Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Path of the Just

Chapter 23 (Part 1)

As anyone who has ever been a living, breathing human being knows only too well, humility doesn’t come naturally to us. What then can we do to foster it? Ramchal offers that we’d need to draw on two things: on force of habit, and on certain reflections and realizations.

As to force of habit, we’d need to accustom ourselves “to act humbly”, Ramchal makes the point -- by consciously and purposefully doing certain specific things that truly humble people would do just naturally and without forethought, which we would have to set out to take upon ourselves. That’s to suggest that we’d need to get ourselves to “play the part” of a humble person if you will, again and again, in order to transform ourselves into one.

For what many actors do are things like wearing the clothing that the character they’d be depicting would wear, living in his or her environment, eating his food, etc., and all so as to get a sense of what it must feel to be that person. Ramchal suggests that we draw on that technique in order to first act and feel, and then to actually become humble.

So, for example, we’d need to get used to “sitting in a less than auspicious place” than we’d be inclined to; to “walk at the back of a company of people” rather than at the head; to “dress in modest clothing” (which he depicts as “clothing that’s respectable, but that doesn’t stand out”) rather than in stylish, showy clothes; and more. And he contends that “by habituating yourself in this path you’ll find that humility will slowly enter and penetrate your heart” from the outside in, which is the plan.

But why not get at egocentricity at its root, and expunge it from our hearts from the first rather than go about it this way, you might ask? Ramchal offers that’s because “it’s in our heart's nature to swell and grow haughty” as a matter of course, making it very “difficult to uproot this natural inclination”.

“The only way anything like it can be accomplished” he says, “is by your taking control of the external actions” associated with modesty, since those actions are “available to you” while the trait itself isn’t at all easy to get hold of. Do that and eventually you’ll affect the inner drive too (also see 7: 3 where we focused on this technique).


 

Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org

Rabbi Feldman's new book, Bachya Ibn Pakuda's The Duties of the Heart, is now available! Order Now


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

So Much to Say
Shlomo Katz - 5761

By The Rivers of Babylon...
Shlomo Katz - 5759

Flight to Freedom
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

ArtScroll

Look Deeper
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Small Favors
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

A Judgement Call
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

It's Not What You Want - But How You Ask
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

One Heart
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Why Do We Mourn?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

> Careful Consideration of Chinuch Concessions
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5768

The Purpose of the Fifth Book
Shlomo Katz - 5767

To My Very Last Breath
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Gift to Claim
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Mourning on the 9th of Av: The Reasons
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Body Language
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

The Way to a Person's Soul is Through His Dignity
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information