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Thursday, 16th August 2018

The Posuk (verse) in this weeks Torah portion states: "Righteousness, righteousness you shall pursue so that you will live and take possession of the land that Hashem (G-d), your G-d, gives you." Why does it need to say righteousness twice? We see often in the Torah that words are used to emphasise a point G-d is trying to get across! Being Righteous isn't enough in Hashem's eyes, one must be righteous and pursue righteousness!
A man has a favourite TV program, he prepares to sit down and watch. He prepares the perfect cup of tea or cold beer, he gets the TV to the perfect volume, he adjusts his chair to the perfect reclining position and he is ready to watch.
A few minutes into the program, it is interrupted with a commercial showing a thin black child in Africa, "This child like many others is starving day in day out and needs your help" reads the caption. "£2 per month is all we need!" 
The man feels sick with guilt but decides to do nothing about it. Day after day he gets the same guilt feeling when he sees the adverts and posters so decides to so something about it and gives the £2 per month! This is being righteous; he is fulfilling a mitzvah of giving charity after all.
However another story may help you understand the difference between being righteousness and pursuing righteousness.

A very wealthy man decides one day that he is bored of making his millions he wants to really change the world, he decides to take a year out to the African desert to help feed and educate hundreds of kids in a tiny village in Ethiopia, he invests hundreds and thousands of pounds to build schools and teach kids and to buy irrigation systems that will help grow crops that will feed the families in the village for years to come. Not only did he invest the money, he personally went there and invested time and effort to helping the cause of others. This is the difference between being righteous - ie doing the right thing - and pursuing righteousness.


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