Our Sages of blessed memory taught that performing acts of chessed is greater than tzedakah in three ways: 1. Tzedakah is done only with one’s money, while doing chessed can be done with both his money and his body; 2. tzedakah is only with the poor, while doing chessed can be done with both the poor and the wealthy; and 3. tzedakah can only be done with the living, while doing chessed can be done with both the living and the dead. Up to this point of this work we have dealt with the mitzvah of tzedakah and doing chesed with one’s money. We now turn to address how to do chessed with one’s body.
“Doing chessed with one’s body” includes any activity whereby a person exerts his body in order to help another person. These activities include: hosting guests, visiting the sick, bringing joy to a bride and groom, escorting the dead and several other activities, as will be explained later.