This week's Torah portion is called Shoftim, which means Judges. It is taken from Deuteronomy 16:18 through 21:9 and it deals with matters of how the nation of Israel was to be managed and ruled. One major issue that G-d brought to the attention of the Israelites was that every sacrifice they made must be perfect. Today, we go to church for one hour a week and we feel that we have done our "religious duty." If we give an offering, we equate it to a sacrifice and if we tithe, we feel so self righteous.
The single verse that leaps out of this portion is from Deuteronomy 16:20:"Righteousness, Righteousness shall you pursue, so that you will live and possess the Land that the Almighty your G-d, gives you." In Hebrew, the word righteous is not an adjective, as it is in English. Rather, it is a verb; an active verb at that. To live in righteousness is not just an attitude, it requires a commitment to pursue the ways of G-d followed by action that demonstrates this commitment. Pious Orthodox Jews are referred to as Chassidic; it is from the Hebrew word Chesed, which means "righteous." They are noticeable to us by their dress, but to each other by their lifestyle. So should be our reputations, as we live according to the will of the Father as demonstrated by His Son.