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What is righteousness? Isaiah 26:2 - Open your gates so that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. Isaiah 45:25 - All the descendants of Israel will be declared righteous, and they will praise the Lord. Isaiah 58:8 - Then shall your light break forth as the morning, and your health shall spring forth speedily: and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Isaiah 60:28 - And your people, all of them righteous, shall inherit the land forever, a scion of My planting, the work of My hands in which I will glory. According to the Jewish scriptures, the Nation of Israel is called righteous numerous times throughout the Bible, yet the Torah makes is very clear that the nation of Israel sinned. If that’s true, how can we reconcile Israel being “righteous” when other religions argue that no one and certainly not an entire nation can be righteous? The simple answer lays in the Torah’s definition of what it means to be “righteous”. Since the Torah, the guidebook for humanity was given to man and not angels, it is understood that the standards contained in the Torah are specific to those who go through the ups and downs of life and was never intended for “perfect” beings. The Talmud in Shabbos 88b relates that when Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, the angels challenged him saying, “What is this mortal doing amongst us?” Moses replied, “I have come to take the Torah, the divine will, to the Jewish people.” Whereupon the angels, addressing God, petitioned, "leave the Torah with us and we will honor and cherish it instead.” God turns to Moses and says “go ahead, answer them” and Moses responds, "My dear angels, just take a look at what the Torah commands – 'I am the Lord your God who has taken you out of the land of Egypt,' 'Honor your parents’, ‘Do you have a father and mother? Have you been enslaved in Egypt? Have you a selfish and evil inclination?” clearly demonstrating that the Torah was intended for souls vested in physical bodies confronted with the realities of our material world. Unlike other religions which worship “perfect beings” whose character and behavior are admittedly impossible to emulate, the Jewish faith reveres mortal men & women who stumbled throughout their lives and yet overcame the adversity they were handed. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron & David, were all “sinners” in the literal sense but each one was considered righteous by the God of Israel. The Book of Ecclesiastes 7:20 states - For there is no righteous man on earth who only does good and never sins. Look carefully at the words… there is no righteous man who only does good and doesn’t sin. In other words… righteous men sometimes miss the mark too. This is the true definition of righteousness. Proverbs 24:16: "The righteous fall even seven times and still get up, but the wicked stumble in their evil." With this knowledge we can now understand why the scriptures call Israel “righteous”. According to Judaism, being righteous does not mean that one never sins, being righteous means that after you sin you get back up again, repent, and try not to make the same mistakes. That is an even more difficult task than to live a life completely without sin. “In the place where those who repent from error stand, even the most perfect saints cannot stand” Talmud Bav’li, Berachot 34b