Classics and Beyond Behaaloscha – True Humility

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    Classics and Beyond Behaaloscha – True Humility
    והאיש משה ענו מאד מכל האדם אשר על פני האדמה
    And the man Moshe was exceedingly humble, more than any person on the face of the earth (Bamidar 12:3).
    The pasuk describes the “ish Moshe – man Moshe” as being humbler than any other “adam – person.” What is the intent of the Torah in this switch, calling Moshe an ish while comparing his humility to others known as adam? Rav Nissan Alpert (Limudei Nissan) has an insightful observation on this pasuk, which illustrates what true anavah is.
    The term adam can refer to any human being, even at birth. Every person, even one who has not yet achieved anything, is called an adam. An ish, however, denotes a person of accomplishment and success, one who has made something of himself.
    Moshe was the ultimate ish and was even described as “ish ha’Elokim – a man of G-d” (Devarim 33:1). His achievement and stature were unparalleled. In this pasuk, the Torah contrasts the humility of Moshe, the ish par excellence, with every other adam on the face of the earth. Moshe, in all of his majesty, was humbler than the most common of people, even a mere adam.
    For an adam, a man of no accomplishment, to be humble is no trick, since he does not have a lot going for him. True humility is demonstrated when a man of achievement remains humble; he does not allow what he has made of himself to go to his head.
    This idea is evident from a thought of the Kotzker Rebbe, based on Sotah (5a). The Gemara quotes Rabbi Yosef, who said, “A person should always learn from his Creator, for Hashem set aside all of the mountains and hills and rested His Shechinah on Har Sinai.” Kabbalas HaTorah requires humility. Hence, Moshe, the humblest person, acquired Torah to a greater degree than any other person.
    The Kotzker asks: If humility is so great, why give the Torah on Har Sinai? It’s still a mountain; to truly demonstrate humility, the Torah should have been given on a flatland or even a valley. The Kotzker explains that it is no big deal for a valley or flatland to be humble. Therefore, the Torah was given on Har Sinai. It was a mountain, albeit a small one. It did stand out and had what to show for itself, yet still remained humble.
    This notion can be seen in another statement in the Gemara (Nedarim 38a), which says in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: “Hashem does not place His Shechinah on a person unless he is strong, wise, wealthy, and humble, and all these traits were found by Moshe.” It’s clear why Hashem will not place His Shechinah on a person lacking humility. The Gemara in Sotah quoted above also tells us that Hashem says, “I and he – the one who is arrogant – cannot dwell in the same world.”
    But why are strength, wisdom, and wealth prerequisites for communion with Hashem? In fact, another Gemara (Shabbos 92a) mentions another condition of receiving prophecy: height. Why do these features affect one’s ability to connect with the Shechinah?
    Rav Chaim Volozhin also explains that the critical factor here is humility – true humility. The apparent humility of a short, weak, poor, and unintelligent person isn’t saying much; he has nothing to be proud of anyway. A person who is tall, strong, wealthy, and wise, yet stays humble demonstrates real humility. Such a person is truly deserving of being a Sanctuary for the Shechinah.
    The Ksav Sofer (Vayikra 161b) adds that this is the reason the Torah calls Moshe by the name his adoptive mother gave him, rather than the other names given by his parents and by Hashem. The name Moshe implies that he was drawn from the water by the daughter of Pharaoh (Shemos 2:10); he was raised in the palace and was brought up as a royal. He had every reason to become haughty, yet he did not consider himself superior to even the lowest slave.
    The Torah is emphasizing that the man who was called Moshe, with all that the name encompasses, still remained humble.

    Sam Klein

    Tzaddikim & poskim when approached with a question in Halacha, will most likely do 2 things. Either they will make you comfortable & tell you, come lets learn it together or they will tell you to wait a moment. BUT this is only done either as a sign of humility & to stay away from the evil act of pride or to make you feel warm. Example. A posek with a line of 100 people with questions would love to tell each one yes/no you can/not do this on shabbos etc… & you can look it up in Shulchan Aruch Siman– Sif–. He would love to finish answering everyone so he can go back to his own learning. He is only looking it up to keep his humility.

