Cheering up a person is a Mitzvah. Our Forefather Avraham Avinu / Abraham’s essence was to do kindness. The Torah says that Jews in General are exemplary in three traits “Mercy, Bashfulness and Kindness.”
A kind person searches for ways and opportunities to help others. In the Torah Abraham, was talking with G-d, when he saw angels disguised as three Arabs. “And he (Avraham) said My master – if I have found grace in Your eyes – do not pass by Your servant” One opinion said he was speaking with to Hash-m / G-d asking him – please bear with me a moment – as I would like to invite these guests. Another opinion says he was talking to the leader of the Arabs to ask him to join him for a meal. Avraham’s kindness extended to even to His words. He made the guests feel like they were doing him a favor by accepting his hospitality.
Avraham’s tent was open on all sides for guests to enter from any direction to receive free food, drink and lodging.
A Story from the Talmud illustrates how one can do kindness with their G-d given talents:
Once a rabbi met Eliyahu, Hanavi / Elijah the Prophet in the market place. He took the opportunity to ask him some questions: “Out of All the people in this marketplace, who will receive a place in the World to Come?” (ie, Heaven) Eliyahu looked around and said “No one.” Everybody was busy with their own business. He looked a bit more and said “wait – those two men over there will receive a place in heaven.” The rabbi, went over to the two men to find out their secret why they deserved heaven – “Excuse me sirs, is there any special kind deed that you do?” They replied “We make Jokes – when we see people that are upset or down – we go to them and cheer them up. We don’t leave them until – they are cheered up.” The rabbi understood why they deserved such a reward.
There are various levels of doing kindness. Let’s take for example the kindness of giving Tzedaka / Charity to a poor person or Torah organization. One level is to disregard the person’s plea for a dollar. A Higher level is to give a dollar grudgingly. A higher level is to appease the person with words. A Higher level is to give money graciously and make him feel good – “I’m sorry that you are in this situation. Here is something small for you. I hope your situation will improve.” The higher level is to give a person a job or business that he will be able to support himself. One of the Highest levels is to be pro-active – to search out people to help out.
The Torah outlook is such: When a poor person extends a hand or a representative of a Torah organization makes a personal appeal – the least a person can do – for the effort they made is not to leave him without giving at least something.
Bikur Holim is the name of an organization of people that – among other things – goes to Jewish people in hospitals and provides them with Kosher food, and Jewish needs, and just goes to cheer them up. They are proactive. We have many talents to help others. Using our talents to help others in their material situation is how we rise in spirituality.
In the marketplace – everyone was busy with themselves. They did not look at the others to be able to reach out and help them – but were looking to gain, or buy or sell. The comedians in the marketplace were not busy solely with their interests – they were looking to help the other person. They were looking to do the kindness of cheering up others and make them laugh. They were concerned about others – thus they deserved a place in heaven.