Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Saint Joseph, 2013


Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a just man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly... (Matthew 1:18-19)

 Scripture doesn't tell us much about Saint Joseph except that he was a just man. But knowing what the Jews meant by "just" actually says a great deal.

When we think of "just", of course that involves the virtue of justice which is "giving to others what is due them". So we can conclude that he was a fair tradesman with his customers and any helpers he may have had. 

We know he did not want to condemn Mary to death as an adulteress, for he believed her to be virtuous. Yet, he didn't know what had happened to her and he knew he was not the father of her child, so he believed the "just" thing for him to do would be to divorce her quietly.

But there is much more to Joseph being a just man. He must have been deeply religious for a "just man" was not so only before people, but especially before God. A tzedakah was/is not only outwardly religious and devoted to the Torah, but passionate, encouraging others to study and keep Torah. 

The Jewish word tzedakah  means to be charitable, generous and kind. In fact, it comprises a vast array of virtues. It all boils down to the fact that we, too, must be saints! Amen!

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