    A friend of mine many years ago told me this below after many years of doing the work he’s still doing today.
    Being that i am a photographer for newspapers & many others, i once took pictures of a kollel learning with Chavrusas & rabbonim. A week later a person from the kollel comes over to me & asked me why he didn’t make it into the newspaper, i then told him the difference between putting him in the newspaper & putting a rav or Rosh yeshiva in the newspaper. The difference is that when a rosh yeshiva reads the newspaper (& there’s nothing wrong with reading the newspaper a person should know what’s going on in the world or his town etc…)& then sees himself in the newspaper 80 times in 3 newspapers in-only-2 weeks, he doesn’t say to himself or to his wife look how great i am. That ego of pride does not even exist to him. & if you think it only applies to rabbonim your mistaken. Rabbonim are the honor of Ruchnius, Politicians are the honor of Gashmius. If a person could prove to Hashem that all this pride, honor & respect will not effect his relationship with Hashem, then he is ready to become a politician & be Backed up for success by Hashem himself.

    After hearing the above message from my friend a few years ago I couldn’t agree more with what he said and how right he is.

    May we all work on our humility and drop that pride and ego inside of us that destroys a person and remember that everything we have and do all comes from Hashems help to bring us to where we are today so all the credit of our accomplishments actually goes directly to Hashem who gave us the Hatzlacha in everything.

    Reb Eliezer

    The Midrash Shmuel explains כל מחלוקת לשם שמים סופו להתקיים all arguments for a Divine purpose will eventually stand. Who wants an argument to stand? The Beis Hilel because of their humility wanted to her the Beis Shamai’s view first to see an opposite view in order not to stumble by having tunnel vision. Thereby the Beis Shamai also became praise worthy as they helped the Beis Hillel to arrive to the truth. Leosid Lova we will pasken like the Beis Shamai as currently we don’t understand their stringent views but then we will gain a new understanding and the majority will follow them.

    Reb Eliezer

    Mods, should be above wanted to hear.


    Rashi interprets Onov: ‘savlan’. One who tolerates, takes it…


    A ראיה to this is from today’s Daf 23A in Gittin. Rashi says that קטן can’t be a שליח because the פסוק says “איש” in the פסוק that teaches us Shlichus. Rashi says a Katan isn’t an איש. This could ne because he hasn’t yet developed his דעת he is just an אדם.


    This issue is a dispute of Torah giants. See below, first Netziv then the Reisha Rav who argues based on the Rashi you cited.

    1. The Netziv (HaAmek Davar) gives a different reason. After overhearing the conversation between Miriam and Aharon, Moshe, in his exceptional humility, was not affected at all. He did not have chalishus hadaas (weakening of one’s faculties). As such, there was no need for the Torah to go out of its way to discuss Moshe’s unique greatness. Hashem only elaborated upon Moshe’s greatness because this is relevant to the essence of the Torah, for all times — to know the tremendous qualities of Moshe and that he was beyond any other prophet in the world. Hashem had to intercede because the uniqueness of Moshe’s prophecy is an essential component of our emunah (see the seventh yesod in Rambam’s commentary to Mishnayos Sanhedrim, Ch. 10).
    Hence, the pasuk about his anavah serves as a disclaimer of sorts, dismissing the possible thought that Hashem intervened in order to defend Moshe’s personal honor. As the anav par excellence, with no concern for his own honor, Moshe experienced no pain or slight from Miriam’s words. (See also Rambam’s Mishneh Torah: Hilchos Tumas Tzaraas 16:10.)
    The Netziv goes on to explain that Moshe’s lack of concern for personal honor or kavod is not a reflection of a low personal assessment. Rather, an anav does not care about or have a need for honor. He may very well be a great person who knows his strengths, but he does not seek recognition or acknowledgement from others because of this stature. He does what he has to do and is not concerned whether or not he is afforded special treatment. Moshe certainly knew his greatness; it was merely that he did not feel that he deserved anything special on that account.

    2. Rav Aharon Levine, the Reisha Rav (HaDerash VeHaIyun, #104), does not agree with the Netziv’s assessment. He posits that Moshe was certainly pained by what Miriam said, but he did not respond in kind. To prove his point, Rav Levine cites Rashi, who defines the word “anav” as “shafal ve’savlan,” humble and longsuffering, meaning that Moshe was sovel, he tolerated, the insult and the pain.
    This is corroborated by the words of the Sifrei (Behaaloscha 100), where it says that Aharon and Miriam spoke in Moshe’s presence, yet Moshe controlled himself and did not react or respond. The Ramban cites this Sifrei and adds that this demonstrates Moshe’s anivus, since he put up with the negative talk and did not answer.
    So we see that it did bother him. Yet to his credit, and due to his unparalleled humility, he did not respond in spite of the pain he felt. In addition, Rav Levine points out that many times during the forty years in the Midbar, Bnei Yisrael complained to Moshe and argued with him, but he did not react. Such humility, such strength of character, is worthy of praise.

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