What It Means To Be A True Chasid*

Righteousness

Righteousness

The first command given to Man 1 [Adam] by G-d was to: "Be fruitful." 2 For the Lord G-d had formed Earthman out of the moistened dust of the ground, and it is by bringing forth fruit and multiplying the seed sown upon it that the ground may be said to be productive and "fruitful."

But there is no fruit from the earth without the ground first keeping the seed. And so the Lord G-d did something beautiful and right, He commanded "upon [al]" Earthman as one would lay seed "upon [al]" the ground [see The Hidden Wisdom of Bethlehem]. Then, the Lord G-d waited for Man to accept and keep the seed of His command, for within that seed was the will of G-d, which Man was to obey and thereby merit to be called "righteous [tzaddik]." Yes, within every command of the Lord G-d is His will.

We should know that "the Lord alone is righteous." 3 "O Lord God of Israel You are righteous" 4 and "to the Lord our God belongs all righteousness." 5 It is "the Lord" who is "our righteousness." 6 And we enter into the righteousness of the Lord through the obedience of keeping and doing all that He commands us to do. Thus, Moses said to "all Israel" 7 :

"It shall be our righteousness if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God as He commanded us" - Deuteronomy 6:25; ibid. 24:13, see also Psalm 24:3-5.
But only "in the Lord shall all of the descendants of Israel be made righteous," 8 and each one shall say that "only in the Lord do I have righteousness" - Isaiah 45:24.

What is it to be righteous? What does it mean to say that the Lord our G-d is righteous? First of all "God is Truth" 9 and as such He does all things rightly and perfectly well. Righteousness is Truth in action. For thus says the Lord: "I will be their God in Truth and in righteousness" because "the Lord lives in Truth, in judgment, and in righteousness" - Zechariah 8:8; Jeremiah 4:2. And because "he who speaks the Truth shows forth [his] righteousness" (Proverbs 12:17), therefore to speak righteousness is to speak the Truth:

"I the Lord speak righteousness [i.e., the truth], I declare things that are right" - Isaiah 45:19.

"You [the wicked] love evil more than good, and lying rather than to speak righteousness [i.e. to tell the truth]" - Psalm 52:3[5].

Thus, if it be said that the wicked man "loves evil...and lying," we may be sure that "a righteous man hates lying" and loves the Truth - Proverbs 13:5. For all the righteous "love the Truth" - Zechariah 8:19.

It is in His Truth and righteousness that "the Lord is a God of judgment" - Isaiah 30:18. And all His judgments are "righteous judgments" 10 executed in true justice because the Lord "brings forth judgment for the sake of Truth" - Isaiah 42:6. For "God Himself is a lover of Truth," 11 and He enables the righteous to do righteous judgment in behalf of His Truth - "before the Lord...comes to judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His Truth" - Psalm 96:13.

The first man to be called "righteous [tzaddik]" was Noah, 12 and "Noah was found righteous," 13 because "Noah did according to all God had commanded him" - Genesis 6:22; 7:5. For the foundation of all righteousness is the obedience of doing all that the Lord G-d commands. "O Lord...all Your commandments are righteousness!" - Psalm 119:172.

Within all the commandments of the Lord G-d is the blessed promise of eternal life for those who keep and do His commandments. For in the keeping and doing of His commandments is righteousness, and "righteousness is immortal" - Wisdom 1:15. Because "the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God," therefore "the righteous live forever, their reward is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the Most High" - Wisdom 3:1; 5:15. Our fathers knew that:

"Righteousness delivers from death" - Proverbs 10:2.
Thus, "the righteous even in his death has hope" - Proverbs 14:32, Literal Translation.

"Righteousness leads to life" - Proverbs 11:19.
Thus, "the labor of the righteous leads to life" - Proverbs 10:16.

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life" - Proverbs 11:30.
For "they who do the things that please Him shall receive the fruit of the Tree of immortality" - Sirach 19:19.

"The righteous live forever" - Wisdom 5:15.

The rightness of the Lord's righteousness is seen in all His doings, and in all His commands. We are made aware of that, when from the very beginning, we are told that "the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden" - Genesis 2:7. And that there "He made to grow out 14 of the ground [as from "seed"] every tree that is desirable [chamad] to the sight and good for food" - Genesis 2:8. "In the middle of the garden," He set "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" which was forbidden to Man, and alongside it "the tree of life [i.e., eternal life, see Genesis 3:22]" - Genesis 2:9. The Lord G-d then commanded Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil "for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" - Genesis 2:17. Thus, at the very center of the garden, the Lord set the Tree of life, and also the Tree of death because that was what the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil became to the disobedient. And is not our heart, from which are "the issues of life" 15 also at the center of our being?

It is written: "All Your commandments are righteousness" [Psalm 119:172] which means to say that all His commandments proceed from the mouth of the All-Righteous One who leads us to righteousness through His commandments. Had Adam and Eve obeyed the commandment of the Lord G-d, they would have merited to be called "righteous" through their obedience to His commandment. And they would have lived forever in the keeping of His righteous commandment, because it is also written: "O Lord You are righteous and...Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness" - Psalm 119:137,142.

