Yeshayahu Fifty-One: Righteousness

“Hearken to Me, you pursuers of righteousness, you seekers of the Lord; look at the rock whence you were hewn and at the hole of the pit whence you were dug (Isaiah 51:1).” I’m intrigued by the term pursuers of righteousness. To pursue is an active verb, which I associate with seeking, chasing, and meaningfully, intentionally moving towards something. In this case, the goal is righteousness. I take this to mean that we can’t be passive in this endeavor. If we sit around and do the right thing when the opportunity arises, it’s great. There’s nothing wrong with that. But what we’re being called here, what we’re supposed to be, is a people that actively seek to be righteous, to live and act in accordance with this trait. We’re supposed to work, to constantly strive to be even more virtuous, upstanding, and just. In this verse, pursuing righteousness and seeking God are linked together. I see this as meaning that there’s holiness in pursuit of the best version of ourselves. When we better ourselves, it leads us closer to God.

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