The Path of the Just
Chapter 22 (Part 1)
There is hardly anyone we admire more than powerful, good, and effective
people who know just how little they themselves count in their
accomplishments, and how much of a role G-d’s unfathomable will, and just
good mazal play in it. These hard-working humble souls are spiritual giants,
heroes of the heart and mind, and they inspire us all to do our best and to
then step aside so what will be done can be done after we’ve played our part.
Having that in mind and moving us on to the next trait, humility, Ramchal
acknowledges that he’d “already spoken of the disgrace of arrogance” its
opposite (in Ch. 11), “from which you can infer the praiseworthiness of
humility”. But he declares that wouldn’t be enough. We’d need to focus on
humility itself, since it’s so noble and lofty, and also so as to come to
truly understand the base nature of arrogance.
“The general rule when it comes to humility,” he asserts, is “that you
should never consider yourself important” which means to say, utterly vital
and indispensable, “for whatever reason whatsoever”. For, the truth be
known, while each one of us matters, and every single person involved adds
unique skills that carry weight, no one in this world other than G-d
Almighty is key; each of us can be replaced with hardly a loss to the whole
in the end. (It’s kind of a sad reality and sometimes disheartening, to be
sure, but it’s likewise ennobling and spiritually empowering.)
Knowing and living by that “is the very opposite of arrogance. And what
results from it”, he promises, “is the exact opposite of what would result
from arrogance” -- spiritual excellence.
What would it take to come to true humility? “You’d first need to be humble
in thought” and attitude, he offers, “for only then can you act humbly”. If
you aren’t humble in thought but you set out to be, “you’ll wind up being
one of the … ‘so-called humble’-- a hypocrite”, which is “the worst of all
So let us now see how Ramchal offers us insight into how to be humble both
in thought and in action.