The truth is that by the keeping of the seed of His commandment, Earthman would have brought forth from the ground of his heart a glorious Tree of the knowledge of G-d through obedience. Not so the wicked, not so the disobedient, "for if they do not obey, they shall perish by the sword (of death), and they shall die without knowledge" - Job 36:12.

They who do the will of G-d really get to know Him because they have pleased the Lord, and He relates to them as a Friend. From Abraham His "friend," the Lord kept no secret and He also confides in His faithful servants and prophets - Genesis 18:17; Psalms 25:14; Amos 3:7.

The wisdom of G-d is profound and yet it is made manifest in the simple and basic elements of His creation. When Earthman disobeyed, and discarded the seed of His command by taking and consuming the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he cast aside the seed with all its awesome potential, and chose instead to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. And in so doing, he rejected life and chose death because the objective of the full development of the seed is towards becoming fruit in the branches of the tree brought forth from it, but are not all fruits conditioned to disintegrate and decay? Well did Moses say to "all Israel," after he had given them the commandments and statutes of the Lord to keep: "choose life!" - Deuteronomy 30:19.

East of Eden in the garden called Paradise, Earthman was invited to enter the state of life everlasting, to be forever with the Lord G-d; but Earthman had first to keep the eternal seed of the Lord's command. We should not forget that the only way earth-matter, and all the inert and inanimate elements in it can enter into life is by keeping a seed.

It is they who keep and do His commandments who are called righteous by the Lord. Even a nation is "righteous" if that nation "keeps." Thus, it is said in Isaiah [26:2]: "The righteous nation that keeps the Truth." It is also the righteous who depart from evil and so it is they who understand because "to depart from evil is understanding [binah]" - Job 28:28. It is to the righteous that the Lord gives understanding for He is:

"God of righteousness and understanding" - 1QH [Hymns Scroll] Fragment 3:8, Dead Sea Scrolls.

And "by Your righteousness You do make them understand" - 11Q Psa Col. X1X.3 [Plea of Deliverance], Dead Sea Scrolls.

"A righteous man understands" because "a good understanding have those who do His commands" - Proverbs 21:12; Psalm 111:10. Therefore the Holy Scriptures say: "Keep the charge of the Lord your God to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances and His testimonies...that you may understand [sakal] in all that you do" - 1 Kings 2:3. "Do all that is written in the Law [Torah]...then you shall have good understanding [sekel]" - Joshua 1:8. Because "he who keeps the Law gets the understanding thereof" - Sirach 21:11. "Blessed are you righteous ones for to you are revealed the deepest secrets of the Law" - Zohar II.26a [Idra R.]; ibid. III.215a-215b.
Nevertheless, what is truly important is that "everyone who does the Law of the Lord shall be loved by Him" - Testament of Joseph [Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs] 11:2.

The greatest joy of the righteous is that "the righteous Lord loves righteousness," therefore "the Lord loves him who follows after righteousness" - Psalms 11:7; 33:5; 45:7[8]; Proverbs 15:9. Truly, "the Lord loves the righteous" - Psalm 146:8.

Uprightness

Uprightness

We know that the Lord is Righteous and that He loves righteousness. But we should also know that "the Lord is upright [yashar];" "good and upright is the Lord" - Psalms 92:15[16]; 25:8. We go from the obedience of being "righteous [tzaddik] to the constancy of being "upright [yashar]." For they who obey the commandments of the Lord and do righteousness day after day, and year after year, live a habitual life of righteousness. And in their righteousness they steadfastly think righteous thoughts, do rightly, speak rightly, and rightly observe all the commandments of the Lord, thus becoming upright before His eyes." The Lord loves the righteous," 16 but He delights in the upright and "takes pleasure in [their] uprightness," 17 because they have persevered in their righteousness. Thus, "the Lord hears the prayers of the righteous," 18 but "the prayer of the upright is His delight," 19 for having in righteousness steadfastly ordered their lives, the upright have received the power to graciously set in order their words of supplication before the Lord. "How powerfully sweet are upright [yosher] words!" - Job 6:25. Truly, "praise from the upright is beautiful!" - Psalm 33:1, Literal Translation. That is why it is written that "righteous lips are the delight of kings" (because righteous lips speak righteousness [i.e. the Truth]), and kings admire the Truth. But "all [lit. "each one of them"] love him who speaks uprightly [yesharim]" - Proverbs 16:13. It is because the Lord G-d delights in the awesome beauty and order of His creation that He rejoices in the beautiful order found in the words of the upright, who have ordered their lives by His righteousness.

There is perfect harmony in the words of the Lord G-d which we can perceive when we read the Holy Scriptures which tell us that:

"Light is sown [zara] for the righteous" - Psalm 97:11
and
"Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness" - Psalm 112:4

The "light" that is sown for the righteous is found within the seed of His word. And because all seeds "open" in the good ground that holds them fast, we realize that the "light" comes from within the seed of the word of G-d, because we are also told in the Psalms that: "the unfolding of Thy word gives light and understanding" to those who hold it fast - Psalm 119:130. "Light is sown for the righteous" because it is they who keep and do the words and commandments of G-d. And the seed of His word, which is full of light and understanding, opens up in their hearts. In time, as with all seeds, that seed of light generates, and sprouting forth rises to make manifest the light and understanding found within His word. Thus, from the righteous, made upright by their perseverance, the risen light of His word may be seen by all, for "unto the upright there arises light in the darkness" - Psalm 112:4.

