Righteousness is in the spotlight in our first and third readings: Job and his friends argue about its applicability to humans; Jesus calls for a righteousness exceeding that of “the scribes and Pharisees.” If righteousness is a sort of excellence, it may help to recall what excellence in the arts and sports looks like: always learning, seeking to improve, expanding one’s range of awareness, and so regularly thinking/working outside the box. In the Gospel according to Matthew Joseph is the first person identified as righteous (a tsaddiq); an angel helps him understand that being a tsaddiq means handling Mary’s unexpected pregnancy differently. Job is a tsaddiq. But when God finally shows up, it’s not to affirm Job’s status (though that happens too), but to push Job further along his journey of discovery and self-transcendence. Tamar, one of Jesus’ ancestors: her family is badly stuck, her creative and risky strategy gets it unstuck and earns her father-in-law’s verdict “She’s more righteous than I am.” (Read the story!) Our world gets stuck in too many ways. We need more Tamars and Josephs, more tsaddiqim, to get it unstuck.