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M1. Pursuing Righteousness & Doing What Is Right.    [Make a Comment]

We are to pursue righteousness, i.e. determining what is right and doing it.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed be He):

Key Scriptures

Genesis 6:9
Here is the history of Noach. In his generation, Noach was a man righteous and wholehearted; Noach walked with God.

Genesis 18:19
For I have made myself known to him, so that he will give orders to his children and to his household after him to keep the way of ADONAI and to do what is right and just, so that ADONAI may bring about for Avraham what he has promised him.

Exodus 15:25b-26
There ADONAI made laws and rules of life for them, and there he tested them. He said, "If you will listen intently to the voice of ADONAI your God, do what he considers right, pay attention to his mitzvot and observe his laws, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians; because I am ADONAI your healer."

Deuteronomy 6:17-18
Observe diligently the mitzvot of ADONAI your God, and his instructions and laws which he has given you. You are to do what is right and good in the sight of ADONAI, so that things will go well with you, and you will enter and possess the good land ADONAI swore to your ancestors ...

Deuteronomy 6:25
It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to obey all these mitzvot before ADONAI our God, just as he ordered us to do.

Deuteronomy 12:28
Obey and pay attention to everything I am ordering you to do, so that things will go well with you and with your descendants after you forever, as you do what ADONAI sees as good and right.

Matthew 5:6
How blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness! for they will be filled.

Matthew 5:10
How blessed are those who are persecuted because they pursue righteousness! for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.w

Matthew 5:20
For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P'rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 13:43
Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let him hear!

Luke 2:25
There was in Yerushalayim a man named Shim'on. This man was a tzaddik, he was devout, he waited eagerly for God to comfort Isra'el, and the Ruach HaKodesh was upon him.

Luke 6:33
What credit is it to you if you do good only to those who do good to you? Even sinners do that. MitzvahQuoteParagraph(John 5:28-29, , Don't be surprised at this; because the time is coming when all who are in the grave will hear his voice and come out - those who have done good to a resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to a resurrection of judgment.)

Supportive Scriptures
1 Kings 3:6, 15:11
Isaiah 3:10, 26:7-9, 33:15-16, 48:18, 51:1, 56:1, 61:10
Jeremiah 6:16a; 22:3
Hosea 10:12, 14:9(8)
Amos 5:24
Habakkuk 2:4
Zephaniah 2:3
Psalms 1:5-6, 5:12(11), 7:8(7), 14:5, 15:1-5, 31:1, 32:11, 33:5, 34:15(14), 19(18), 37:5, 16-17, 21, 45:7(6), 55:22(21), 92:12(11), 106:3, 143:1, 146:8
Proverbs 10:2-3, 6-7, 16, 20, 32, 11:4-6, 9, 18, 12:28, 14:12, 34, 15:9, 16:8, 21:2-3, 22:6
Job 27:6
Daniel 12:3
2 Chronicles 31:20
Romans 1:17, 3:20-22, 5:19, 6:13, 10:4
2 Corinthians 5:21, 6:14-16, 9:10
Ephesians 6:14
Philippians 4:8
1 Thessalonians 5:15
1 Timothy 6:11
2 Timothy 2:22, 3:15-16
Hebrews 12:11
James 1:20, 3:18, 4:17, 5:16
1 Peter 2:24, 3:12, 14
1 John 3:7


Righteousness is the quality of being morally right or justifiable. A righteous man always seeks to do what is right but, if he errs in innocence, he remains righteous because his character in desiring to do right is unchanged. Similarly but opposite, a man of unrighteous character can stumble into doing things that are right from time to time but, if his character is unchanged, he remains unrighteous.

This Mitzvah anticipates times when doing the right thing seem risky due to possible adverse consequences that we foresee and fear, or at least would prefer to avoid. At such times of decision we are tempted to disregard what we know is right and, instead, do what seems safest. The foregoing Scriptures call us instead to faith, and to three simple steps: (1) Determine what's right; (2) Do it; (3) Trust God to take care of the consequences. These steps are exemplified by Esther's heroism in Esther 4:7-16, and are the natural follow-through from 2 Corinthians 5:7 that reminds us:

for we live by trust, not by what we see.

Or, as the New King James Version translates the Greek:

We walk by faith, not by sight.

The Bible, beginning to end, describes the righteous character of God, and exhorts us to aspire to be like him - righteous. There are so many Scriptures supporting this Mitzvah that I have elected to save space by printing out the text of those from the Torah and the Gospel books, and only citing the others by chapter and verse.

Classical Commentators

This Mitzvah is not addressed by any of the Jewish classical commentators.


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