If it is said that "the mouth of the upright shall deliver them," 20 it is because the upright have been gifted with light and understanding, and are able to order their words graciously to touch the hearts of their adversaries. Thus, Job said that if there was an "upright [yashar]" person who would on his behalf "reason with Him [the Lord] then I [Job] would be delivered forever from my Judge" - Job 23:7. Because the Lord loves the upright, and their supplications give Him joy, therefore, "by the blessing of the upright the city is exalted [by the Lord] but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown" - Proverbs 11:11. Not only do the upright speak graciously - good, well-ordered words - they also proclaim the Truth. Which is why long ago, the Jewish scribes responsible for translating the Hebrew Holy Scriptures into Greek [Septuagint], rendered the words of the Lord: "I declare things that are upright [mesharim]" into "I...proclaim Truth [aletheian]" - Isaiah 45:19, Greek [Septuagint].

"The Lord is righteous in all His ways" 21 which He teaches us to walk in, but "the ways of the Lord [Himself] are upright [yesharim], and the righteous shall [future tense] walk in them" 22 when the righteous have become upright, because the direction of their walking is towards uprightness. Thus, "the way of the righteous is uprightness" - Isaiah 26:7. We see this sequence in the beautiful song Moses sang to the glory of the Lord: "He is the Rock, His work is perfect for all His ways are justice, a God of Truth and without iniquity; Righteous [tzaddik] and Upright [yashar] is He!" - Deuteronomy 32:4.

We know that "the prayer of the upright is His delight," 23 but even in their walking towards the Lord the upright give Him pleasure, for it is written that: "the upright in their way are His delight" - Proverbs 11:20. The upright also find their contentment in the Lord and they walk towards Him to the end of their life. Those who live uprightly die well, even Balaam knew that, and cried out: "Let me die the death of the upright [yasharim], and let my last end be like his!" - Numbers 23:10. "Behold the upright! for the end of that man is peace" - Psalm 37:37.

Faithfulness

Faithfulness

No one is approved "righteous" or "upright" in the eyes of the Lord, unless that person has been tried and put to the test by Him and found faithful. Which is why "the Lord tries the righteous," 24 and "the righteous God tries the hearts and the reins"...so as to test and "establish the righteous" - Psalm 7:9[10]. The Lord determines the true inclination of their hearts and their innermost thoughts ("reins"), by testing their fidelity to Him and His commandments during their ordeal. Even more so, it is out of love for us that the Lord does try us, because He desires to know whether we truly love Him in return. Thus, when Moses spoke to all Israel he said to them:

"The Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul" - Deuteronomy 13:3, see also Deuteronomy 8:2,16.
For Moses told them to: "Love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments" - Deuteronomy 30:16; ibid. 11:22. Because the Lord "shows lovingkindness [chesed] to thousands of those who love Me, and keep My commandments" - Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 5:10; 7:9. We should not forget that "everyone who does the Law of the Lord shall be loved by Him" - Testament of Joseph 11:2 [Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs]. The Lord knows that even in their trials, "they who love Him will keep His ways" 25 for that is the proof of their love for Him, therefore it is they who are called His beloved 26 faithful ones. The truly righteous and upright who have proved to be faithful to the Lord by doing His commandments, are happy in the end. Because "the faithful in love shall abide with Him," 27 for "they who deal faithfully [emunah] are His delight." 28

If it is also said that "the upright shall dwell in Your presence," 29 it is because they shall have been found to be faithful in their righteousness, when called to stand before the Lord. Did not King David say: "My eyes are upon the faithful in the land that they may dwell with me"? - Psalm 101:6.

"A faithful man shall be richly blessed" 30 and also all those who have remained faithful when "tried" by the Lord, for He shall have "found them worthy of Himself." 31 The eyes of the Lord are always searching for a "faithful" one "who shall do according to that which is in My heart and soul" - 1 Samuel 2:35. For He created us to serve Him in this beautiful world, and to do our work well so that we may be happy with Him forever.

Holiness

Holiness

We know that the Lord loves the faithful righteous and upright ones in whom He delights, because by their faithfulness in trial they have proven their love for Him. "The Lord looks on the heart," 32 and when He gazes with love on the "upright in heart," 33 they become aware of the Lord's love for them. But at the same time they are overwhelmed by their own unworthiness to be loved by Him, because then the Lord makes manifest to them the awesomeness of His holiness. They realize that the absolute holiness and purity of G-d sets Him apart from anything else that defiles, and that only what is pure and holy, unblemished and clean, blameless and good, honest and truthful is acceptable to Him. They know then that we are all to lead a life of holiness, who are called to serve Him with all our heart and soul, because He commands us for all time to: "Be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy!" - Leviticus 19:2; ibid. 11:44-45; 20:7,8,26.

