot, for one lists several examples of being a Hassid, which in that context means someone who does more than the required halacha (not a person with a shtreiml and beard.) Midat Chassidut is generally encouraged. I think if you look there and extract a specific example of midat chassidut and apply this to your question, you may get better answers. Your definition of "above and beyond" seems vague. – DanF Aug 17 '18 at 14:45

Mar Ukva and the pauper

The Talmud (Ketuboth 67b) tells an amazing story that teaches us to what extent a person must go to avoid putting another human being to shame. The Talmud relates that an extremely poor person lived in the neighbourhood of Mar Ukva, one of the Rabbis of the Talmud. The Rabbi would daily leave four coins behind the pauper's door so that the pauper did not know who his benefactor was. In this way, he would not be embarrassed if he met him. However, the pauper was curious to know who was being so kind to him. One day he decided to wait for his benefactor to arrive, so that he could catch him in the act and see who he was. That particular day, says the Talmud, Mar Ukva was late for the study hall and when he delivered the coins he was walking together with his wife. When the pauper saw the coins being delivered, he came out to see who was there. Mar Ukva and his wife sensed that they were being followed so they ran away and jumped into a hot stone oven to hide there. Mar Ukva's feet started to burn on the stones, whereas his wife's feet were unharmed. His wife said to him, "Put your feet on mine" and in this way he was saved from further burns. But Mar Ukva felt bad that this miracle had only happened to his wife and not to him. She explained to him that she merited this miracle because the level of loving kindness of her charity was greater than his. "I am at home and I provide food for the needy to eat immediately. But you give them money and they have to go themselves and buy food." Asks the Talmud, "Why did Mar Ukva and his wife have to run and hide in a hot stone oven?" The Talmud answers, "Because a person should rather let oneself get thrown into a burning furnace than put another person to shame".

source shemayisrael.com

  • 1
    I don't think this is really the best example. Plus the person who went "beyond" in this story was Mar Ukva's wife, who doesn't exactly fit the picture of "sages from the Talmud". – ezra Aug 17 '18 at 4:12
  • @ezra Well then, what is the best example? You're free to add an answer! – Aaliyah Aug 17 '18 at 18:51
  • @Aaliyah Unfortunately I'm not as well-versed with the many aggados and therefore I don't know of a better example, myself. – ezra Aug 17 '18 at 19:05

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