1. Mitzvot between man and his fellow are of the basics of
    Judaism. This means to endeavor to benefit another, and to take
    care not to cause suffering to one’s fellow, as it says in the
    gemarah in massechet Yevamot that mercilessness and loving
    kindnesses are the purpose of Yisreal – see inside for further
  2. Although it is obvious that every Jew wants to benefit his
    fellow, and not cause him any harm, there are two errors often
    made in this area, causing many to stumble. The first is that
    many times when a person tries to do something good for his
    friend but doesn’t succeed, he thinks that it was a waste of time
    and he is discouraged from continuing to do similar acts in the
  3. This is a terrible mistake, proven by Avraham Avinu who put
    himself out so much to feed the angels, as is detailed in parshat
    Vayiera, and it is clear from the gemarah in Bava Metziah –
    chapter 7 – that in this merit when his children, the Yisraelites
    were in the desert for forty years, manna fell down for them, as
    well as many other things. This means that he received
    tremendous reward for his deeds; millions of people were fed
    miraculously with food from heaven every day for forty years!
    [This wasn’t even the entire reward – there was even more than
    this.] Yet when Avraham gave the angels to eat, in the simplest
    way to understand it, he wasn’t really benefiting them, since
    angels don’t need to eat. But he didn’t know that they were
    angels and therefore fed them. Through this test of giving to
    another he received such a huge reward.
  4. The explanation why there is such a great reward for trying
    to help another person, even if he didn’t succeed in benefiting
    him in the end, could be because he has the good will, and acts
    as a result of his desire to do good. The Chafetz Chaim says
    however, that there is an even greater additional point here, as
    we explained above, that the way the world runs is that
    whatever happens in the higher worlds is according to our
    behavior in this world, and according to what happens in the
    higher worlds there are results in this world. The Chafetz Chaim
    explains that whenever a Jew tries to do an act of kindness in
    this world, whether he succeeds in the matter or not, he
    awakens the attributes of kindness in the higher worlds, thereby
    bringing great goodness to the entire Jewish nation. It therefore
    follows that it is not possible that a person tries to do kindness
    but didn’t achieve anything; rather, whenever a person tries to
    perform loving kindnesses, he always brings kindnesses to other
    areas through awakening the attributes of kindness in the
    higher worlds.
  5. At any rate, as the Chafetz Chaim brings from Chazal, that
    when a person does perform the kindness and does benefit
    another, the mitzvah and the reward is much much greater.
  6. The second oft mistaken point in the area of the will to help
    and to hold back from hurting others, is that people think it
    refers only to big things and not small ones, for example there
    people who are very careful not to hurt others in a big way, but
    aren’t so careful not to hurt others in a small way, whereas in
    truth one needs to take care not to hurt others even in a very
    small way. The Chazon Ish writes in his collection of letters, that
    to hurt someone with words, even slightly and even for a short
    amount of time, is a Torah prohibition. This is something very
    difficult to take care in, but it is really a great obligation upon
    every person to try hard to do. Praiseworthy is the one who
    manages to be entirely vigilant in this area.
  7. As a result of this, when it comes to helping others, it need
    not be just in big matters. It is a mitzvah to do so in small
    matters too.
  8. A further important principle in this area is how very careful
    a person always has to be. Often when one is in a desperate, yet
    oft occurring situation, it is not always noticed by the world
    around him, but within his heart this person is broken to pieces.
    Someone who insults such a person, even very slightly, can
    greatly pain him, because it joins with the terrible pain already
    within him. The same is true of the opposite. One who merits
    gladdening such a person, even in a small way, can really
    transform the way he feels.
  9. On a similar vein, there is a story of a person who came to
    ask the Chazon Ish advice about some every day issues, some
    very petty matters. It was simply hard for this person to make
    decisions by himself, and all his doubts weighed heavily upon
    him. The Chazon Ish answered every single question. When the
    person apologized to the Chazon Ish for taking his time from
    important things for such insignificant matters, the Chazon Ish
    replied that even people who come to ask him about important
    worldly things, like purchasing a home etc. what he does for
    them is not the decision that he makes for them, rather the
    main help is that he puts their minds at rest through his advice.
    If so, then there really is no difference between them and this
    person who to calm his mind needed help deciding petty
    matters. From here we learn a fundamental principle. The
    mitzvah to help others and to refrain from hurting them applies
    even to small things. Even more than this, often small things are
    not small things at all, but really big matters, since in that
    particular area they can bring great pain or great happiness.
  10. The area of mitzvot between man and his fellow also applies
    to matters of spirituality. It is a tremendous mitzvah to help
    someone who is spiritually needy. When someone knows that
    his friend doesn’t understand a part of the gemarah well and
    requires help, it is a great mitzvah to help him. It is clear from
    Chazal that through this the helper himself will also merit great
    success in his studies.
  11. Furthermore there is the point explained earlier, that every
    time that a Jew learns Torah or performs a mitzvah, he helps the
    entire Jewish nation. Through his Torah study or mitzvah
    performance the upper worlds are established and bounties of
    goodness and spiritual and physical blessings come down to the
    Jewish nation. This is especially when a person for some reason
    finds it hard to learn, and he could choose to stop learning, yet
    he takes hold of himself and continues further because he has
    mercy on those suffering and wants to help them with his
    learning. This is definitely considered a very great mitzvah
    between man and his fellow. [Obviously every mitzvah between
    man and his fellow is also between man and Hashem too, since
    Hashem commanded that he do it.