There is a Hebrew word, hesed, in the Bible. English readers are used to seeing it translated as “loving kindness”.
In Sacred Attunement, Michael Fishbane uses the word when he talks about “radical kindness” as a Jewish practice that goes beyond law and justice. The Torah does support social order, but hesed goes beyond that. Sometimes hesed has been subordinated to social order under the category of charity. But that is a mistake. Hesed is something altogether different.
It cannot be formalized or made into rules. It is giving, care and self-sacrifice. It contrasts to justice in that justice seeks balance and proportion, but hesed is excessive giving without expectation of reward or recognition.
It responds to a wound in the world. Sometimes it can help to heal the wound with forgiveness and reconciliation. But when the wound is too great for that (the Holocaust is probably what he is thinking about), it takes the form of remembering while keeping the principal of kindness alive.
Hesed is a letting go or relinquishment of possessions, ego, and hopes. As such, it is the practice of death.
In the Bible Job was divested of all these. At first Job responded with self-centered anger. But God spoke to him and asked him a series of ridiculous questions that Job could not answer without impossible cosmic knowledge. Then Job let go and recognized that he was only “dust and ashes”. So, even when his fortunes were restored, he had a new sense of detachment and was prepared for his mortal death.
This rabbinic interpretation of Job says that Job had to come to naught in order to find the selflessness that is expressed in hesed. He had to go through an ultimate divestment in order to arrive at kindness and love.
This radical kindness is based on finally seeing the living divine image “that appears to each person through the other.”
I am going to refrain from detailing how this might fit with a Christian understanding of what happened in Christ. Fishbane is thinking entirely within a Jewish framework. But it does show Judaism as far from the legalism that is part of many stereotypes. It shows how Christian and Jewish concepts and practice have much in common.