Photo Credit: Jewish Press

In Tehillim 34, Dovid HaMelech enjoins us to “Sur mei’ra va’asei tov” (Turn away from bad and do good). When we turn on the light in a dark room the light immediately dispels the darkness. Similarly, when we hang a dark sheet in front of a light source, the light is dimmed. Why, then, does King David tell us to do both: turn away from bad but also “do good?” Isn’t the avoidance of bad a good thing?

Several months ago, I heard what to me was a life-changing idea on a podcast interview with Rabbi Dr. Ari Bergmann. Almost in passing, he expressed the idea that in order to do good business, one must add equity: simply undercutting or outselling the next guy is a good short-term strategy, but to really make it big, one has to be making the world a better place: more efficient, more cost-effective, less problematic, and so on.


To quote Hypocrates: “First, do no harm.” Avoid what pulls us down – personally and collectively.

But then pursue good. Asei tov.

And what’s a good place to look for that?

“Seek peace; chase it” (Tehillim 34).


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Avi Ganz is the program Director of Ohr Torah Stone's Yeshivat Darkaynu. He lives with his wife and five children in Gush Etzion where he volunteers for MD"A, plays the blues on his Hohner, and reminisces fondly of his days playing tackle football with the IFL.