Humble Mountain

B”H

hod shebbe malchus

(humility within sovereignty)

Humility is a necessary ingredient of character, inasmuch that any attempt to raise oneself above a modest estimation of one’s abilities should be placed in check by a fair analysis of oneself. Lowliness of spirit is a deterrent against pride. Showing deference to others helps to foster a sense of humility.

Ultimate deference must be shown to G-d through obeisance of His commandments, and an acknowledgment of His greater wisdom (Isaiah 55:8-9). The middah (character trait) of Hod is also reckoned as “splendor.” This type of splendor is the resultant state of humbling ourselves before G-d. “Before honor goeth humility” (Proverbs 15:33). When we bow to G-d in our heart, He will bestow his shefa (divine flow) upon us. 

B’nei Yisrael received the Torah at Sinai. Why was Mt. Sinai chosen from all of the other mountains? Because Sinai was not the highest of mountains; this teaches us the importance of humility. Only when we humble ourselves before G-d in full acknowledgment of our limitations, may we receive the Torah anew within the quietude of our hearts.

“The reward of humility is fear of the L-RD” (Proverbs 22:4, JPS 1917 Tanach). When we humble ourselves, we can begin to appreciate our relationship to H’Shem, acknowledging Him with awe, reverence and respect. His sovereignty over our lives becomes easier to accept, when we recognize that we are limited beings, without all of the answers in life.

Omer Day 47

Practical Goals

B”H

Hod shebbe yesod

(humility within foundation)

Humility facilitates the building of a foundation in life, by keeping our ambition in check; any goal in life needs to be practical, that is within the bounds of our abilities. We are finite beings, only capable of what G-d intends for us, through His bestowal of any natural gifts we may claim as part of our character. While it is good to reach beyond our current level of understanding, as well as our talents, we should be circumspect in order to make a modest estimation of our capabilities. Yet, at the same time, building a foundation also requires a healthy acknowledgment and appreciation of our talents, so that we may succeed at achieving our realized dreams. Additionally, we need to acknowledge G-d’s role as the Master Architect, whose blueprint for our lives compels us to keep Him in mind at all times, while we make plans for ourselves. 

Omer

self revelation

B”H

Today is thirty five days, five weeks of the Omer.

The attributes of the day are malchut shebbe hod

(sovereignty within humility)

Malchut represents sovereignty, dignity, and autonomy. We can walk with humility, while still maintaining a sense of dignity. This is because being humble does not mean becoming a doormat for other people to step on with soiled shoes, figuratively speaking. Rather humility permits us to acknowledge our weaknesses without disregarding our strengths. By way of contrast, while pride is an overexaggerated sense of self importance, humility is a fair assessment of ourselves as limited, yet, sufficient human beings.

endurance of humility

B”H

netzach shebbe hod

(endurance within humility)

The opposite of humility is pride. This being so, in focusing on our humility, we should be aware of pride in all of its manifestations, such as arrogance, haughtiness, and self centeredness. I’m sure there are other qualities that may be mentioned; I’ll leave this up to the reader. In diminishing pride, we allow for the presence of humility.

Pride is an overexagerated sense of self importance. Therefore, I would not include self esteem under the general category of pride. On the contrary, I believe that self esteem is both healthy and necessary in a person’s life. Of course, there is a fine line, that needs to be drawn by the individual.

How may the quality of endurance contribute to humility? It is not easy to maintain a modest estimation of oneself and one’s abilities. There is the lure of the secular perspective to aggrandize ourselves, compete against others, and climb up the ladder of egoism towards self glory. However, this is all contrary to humility.

Let me be clear, humility should not lead towards becoming a doormat, for others to wipe their feet upon. Humility should rather help us encounter an accurate understanding of our strengths and weaknesses. To know the truth about oneself, will further guard against narcissism, and the potential to form a false personae.

Ultimately, humility leads to splendor, another aspect of the sefirah “hod.” The two seem contrary to each other; yet, there is an explanation, grounded in the Tree of Life. By humbling ourselves before G-d, we can allow Him to raise us up, to build and rebuild our lives, and to cast His glory [splendor] upon us.

the humility of endurance

B”H

omer Count: 26

hod shebbe netzach

(humility within endurance)

Tenacity, perseverence, and resilience in the face of setbacks, allows us to be persistent in the pursuit of our goals. Yet, humility will keep an overly ambitious nature in check, so that we will not lose sight of our limitations. “Pride goeth before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18, 1917 Tanach). Therefore, consider the example of the narrative, concerning the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). Shall we raise ourselves up above G-d in our hubris? (See Genesis 11:4). Rather, instead, we are best served by our own humility, when we are able to adhere to the blueprints of G-d.