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Jewish Thinking

The Prohibition of Being Proud: Right to the Goal

Published on Sunday February 10th, 2019

1. In the "Nefesh Ha'Chaim", in the additional chapters between the third and fourth part, it says: "Dear reader, with the help of Hashem, I have guided you on the path of truth in order to show you the way in which you have to go step by step, in accordance with the different levels we have talked about.

According to the purity of your heart and your intellectual abilities, you will be able to overcome the levels we have mentioned thanks to a repeated exercise. You will then see with your own eyes, that the more you persevere in this ascent, the purer your heart will become, whether in the study of the Torah or in the fulfillment of the Mitzvot or in the fear or the love of G-d”.

2. "Take heed, however, and be careful not to be overcome by pride, by overestimating yourself because you serve your Creator with pure thought. Especially since you may not realize immediately that you are proud of yourself. That is why you will have to constantly examine your conscience and be very attentive to it. The verse says explicitly: "Whoever has a haughty heart is an abomination to the Lord" (Proverbs 16: 5). For even if pride is not visible in the eyes of others and remains confined in your heart, alone with yourself, it remains an abomination for G-d, Blessed be He. Because, as it is known, it is at the root of the bad inclination and all the bad traits of character''.

3. "The Gemara teaches that "whoever is proud is like one who raises an altar to idolatry, and the divine Presence accuses him." And in Pesachim, (66b), it says that "As soon as he takes pride, even if he is wise, his wisdom leaves him".

4. "Every man in whose heart the fear of G-d sits, and which causes the hair that hangs over his head to stand, and his eyes fill with tears when he thinks about the examples that inspired the Sages: Hillel haZaken, who was renowned for his profound modesty and extreme humility, the day he let himself be carried away by what seemed to be – by virtue of his high level - a slight relaxation, he was punished on the spot and forgot a Halacha [Passover, 66b]. If so, what should we say? What could we argue? How much must we remain vigilant at every moment!"

5. One should refer to this passage of the Gemara and the books of Mussar that address the problem of pride because we will not dwell on this subject here. If we have mentioned it briefly, it is to remind ourselves that man should not become proud because of the tests that he managed to overcome in his Avodat Hashem.

Rav Yaakov ADES - © Torah-Box Account

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