The Bostoner Rav Shlita (Har Nof) once related a true-to-life incident. You are driving along the highway in the slower, right lane, trying to get into the middle lane. Car after car in the middle lane whizzes past, until one car, noticing your signal slows down enough, and through your rear view mirror, you see a hand in back of a windshield waiving you in! Yes, there are still some good people in this world, you think, as you smile slightly at your success.
Then, the unexpected happens. Only a few brief moments pass as you too whiz to arrive at your destination, when--there it is--the signal of a car in the right lane trying to get into your middle lane. What may have otherwise been your natural reaction to "leave him to his fate" does not even enter your mind, as you instinctively slow down, smile, and waive him in! Indeed, it is more than likely that the gentleman you let in will do the same thing to another unsuspecting Chesed recipient just a few moments later.
Why is this so? Because, the Bostoner Rav teaches, Chesed is contagious. Not only do pleasant smiles and cheerful moods travel, but the sound waves of voice travel even louder and farther. A kind word to Reuven translates into a special praise to Shimon, who relates a compliment to Levi, who then may even go so far as to thank his wife for a great dinner, who will then thank her son for behaving so nicely--all thanks to that fine young Reuven! Indeed, in a masterful Hakhel Shiur on the Sefira period, Rav Zev Smith, Shlita, noted that "Chesed B'Dibbur"--Chesed in speech--is the primary Bein Odom L'Chaveiro to work on during this time, both because of its remarkable effects on the single individual to whom it is addressed (experience has shown that a kind word can literally lift up a person's spirits for hours), and because of its truly dynamic repurcussions, as the kind or encouraging word or compliment migrates and travels in various forms, shapes and sizes from person to person and even across the globe in a matter of minutes or hours. So much so, that we may suggest that yet another reason that telephones were invented in our days, as opposed to the times of the Shlomo HaMelech (the wisest of all men), or the Neviim, is because Hashem is giving us the opportunity to speed our Geula along by qualitatively and geometrically increasing our acts of "Ahavas Chinam" to each other.
PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: Once a day, for the remainder of Sefira, initiate an unsolicited, unexpected kind or encouraging word or compliment--even to someone you don't even know. You never know what its effects may be--it may even travel 12,000 miles full circle by the next day--as you once again waive your hand in front of your windshield!
Reprinted with permission from Hakhel MIS