To Have Humility Is To Be Human

Rabbi Nebel's Blog Posted on February 26, 2019 by midwesttorah

Humility is the key to success. Our Rabbis in Pirkei Avot said it best when they said, “Who is a wise man? One who learns from every person. As it says in Psalms, “From every man, I have become enlightened.” It is the truest testament to personal growth when I allow myself to learn from everyone. If I ever believe that someone has nothing to teach me, I am cutting myself of from a fountain of knowledge. As Rabbi Chanina said, “I have learned from my teacher, ever more from my colleagues, but I have learned the most from my students.” How could the teacher say that he learned the most from his students? His students saw the problem from their perspective and instead of crushing their initiative, he grew from it and encouraged their independent thought. As a result, his students gained a greater respect and love for their teacher and also understood that if they were to grow, they would also have to humble themselves and listen to people not as knowledgeable as them.
Every once and a while, when one returns from the “ivory tower of education” and is feeling overly self-important, something will happen to bring one back down to earth. In The Palm Tree Of Devorah authored by R Moshe Cordovera, he cites a case in the Talmud which reflects this reality. He states, “ Eliyahu the Prophet appeared to Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar as an ugly, despicably, loathsome pauper in order to enlighten him. For in his elation with his learning, he insulted the poor fellow, who then rebuked Rabbi Shimon profusely for his character defect.”
Humility is the key to being human. It is what makes us want to help others and to see the best in all. R Cordovera writes at length, with practical applications, as how to develop one’s humility. It is a worthwhile read and a great way to develop not only humility but many other important character traits that will greatly improve your life. Tell me what you think.