No matter how humble or great the work may be that we are doing, or waiting to do if we are unemployed, we are all called to serve the Lord, for Moses said to all Israel:

"And now Israel what does the Lord your God require of you, but that you fear the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to love Him and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul" - Deuteronomy 10:12.
When it is asked in the Holy Scriptures: "Lord, who shall abide in Your Tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Your holy hill?" "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place?" - Psalm 15:1; 24:3. The answer is "he who walks uprightly and does righteousness and speaks the Truth in his heart..."; and "he who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully..." - Psalm 15:2; 24:4. Thus, King David, who was a man after the Lord's own heart, said: "he who walks in a perfect way, he shall serve me" - Psalm 101:6. For we are to "serve Him in perfection and in Truth" - Joshua 24:14. Long ago they knew that it is "men of holiness who walk in perfection of way" - 1QS [Community Rule] 9:8,9, Dead Sea Scrolls.

Whether our work be menial or consequential, it shall be a work done for the Lord and a service to Him if we have strived to be holy, and have sanctified by our holiness the work we are doing. What is it to be holy? First of all it is to know that the Lord G-d alone is holy, and awesomely exalted and apart from all things. In Him is absolute perfection and He is the Creator of all that exists and of all the billions of galaxies He has hurled through space. Such is the holiness of the Lord that the winged seraphim around Him cover their eyes, and cry out: "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!" - Isaiah 6:3. "Who is like You O Lord?...who is like You who are glorious in holiness?" - Exodus 15:11. "There is no one holy as the Lord!" - 1 Samuel 2:2.

It is the All Holy One who has called us to a life of holiness and it is by Him that we are sanctified. Many, many years ago, mindful of His promises 34 to Abraham, the Lord separated a people to Himself from all the rest of the people in the world, because He chose to make them particularly His own. And when He had freed from slavery those descendants of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, He brought them out of Egypt by the hand of Moses who led them through the wilderness. And when they were gathered there in the silence of the desert, the Lord spoke and said to them:

"You are a holy people to the Lord your God, the Lord your God has chosen you to be a special people for Himself above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people for you were the least of all peoples, but because the Lord loves you" - Deuteronomy 7:6-7,8.
One is holy to the Lord whom the Lord has chosen and separated from the rest because that person now belongs to Him. Those chosen by the Lord would have first had to be righteous and faithful having "acceptable faithfulness" 35 as Moses did. Hence, it was "because of his [Moses'] faithfulness and meekness" that "He [the Lord] chose him" - Sirach 45:4, Hebrew Text. "All blameless persons are acceptable to Him." 36

Nevertheless, just as the righteous strive after uprightness, and the upright hope to be found faithful when tried, those who are called "holy" because they have been chosen by the Lord, are now required by Him to be holy. For "the man whom the Lord chooses, he shall be holy" - Numbers 16:7. Thus, the Lord told Moses to make known to His people Israel that:

"The Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep His commandments...that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God as He has spoken" - Deuteronomy 26:18, ibid. 4:7,8; 28:1.
For the Lord said to them: "Do all My commandments, and be holy unto your God" - Numbers 15:40. The All Holy One again said to His people through Moses that: "The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. Then all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord" - Deuteronomy 28:9.

We know that if the Lord chooses and separates to Himself someone He has chosen, that person becomes "holy unto the Lord," which means to say that the person now belongs to Him. A wonderful thing happens when the Lord chooses someone to be "holy unto Him," for then "whom He has chosen [the "holy" one, see v.7] He will cause to come near" to Him - Numbers 16:5. It is out of His love for them that the Lord brings near those whom He has chosen. It is good to know that the Lord not only desires that we should love Him with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, 37 but that having been brought near to Him the Lord desires that we should "cleave" 38 to Him.

"Moses said to the Lord" a beautiful prayer, when at the end of the sojournings in the wilderness, he said to Him: "I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, make me now to know Your way [derek, singular], so that I may know You" - Exodus 33:13, literal translation. It is His truly holy ones who know the Lord, and who have His "holy knowledge," 39 because it is they whom the Lord brings near to Him. It is a glorious and joyful thing to know the Lord, for in that holy knowing is all our happiness, because to know the Lord G-d is to love Him. Moses was wise indeed in asking the Lord for the way to know Him for we have heard that:

"The Lord is righteous in all His ways" - Psalm 145:17
"The ways of the Lord are upright, and the righteous 
shall walk in them" - Hosea 14:9[10].

But these ways all lead to the one direct way to Him which is the way of holiness for "Your way O God is in holiness [kodesh]" - Psalm 77:13[14], literal translation, see also Psalm 68:24[25], literal translation.

To walk the way of holiness is to become aware of "the beauty of holiness" 40 and Truth, and of the ugliness and repulsiveness of sin and falsehood. With that awareness comes the realization of our own nothingness before the One who brought us into existence. The One who always is, and always was, and who shall always be, forever and ever. He is the One whose most holy Name proclaims His eternal Being.

It is the holy who are always filled with awe, because the holiness of the Lord G-d is at all times before them in their thoughts, and in their actions. They are the ones who have the loving desire to please the Lord, and the reverential fear that abhors displeasing Him. Thus, they are careful to observe outer and inner cleanliness, remembering 41 to keep and do all the commandments of the Lord so that His name be hallowed. For "God who is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness." 42 And as the wicked profane His Name, 43 and "profane the holiness of the Lord," 44 those who are holy strive to sanctify His Name and glorify the All Holy One, by their life of holiness. It is in them that the beauty 45 of His holiness shines forth, drawing others to a life of righteousness.

