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Parashat Tsav


King David said, “May goodness and kindness pursue me all the days of my life.”

What a strange expression! Goodness and kindness should pursue me, as though I was fleeing from them?!

The Torah tells us, “You shall pursue righteousness and justice.”

Many of us have things backwards. We pursue goodness and kindness for ourselves but leave righteousness and justice to somehow catch up with us. The Torah dictates a different order. When we pursue virtue, then goodness and kindness will catch up to us.

If we asked people for their goal in life, many would say that it is to achieve happiness. While this answer is certainly understandable, in the end it is a fool’s errand. Happiness is the by-product of life’s achievements and the slogan “Don’t worry, be happy” isn’t helpful.

The Torah, instead, says, “Man was created in order to toil.” The average person’s life is abundant with stressful and challenging events. When a person successfully overcomes them and makes his primary goal the pursuit of righteousness, justice and virtue, then goodness, kindness and happiness will be knocking down his door.