His attitude, always to bear in mind the good of the next person, made him adopt a more lenient attitude in all matters of permitted and forbidden things, based on the principle "the power to rule leniently is to be preferred." As has been stated, Rabbi Israel [Salanter] would punctiliously observe all stringencies and comply with all opinions. This applied where he himself alone was involved. Wherever others were concerned, he would always seek the ways and means to rule leniently. This accounts for his many well-known rulings in matters pertaining to health and danger to life,"danger to life being graver than ritual prohibitions."
From here stemmed his audacious granting of permission to perform acts otherwise forbidden on Shabbat and to eat on Yom Kippur during the outbreak of the cholera epidemic in Vilna. And from here stemmed his lenient ruling on his own conduct where others might thereby suffer hardship. Reliable sources indicate that one of the reasons for Rabbi Israel [Salanter] refusing to accept a rabbinical appointment was that he sided with the more lenient opinions in many halachot in opposition to the prevailing stricter rulings of the other authorities, and he was unwilling to stir up objections and arguments. --The Mussar Movement, Volume 1, Part 2 pages 253-54.
For the authors of the ketuvim sh’lichim (Apostolic Writings), righteousness is tied up with the mitzvah of love. Love, for all its repetition in Scripture, is a concept connected to righteousness, which we must keep kindled in our hearts and minds. The prayer of Rav Shaul for the Philippians is paradigmatic:
Our Messiah warned us, "For I say to you, if your tzedakah is not greater than the soferim and the Perushim, you will not come into the kingdom of Heaven." (Matthew 5:20, DHE). We often interpret that sentence as if the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees were defective, but Yeshua might be saying the opposite: “Unless your righteousness is even better than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you’ll never make it into the kingdom of heaven.” Such words must have filled the original hearers with despair. How can I be more righteous than a Pharisee—especially if I’m a simple Galilean farmer or fisherman or wife and mother?