As the holy who walk the way of holiness come closer to the Lord, they become aware that it is the Lord who is drawing them to Himself, with the bands of His everlasting love for them. It is then that the holy begin to know the Lord and His lovingkindness and condescension. Because they shall also know with rejoicing, that it is in His holy ones that the Lord is made to be seen holy in the sight of all nations. For the Lord said: "I will be sanctified in those who come near to Me" - Leviticus 10:3. And these are His holy ones, for "the man whom the Lord has chosen, he shall be holy" and "whom the Lord has chosen He will cause to come near" to Him - Numbers 16:7,5.

And if the holy have to undergo tribulations as they draw ever closer to Him, it is because they also have to be purified by suffering, as Job was [see The Unmasking of the Evil One in Elihu], before they would be able to stand before the Lord who Alone is the Most Holy One. Then shall they be worthy to receive His "holy knowledge": "the knowledge of the holy ones" - 2 Maccabees 6:30; 1QSb [The Book of Blessings] 1:5, Dead Sea Scrolls. It is given to enable them to bring others to a life of righteousness by His holy knowledge. 46 Thus, in the Book of Blessings there is a blessing of the faithful which says: "May He make of you an example of holiness in the midst of His people, and a torch to shine upon the world in knowledge to enlighten the face of many" with "the light of knowledge" - 1QSb [The Book of Blessings] 4:27, Dead Sea Scrolls; see Hosea 10:12, Greek [Septuagint], Syriac and Targum Texts; Testament of Levi 4:3; 18:3, Testament of Benjamin 11:2 B Text, re "the light of knowledge." For just as "he who wins souls is wise" 47 because he has been able to attract souls to G-d by his wisdom, likewise those who have been given true knowledge are able to lead others to G-d, and to a life of righteousness, because the knowledge of G-d draws us to have a great love for Him.

When at last His holy ones have come to stand before Him whose holiness is such, that Moses said to Israel: "the Lord your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God," 48 because to Him alone belongs all worship and glory! A wonderful thing then happens to those who in reverential fear are there before Him - the Lord leans forward and touches them.

Godliness

Godliness

Aeons ago when the Lord G-d descended from above to form Man from the dust of the earth, a wonderful thing happened, a mist suddenly surged forth from the heart of the ground and watered the whole face of the earth. Then, "the Lord G-d formed Man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Man became a living soul" - Genesis 2:7. "The Lord loves holy hearts," 49 and when He descends to touch the hearts of the holy, a great and overwhelming love for the Lord gushes forth from their hearts towards Him. And with that love the holy feel an immense joy in His Presence and a gratefulness for His lovingkindnesses towards them. Because they shall know then in the very heart of their being, how unworthy they are to be so greatly beloved by Him. And so there comes the burning desire to give themselves utterly to Him, to serve the Lord with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all rejoicing, in that they are able to do something for Him who has so kindly done so much for them. And it is then that they cleave to the Lord, and hold on to Him, and never let Him go. Yet all the while there is that holy dread in them before His utter holiness, and the blinding radiance of His glory. They fully know then that they are the dust of the earth brought forth from nothingness, and that in them the Lord sowed the seed of His word. That seed-word meant to be kept in the ground of their hearts, for it was sown to transform and enable them to bring forth fruit for Him - the fruit of praise.

When we have fully understood and know from the Holy Scriptures that we are truly earthpeople, we shall understand why righteousness is referred to as a seed to be kept, and lovingkindness as a fruit to be given. For to love is to keep and to give, but there is no fruit for giving if the seed has not been kept. The seed of His commandments which lead us to righteousness, shall bring forth in us the fruit of lovingkindness and Truth, if we have kept those seeds in the good ground of our hearts. Thus, we are told by the Lord:

"Sow to yourselves in righteousness,
and reap [the fruit of] lovingkindness [chesed]!" - Hosea 10:12.
But at the same time when "righteousness is grown...Truth is sprung up" also - 2 Esdras 7:44; Psalm 85:11. And the Lord "will reward the righteous with lovingkindness and Truth" - Targum of the Amidah [The Eighteen Benedictions]. "I will give them their wages [peullah] in Truth," says the Lord - Isaiah 61:8. For "to him who sows righteousness, a reward of Truth [emeth]" - Proverbs 11:18.

Do not all seeds that are kept eventually grow and blossom to bear fruit in the end? Therefore, the seed of righteousness flowers into the beauty of holiness to bring forth the sweetness of godliness, and the fruit of praise. For when the Lord sows, and when the Lord plants, He sows and He plants to bring forth from the heart of the ground - fruits of praise to His glory. Then shall those who were sown by Him be called "trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that He might be glorified!" - Isaiah 61:3. For if "He shall cause them who come out of Jacob to take root" it is so that "Israel shall blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit," "because as the earth brings forth its bud and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations," through His godly ones - Isaiah 27:6; 61:11.

