Really Worth Something
Rabbi Raymond Beyda
REALLY WORTH SOMETHING
Sometimes people confuse the concepts of conceit --Ga-avah-- and self-
worth. The words of our teachers put things in perspective. Rabbi Eliyahu
Lopian Zt"l said, "The essence of the concept of humility is not that one
should be unaware of one's capacities. To the contrary, a person should
recognize his strengths. However, he should know that his skills and
talents are a gift from G-d, and that they are not his doing. He should
feel that had another person been equally endowed, he could have achieved
more". The Hazon Ish Zt"l says, "A person should know his value, and if he
is indeed learned in Torah he must know this. However, one should not feel
that this makes him superior to others." Rabbi Yerucham Levovitz Zt'l
said, "The person who does not recognize his strengths and talents is much
worse off [than the one who does not recognize his defects], because he is
totally unaware of the tools with which he can achieve spiritual goals."
A person sometimes feels that "I am not so special" or "I am not
conceited!" That feeling usually comes from the wiles of the evil
inclination. He likes to prevent people from doing "good" by making them
think that the "good" that is done in the world should be left to those
more talented, more religious or more dedicated than themselves. A person
who doesn't recognize their talents can't put them to good use. Self-esteem
is necessary not forbidden.
Today when you paint a picture of yourself that is small and weak stop and
think about the task you were about to take on. If it was something that
would really help others or something that would help you take another
positive step in spiritual growth --attribute your "weakness'' to the
stratagems of the evil inclination. Take another look in the mirror and you
will see that G-d put this task before you as a test of your spiritual
resolve and that He gave you all the tools that you might need to complete
the project successfully. Try this simple technique and you will achieve a
success rate that even you yourself thought you could never achieve.
Text Copyright © 2004 Rabbi Raymond Beyda and Torah.org.