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On one hand we are taught that it is good to do Chesed (to do what someone asks you to do (as Rivka did)), on the other hand to be a sucker (frier) (to do everything you're asked to do, especially when the person asking can do it himself) is considered not good.

Are there jewish sources regarding how much chesed is too much?
Or that it is never too much?

  • Did Eliyezer have a vesal to take water himself? – hazoriz Nov 1 '18 at 11:37
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    Where is your assumption that being "sucker" is not good in Judaism? – Al Berko Nov 1 '18 at 11:55
  • @AlBerko it is a guess (in the end of my question i wrote "that it is never too much?") – hazoriz Nov 1 '18 at 11:56
  • I don't recall the source, but the Gemilath in Chesed (e.g. Gomel Chasodim Tovim) comes from the same root as to wean - the idea being that the aim of genuine Chesed is to make the recipient independent on the long run. (As in: teach him how to fish). As opposed to Cheshed shel Emeth that hs no such goal. – Danny Schoemann Nov 1 '18 at 11:56
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    R Tzaddok says too much chessed can lead to it's corruption, manifested as arayos (achoso the Torah calls chessed) – robev Nov 1 '18 at 12:50
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Definitely not:

Mishnah Peah (1,1) we say it daily in the morning prayer:

אלו דברים שאין להם שיעור:
הפאה...וגמילות חסדים ותלמוד תורה.:

These are the things that have no measure: Peah, Bikurim, the appearance-sacrifice, acts of kindness, and the study of the Torah.


Regarding the second part of being a sucker (סור מרע):

On the other hand, it is clear that Gmilut Chassadim should not come at expenses of other Mitzvos, so-called מצווה הבא בעבירה. For example, Shlom Bayt, Gezel, davening or other important Mitzvos.

One should also be careful not to bother or humiliate the other with Gmilut Chassadim, as too much of it can be perceived as forced or unwanted.

  • Addendum to you second pint judaism.stackexchange.com/q/85698/5120 – hazoriz Nov 1 '18 at 12:33
  • @hazoriz I didn't speak of מכיר טובה but one who bothers others too much, what we call חיבוק דוב. – Al Berko Nov 1 '18 at 16:07
  • Good answer, overall. I think one can explain that the concept of "chessed" refers to someone who extends kindness to others from his own desire to do so. If one feels forced or expects a reciprocal, or is being taken advantage of (assuming that he knows that he is) - these probably don't qualify as "chessed" in the first place. – DanF Nov 1 '18 at 18:18
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I don't have a source so this may be more suitable as a comment, I'm not sure.

I would say that sometimes there is a conflict between doing someone a kindness (especially if it's doing everything someone asks of you) and maintaining your responsibilities.

Giving a poor person money your family needs to pay rent is an obvious example. But there are more subtle ones, like doing so many kind things that your family rarely sees you, that you are unable to keep up with your schooling, or that you neglect your duties at work and are in danger of losing your job.

Searching sources I did find a Chabad.org article about a very rich man who gave away all his money and possessions so he could live as a poor person. The conclusion was that he certainly did good to a few people but could have done a lot more good in the world had he kept enough money and resources so he still had influence over public policy and so he could make more money to give away later.

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