When the Lord G-d in His lovingkindness [chesed] touches the hearts of the holy, they become His "godly ones [chassidim]." Because the faithful keeping of the seed of His word by the righteous, upright, faithful and holy, comes to fruition in the lovingkindness and Truth brought forth from the hearts of those who have kept the seeds of His commandments, to the very end. It is the Lord who sows and makes righteousness grow in the hearts of those who keep the seed of His word, and He is the One who causes the seed to yield fruit and be brought forth from the hearts of His godly ones. For it is they who are entrusted to give us the fruits of His seed. Both the seed and the fruit belong to the Lord for did He not say that "from Me is your fruit found"? - Hosea 14:8[9]. The seed of righteousness is also from Him, because "to the Lord our God belongs all righteousness." 50 And just as the righteous, and all those who have kept the seeds of the commandments of the Lord may be said to be "sons of [His] righteousness," the godly ones [chassidim] who have been able to bring forth and give the fruits of those seeds, are rightly called "the sons [beni] of [His] lovingkindness 51 [chesed]" - 1QH [Hymns Scroll] 7:20, Dead Sea Scrolls. It is in them that the love of G-d and of one another fills their hearts.

What a wonderful thing and a great joy it is to be able to bring forth fruit for the Lord. The fruit that comes from the seeds of His words that He sowed in our hearts. We know that from the time of their unfolding, these seeds give light and understanding to those who have held fast to His words, and who in their uprightness have enabled the light and understanding to be seen and heard by others around them. Then the day does come when through the touch of His lovingkindness those seeds come to fruit in the hearts of His godly ones. And this fruit from them, is the loving praise the Lord has longed to receive - to His glory.

Indeed, "His praise is [found] in the congregation of the godly ones [chassidim]" so "let the godly ones be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud...let the high praises of God be on their mouth...this honor have all His godly ones [chassidim]" - Psalm 149:1,5,6,9. Therefore:

"Sing to the Lord all you His godly ones [chassidim]" - Psalm 30:4[5].

"O Lord...let Your godly ones [chassidim] shout for joy...her [Zion's v.13] godly ones shall shout aloud for joy!" - Psalm 132:8,9,16.

"Your godly ones [chassidim] shall bless You, they shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and tell of Your power, to make known to the sons of Man His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom" - Psalm 145:10b,11-12.

It is because "the Lord is...godly [chasid] in all His works," that it is also said "that all Your works shall praise You, O Lord, and all Your godly ones shall bless You!" - Psalm 145:17, 10a,b.

If it is said that His works shall praise Him, it is His godly ones who shall voice that praise. For it is by them that this wondrous Earth shall sound forth the praises of His glory. But "O Lord...shall the dust praise You? shall it declare Your Truth?" - Psalm 30:8[9], 9[10]. Yes Lord, if You sow and rain upon it, the dust of the earth shall bring forth fruit as praise to your glory, and declare that the Truth is in the seed of Your word!

When we let the Lord cultivate the ground of our hearts and sow in us the seeds of His righteousness, then He shall be the One who will make us righteous, if we do our best to obey the directives of His seeds. The Lord shall also help us to persevere in uprightness, and strengthen our resolve to remain faithful to Him, so that in becoming holy we may belong to the Lord. We should also know that it is the Lord who brings forth the fruits of praise to perfection, from the hearts of His godly ones [chassidim]. And He does so for the sake of His glory, for "whoever offers praise glorifies Me," says the Lord - Psalm 50:23. He is the One who "also exalts...the praise of His godly ones [chassidim], these children of Israel, a people near to Him" - Psalm 148:13,14.

And these people are near to Him for they are dear to Him, because "the Lord has set apart him who is godly [chasid] for Himself" - Psalm 4:3[4]. The truly godly have no other thought but to cling to Him with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all their strength. They are the ones who ever long to be one with the will of the Lord towards their good. "O Lord God...let Your godly ones [chassidim] rejoice in goodness" - 2 Chronicles 6:41. For "to the man who is good in His sight God gives wisdom, and knowledge, and joy" - Ecclesiastes 2:26. Yes, "to the godly He has given wisdom" 52 and the joy of knowing that in the wisdom of the Lord G-d, it all begins with the keeping of the seeds of His commandments in righteousness. And it is so that we may finally be able to give Him in godliness - the fruits of those seeds.

To be a true chasid is to be able to give the Lord the glory and praise that is brought forth from a good and holy heart. It is the true chasid who knows the utter joy of giving the Lord all that he is, his very own being, because it is he who has plunged himself totally into the Allness of the Lord G-d. The true chassidim are the ones who shall hear the Lord say: "Gather together My godly ones [chassidim] to Me" - Psalm 50:5. And they are the ones who rejoice in knowing that "precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones [chassidim]" - Psalm 116:15. Because it is then that He shall take them to Himself - forever!
 
 

Chasid End



 
 

References

*Chasid = a godly person, one who is faithful and kind. Chasid is also spelled: chassid, hasid or hassid in English renderings of the Hebrew word chasid. Throughout this article chasid is translated in English as "godly" and chassidim (pl.) as "godly ones," also the .Hebrew word chasidut is translated: "godliness." We can find chasid intermittently translated: "godly" in the following (Jewish) English translations of the Hebrew Holy Scriptures:
The Holy Scriptures. According to the Masoretic Text. The Jewish Publication Society of American, Philadelphia, 1917, 1945, 1955 editions.
The Holy Scriptures [The Koren (Jerusalem) Bible]. English Text revised and edited by Harold Fisch. Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd. Jerusalem, 1983.
The Twenty-Four Books of the Old Testament. Hebrew Text and English Version. Translation by Alexander Harkavy, 2 Vols. Hebrew Publishing Co. New York, 1916.
We shall see that to be a true Chasid means more than just being "pious," "loyal" or "faithful."

