A Message from Rabbi in The Messenger Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Humility (in Hebrew: anavah) is a gateway to growth.

As our new Temple building takes shape, we are gearing up to enter a new space, a new era, and… a new adventure! We look forward to getting to know our new physical space better. We look forward to getting to know one another better. And we look forward to greeting new faces in our new Temple. In short, we look forward to growth, in more ways than one….

What spiritual tools will we take with us?

I share with you here some thoughts on the importance of humility as a spiritual tool and, particularly, as a gateway to growth.

In truth, humility is one of the most illusive human characteristics. It is as hard to define as it is to develop and to maintain.

The Torah tells us that Moses, at the height of his “career,” was the most humble (in Hebrew: anav) of all people. Some Biblical translations use the word “meek” as a translation of the Hebrew word anav. Certainly, Moses was not meek. He was strong – stronger than most of us. Other Biblical translations use the word “humble.” Perhaps they chose this translation, rather than “meek,” because we know that Moses’ brand of anavah was a combination of humility along with strength, along with resolve, along with dedication and along with love.

As I see it, humility is a gateway to growth, because in order for us to grow as individuals and as a community, we must be open to absorbing the significance of new information and of new ideas. We need to be humble enough to know that despite our strengths and abilities, we don’t have all the answers ourselves. That is the nature of humility – the kind of humility that opens a gateway to growth.

A story is told about a king who wanted to demonstrate his humility. So, in a royal procession, the king took care to walk on foot behind his empty royal carriage. This king missed the point that our tradition teaches. He missed the point that humility, as exhibited by Moses in the Bible, is not what shows on the outside. Humility is what is felt in our hearts.

As Moses led our people on a journey toward The Promised Land, Moses never lost sight of the goals of our people. He never lost sight of his quest to “know God.” Yet he accepted that, despite the fact that he was chosen by God to lead our
people from Egypt and from slavery to The Promised Land and to freedom, even he could not know everything about God. Moses accepted the fact that neither he nor any other human being could have all the answers. That is the kind of humility that leads to growth – to the appreciation of new opportunities both physical and spiritual, and to greater connection and love in our relationships with God and with our fellow human beings!

Which spiritual tools would you have us take with us as we look forward toward our future? I welcome your thoughts and comments on this question.

I take this opportunity to with us all a wonderful winter and a very happy Purim!!!! May our joy and our humility move us forward and connect us better to one another, day in and day out.