One of the all time favorite vacation hot spots is the beauty and history of Greece. From ancient ruins to beautiful beaches, Greece attracts nearly 23 million tourists per year, contributing 18% of its GDP.

Lately however, Greece has been dominating many headlines for other reasons. Its debt being 180% of GDP and near economic collapse, Greece is on the brink of bringing down the Eurozone. Whether or not its creditors should give up some of their demands is much debated.

"What has all this got do with me?" you might ask. Being that everything in the world, down to international current events, occurs by divine providence, there is something to learn from everything. Something that we could use to make a relevant, positive change in our daily life.

Greece has a very long history, positive and negative, with the Jewish people. Alexander the Great befriended the Jewish High Priest in Jerusalem, even having his name "Alexander" adopted to this day a Jewish name. The story of Chanukah celebrates our victory of the ancient Greek army of Antiochus who wished to destroy us. The first language into which the Torah was ever translated was Greek, in the 3rd century. The Talmud even states that the only language able to properly carry over the profundity and depth of the Torah is Greek, calling it a "beautiful language". So what might we be able to learn from the Greece of today?

The Greek debt crisis got me thinking: is a creditor ever obligated to forgo a debt? In a broader context, should charity or any form of assistance, financial or otherwise, down to helping an old man cross the street, be seen as an obligation to another or as an superfluous gracious act of kindness?

This week's Torah portion discusses several Temple-era sacrifices. Rashi, the 11th century famed french bible commentator, sheds some insight into the deeper meaning of these sacrifices. For why would God need them? "It is a pleasure for God", says Rashi, "that He asked for something, and  His wishes were fulfilled". Simple, yet so powerful.

The mere fact the we do something just because God asked us to, that alone is the true value of the sacrifice. The fact that we are connected to God's commandments, not as a burdensome duty, but as chance to do something for God. Just as we value doing something for someone we love purely because it means something to them, far more than the actual act itself.

Lending a helping hand to anyone in any form is the most beautiful thing we can ever do. Yet it can be done as an action stemming from our desire to do something good and thus be essentially more of an expression of ourselves, or simply because we look into the eyes of the other and see a real human being there, and we want to be there for them

Whether or not Greece's creditors should relent some of their demands, we might just leave to the European Bank president to decide. But a lesson that I think can be taken from this saga is that acts of kindness are always beautiful. Yet the ultimate act of kindness is when our action stems from the other's needs and perspective, and therein alone lies the reason we do it.

Rabbi Avrohom