1 Man [Adam]. In the Holy Scriptures the term "Man [Adam]" refers to both men and women for it is written in the book of Genesis: "Male and female He [God] created them and blessed them and [He] called their name Man [Adam], in the day when they were created" - Genesis 5:2.

2 Genesis 1:28.
3 Sirach 18:2.
4 Ezra 9:15.
5 Baruch 1:15; 2:6; Daniel 9:7.
6 Jeremiah 23:6.
7 Deuteronomy 5:1 - 6:25.
8 Isaiah 45:25.

9"God is Truth" - Horeb, Mitzvoth V.482; Zohar I.26-30; Sanhedrin I.18, Jerusalem Talmud. "Truth is the name of God" (ibid.), therefore "the seal of God is Truth" - Shabbath 55a; Yoma 69b; Sanhedrin 64a, Babylonian Talmud. A "God of Truth" is the Lord - 1QH 15:25 [Hymns Scroll], Dead Sea Scrolls. "O Lord Thou God of Truth [emeth]" help us to always remember that "the Lord is God of Truth [emeth]" - Psalm 31:5[6]; Jeremiah 10:10, literal translations.

10Psalm 119:7, 62, 75, 106, 160, 164; Isaiah 58:2.
11Letter of Aristeas 206.

12"Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations, Noah walked with God" - Genesis 6:9. "Noah...from whom came all righteous men" - 2 Esdras 3:11.

13 Sirach 44:17, Hebrew Text.

14 Out of the ground. "In the original creation of all things...God caused all the trees and plants to spring out of the earth perfect, having fruits not unripe but at their prime...also a provision for the perpetual reproduction of their kind containing within them the seed" - Philo, Op. 42,43.
"All issued forthright complete and perfect out of the earth...the fruit was created first" - Midrash Haggadol, Bereshith I.581; Torah Behukothai I.561; Torah Shelemah I.384, 389.
"Like all creatures formed in the six days of creation...they came forth from the hand of the Creator fully and completely developed - Hullin 60a; Hagigah 12a, Babylonian Talmud. In His creation G-d made all come forth from the ground fully mature and complete, but in the Garden east of Eden the Lord G-d "planted [nata]" - Genesis 2:8.

15 Proverbs 4:23.
16 Psalm 146:8.
17 1 Chronicles 29:17.
18 Proverbs 15:29.
19 Proverbs 15:8.
20Proverbs 12:6.
21 Psalm 145:17.
22 Hosea 14:9[10].
23 Proverbs 15:8.
24 Psalm 11:5.
25Sirach 2:15.

26 Beloved. We have a good example in Abraham who was referred to by the Lord as "My servant Abraham" (Genesis 26:24, see also Deuteronomy 9:27; Psalm 105:6,42; 2 Maccabees 1:2). But "when Abraham was tried [and] was found faithful" (Sirach 44:20), he became thereafter known to the Lord as "Abraham My friend" (Isaiah 41:8, see also 2 Chronicles 20:7), and to His people as "Thy beloved Abraham" - The Song of the Three Children v.12 (Ancient additions to the Book of Daniel, chapter 3 [Septuagint]). "Abraham, him You loved, and only to him You showed Your will" - 2 Esdras 3:13,14.

27Wisdom 3:9, literal translation.
28 Proverbs 12:22.
29Psalm 140:13 [14].
30 Proverbs 28:20.
31Wisdom 3:5.

321 Samuel 16:7, see also 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Proverbs 15:11; Jeremiah 11:20; 17:10; 20:12; Wisdom 1:6.

33 "Upright in heart." For the term "upright in heart," see Psalms 7:10[11]; 11:2; 32:11; 36:10[11]; 64:10[11]; 94:15; 2 Chronicles 29:34.

34Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 26:3-5; 28:4,14-15.
35 Sirach 15:15.
36 Proverbs 22:11, Greek Text [Septuagint].
37 Deuteronomy 6:5.
38Deuteronomy 10:20; 13:4; 30:20; Joshua 22:5.

39 2 Maccabees 6:30. It is also known as "the knowledge [daath] of the holy ones" 1Qsb [The Book of Blessings] 1:4, Dead Sea Scrolls.

40 2 Chronicles 20:21; Psalms 29:2; 92:9; 110:3.

41 The Lord told Moses to speak to His people and have them put "fringes in the borders of their garments" so that they may "look upon it and remember the commandments of the Lord, and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined. And that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy to your God" - Numbers 15:38,39-40.

42Isaiah 5:16.
43 Leviticus 21:6; Ezekiel 36:20,22-23.
44Malachi 2:11.
45 2 Chronicles 20:21; Psalms 29:2; 92:9; 110:3.

