Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Path of the Just

Chapter 23 (Part 2)

Now on to the things we’d need to reflect on to be (and stay) humble. Recall, though, that we’re referring to being piously and deeply humble, not simply modest, unassuming, and politely non-egotistical. The sort we’re talking about is obviously a whole other order of humility -- one that touches the core and is deeply connected to our view of ourselves and our place in the universe. And it would require us to arrive at some heart-felt and even upending realization.

The first would be based on these bluntly stunning and truly upending words of Akavyah ben Mahalalel. "Know where you have come from-- a putrid drop (of semen); and where you’re going-- to a place of dust, vermin and worms; and before Whom you’re destined to give an account and reckoning-- the King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He" (Pirkei Avot 3:1).

What that statement demands of us is that we take ourselves aside, realize our stark, dire albeit common mortality, our humble and abject smallness, and our utter dependence on G-d Almighty’s judgment. (To be sure, it also points out the fact that, despite our lowly origins and end, still and all G-d takes us seriously enough to reflect on the station of our souls and to give us responsibility for it; but that’s not the point at hand.)

Indeed, Ramchal asserts that taking this to heart “stifles all arrogance and helps foster (true pious) humility”, and it leaves one “abashed and mortified”. Imagine, he goes on to say, if you were “a pig-herder who (somehow) became a king”. It would be impossible for you “to become arrogant (in your new role) if you remembered your origins”. And you’d also “be humbled upon reflecting upon … (your) ultimate destiny” despite your new grandeur.

For, despite your good fortune right now, in the end you too will “return to dust and become food for worms”. “After all”, Ramchal points out, “what is your greatness in fact if you’re destined to the shame and mortification (that we all are)?”

So we’d need to take Akavyah ben Mahalalel’s words to heart if we’re to come to truly pious humility.


 

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 REEH:

View Complete List

A Godly Minority
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Don't Give It Personally
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Soldiers or Do-Gooders?
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Ripping At the "Seens"
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

To Hear and To See
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

Serve Hashem "His" Way
Shlomo Katz - 5761

ArtScroll

Signs From Heaven
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

Positive First
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Creating Holiness
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

> Free-Will
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Joy of Shlepping
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

A Blessed Adventure
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

To See or Not to See
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Total Control
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

We Are His Children
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Exchanging Gold for Copper
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