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

realize your dream

B”H

Netzach shebbe yesod

(endurance within foundation)

The emotional correspondents of the day are netzach (endurance) within yesod (foundation). Building a foundation in life requires a persistent endeavor. It is through netzach that goals may be brought to fruition. The quality of endurance, constant effort despite the challenges in life, gives us the tenacity to achieve our dreams. Yet, the actual building of a foundation in life, requires channeling one’s ideas into a realized dream. To dream is not enough; rather, to accomplish one’s dreams, in the actual sense, is to draw on the quality of netzach.

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.

sovereignty of endurance

B”H

malchut shebbe netzach

sovereignty within endurance

Where within the quality of endurance, may autonomy be found? How does a sense of self, and personal motivation contribute to one’s endurance in the face of challenges? How much can we rely on our own autonomy, without seeking guidance from a Higher Authority? Ultimately, G-d would like us to be dependent upon Him, rather than see ourselves as completely independent. Yet, the more we depend upon Him, the less need there will be to depend upon others. Therefore, ironically, we become more self-sufficient in the eyes of others, who are not aware of the source of our strength. We endure, not only through our own efforts, but through our focus on G-d.

foundation of endurance

B”H

12 Iyar 5780

May 6, 2020

yesod shebbe netzach

(foundation within endurance)

A secure foundation in life, lends support to the coping styles that are of benefit, in order to endure the challenges in life. I recently read how mental health practitioners in NYC, including psychologists and counselors, are extremely challenged by the circumstances of their caseloads, inasmuch that not only are they inundated with the same concerns of their clients, namely anxiety derived from COVID-19 related issues, they also, admittedly so, are experiencing the same issues in their own lives. Wherein, caught up with the same issues, they are drawing support from their colleagues and mentors. The building blocks of support from others, family, friends, or professionsals, may serve as a structure, a safety net for endurance, especially, during these challenging times. Yet, we would be neglecting our complete health, if we do not seek support from Above.

“I lift up my eyes unto the mountains: from whence shall my help come? My help cometh from the L-RD, Who made heaven and earth.”

– Psalm 121:1-2, JPS 1917 Tanach

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.

consistency and endurance

B”H

Omer 24th day

tiferes shebbe netzach

(harmony within endurance)

Harmony within a person’s psyche may contribute to a sense of endurance, in regard to life’s goals, challenges, and world view. In order to “stay on track,” so to speak, having a consistency of values helps one to endure. On the other hand competing ideas, emotions, or behaviors may cause the soul to lose focus on its objectives in life. May H’Shem have mercy on us, so that we may not stray from the derech (path). May we be able to endure all of the challenges that we may face over time, while remaining consistent on our adherence to the blueprints of the Torah.