Seek Righteousness

The close relation of hesed is tsedek, righteousness or justice. This is a fit subject on Yom Kippur,the Day of Atonement. What is right? Why do we need to know… and in a culture that always moves the line of right and wrong, how should we standardize our behavior- in relation to each other and to God?

In tsedek there is an idea of what is fitting or correct, the customary, or seemly (Hebrew Lexicon). It is when something is as it should be, connotating a purposefulness. In its most basic sense there is the most minimum idea of what is right, which gives the mandate to make judgments based on that foundation. Maybe I would say that this righteousness is the foundation point of what can be considered to be right as opposed to what is wrong. There is a definite line in tsedek.

In ideas from BibleWiki’s texts taken from the Jewish Encyclopedia circa 1906, the relationship to hesed comes up,

Hosea marks another step in the evolution of the concept of righteousness. He would have righteousness potentialized by “ḥesed” (love, or mercy). Social justice as a matter merely of outward conduct,and manifest only in public adjustments of institutions and conditions, will not bring about the rejuvenescence of the nation. Inner repentance, spiritual consideration of one’s neighbor and brother, yielding love, not mechanical justice alone, are the components of righteousness (vi. 1-4, x. 12).

There is a concept that upon the base of learning, heeding, and doing what is right, one recognizes further the calls of covenants and relationships  which require a duty to love and have an open heart as expressed in hesed. To do things from love and kindness which then fulfills all the just duties of basic right and wrong in our actions because it goes beyond. All of the teaching of the New Testament is rooted in this concept of love fulfilling beyond all measures all that the law might require of a man.

But at the root is the idea of what is right and measuring oneself in proportion to what is right. Today is as good as any to scrutinize ones own actions and thoughts in light of that measure; how many tragedies might be averted by consideration and adjustment of our direction and desires on this day, or on many days with this one as a start?

If we won’t consider the lines of right and wrong and our place in the balance of things… we have only ourselves to blame. As for God ? He waits to be merciful and will not forget mercy within His covenant promises, hesed