46 When we have received light and understanding from holding fast to the seeds of His words, we shall rejoice at the infinite treasures of the Lord's wisdom and knowledge found hidden in those seeds of Truth. The Holy Scriptures make known to us the power that understanding and knowledge have to turn sinners away from evil and persuade them to be good:

"Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your Law, yes, I shall observe it with all my heart" - Psalm 119:34.

"I will run the way of Your commandments when You shall enlarge my understanding" - Psalm 119:32, see v. 96b.

"Through Your precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way" - Psalm 119:104.

"They who are understanding [sakal]...turn many to righteousness" - Daniel 12:3.

"The teaching of Truth was in his [the Levite ideal priest] mouth...and he did turn many away from their iniquity" - Malachi 2:6.

"By his knowledge shall My righteous servant make the many to be righteous" - Isaiah 53:11.

Conversely:
"My people have been lost sheep, their shepherds have caused them to go astray" - Jeremiah 50:6.

Because "they are shepherds who cannot understand" - Isaiah 56:11.

Our fathers knew all about the power of understanding and knowledge to draw sinners to the way of righteousness:
"He [the Lord] opens the understanding of man...to turn a man from unrighteousness" - Job 33:16,17 Greek [Septuagint] Text.

"You have taught him understanding of Your mysteries that he may not sin against You" - 1QH [Hymns Scroll] 17:21,22, Dead Sea Scrolls.

"Teaching understanding to those whose spirit has gone astray and instructing in doctrine those who murmur" - 1QS [Community Rule] 10:26-11:1, Dead Sea Scrolls.

"O Lord You have put understanding in the heart of Your servant that he may do what is good and right before You and restrain himself against deeds of wickedness" - 1QH [Hymns Scroll] 14:8-9, Dead Sea Scrolls.

"Give to Your people a heart of wisdom and understanding of prudence and...they shall not sin" - Ps. Philo, Biblical Antiquities 21:2.

"I have knowledge through the abundance of Your goodness...I have bound myself not to sin against You, and not to do anything at all that is evil in Your eyes" - 1QH [Hymns Scroll] 14:17,18, Dead Sea Scrolls.

"If therefore you also have good understanding, then will both wicked men be at peace with you, and the profligate will reverence you, and turn towards good" - Testament of Benjamin 5:1.

"I am the one who reveals Your Mysteries to the children of men...I did it for Your sake that strife may not abound in Israel" - Megillah 3a, Babylonian Talmud.

"They [the transgressors] shall be converted by Your glorious mouth" - 1QH [Hymns Scroll] 6:14, Dead Sea Scrolls.
Because "out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding" - Proverbs 2:6.

"The Levites taught the Law of the Lord making them all understand it...the Levites taught the multitude...they all wept [in repentance] when they heard [and understood] the Law [Torah]" - 1 Esdras 9:48,49,50 see Nehemiah 8:7,8,9.

Thus, the Lord Himself said concerning His people:
"I will lead the [spiritually] blind in a way they do not know, and in paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, and make crooked things straight. These things will I do for them...[then]they shall be turned back [from their sinfulness], they shall be greatly ashamed [of their sins]" - Isaiah 42:16,17.
Thus, after King David was converted from his great sin by the wisdom of God in His prophet Nathan [2 Samuel 12:1-13], King David himself said to the Lord:
"I will teach transgressors Your ways and sinners shall be converted to You" - Psalm 51:13.
Because great is the power of the wonderful wisdom, understanding and knowledge of G-d found in His ways, to draw people away from their sins into a life of righteousness.

When the Lord gives light and knowledge:

"All men shall fear and shall declare the work of God for they shall understand [sakal] what He has done" - Psalm 64:9.

"The Lord give you understanding [sekel] and insight [binah]...that you may keep the Law of the Lord your God" - 1 Chronicles 22:12.

"The Lord has directed my mouth by His word, and He has opened up my understanding by His light...and gave me the ability that I might speak the fruit of His peace to convert the souls of those who are willing to come to Him" - Odes of Solomon 10:1-3.

47 Proverbs 11:30.
48 Deuteronomy 4:24.
49 Proverbs 22:11 Greek [Septuagint] Text.
50 Baruch 1:15; 2:6; Daniel 9:7.

51 "Sons of lovingkindness*[chesed]." The true chasid has known, and experienced in the very heart of his being, the lovingkindness [chesed] of the Lord G-d. He has become aware that he has been the recipient of the tender solicitude of the Lord's lovingkindness towards him, throughout his life. And that the compassionate lovingkindness [chesed] which brought him up from childhood has made him, as it were, a son of G-d's lovingkindness, raised up by the Lord G-d for Himself. Thus, a true chasid is one who has deeply experienced the Lord's chesed.

In his Psalm [86:2], King David prayed: "O Lord hear me...for I am godly [chasid]" and by that he meant that he had often known that he had been the object of the Lord's lovingkindness. Therefore, he trustingly implored the Lord saying to Him: "For You O Lord are good and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness [chesed] toward me and... You O Lord are a God full of compassion [rachum] and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in lovingkindness [chesed] and Truth [emeth]" - Psalm 86:5,15.

"I am godly [chasid]," said King David - Psalm 86:2. And because he was a true chasid, he was able to bring forth from his heart all the beautiful praises of the Lord found in the Psalms of David, King of Israel.


52 Sirach 43:33.


 
 

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