Chesed Ve’emet

Loving Kindness and Truth

The Biblical concepts of Ahavat Chesed Ve’emet require us as Jews to respond to our fellow human beings with loving kindness and integrity.

Emet, the principle of truthfulness and integrity requires us to confront the facts of life however difficult or painful these may be. We must be honest with ourselves. It is dishonest to assert that STIs are not issues within the Jewish community. This is to indulge in wishful thinking to the effect that we are somehow protected from STIs by our status as G-d’s Chosen People. The truth, the Emet, is that these issues affect everyone, it is not who you are, it is what you do that defines what affects you in your life.

“What you do speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

STIs do not respect religion, age, sex, race, nationality, marital status or sexual orientation.

The principle of Ahavat Chesed – of loving-kindness – indicates the attitude towards people with STIs that we, as Jews, need to adopt. We are required to be humane, compassionate and caring, and to reject expressions of fear, hatred, condemnation and disgust. It helps if we can resolve to regard them as illnesses, rather than a disgrace. Chesed imposes on us the obligation to treat people with STIs in precisely the same manner as we would treat people with other illnesses – to alleviate their suffering, to provide consistent and loving support, and to do all we can to ensure that they are not additionally burdened by individual or social prejudice and discrimination, especially our own.

Ahavat Chesed Ve’emet requires us to inspire our society with a perspective on STIs which reflects the eternal Jewish principles of compassion and truth.