Our Middah this week, 

וְהָאִ֥ישׁ מֹשֶׁ֖ה עָנָ֣ו מְאֹ֑ד מִכֹּל֙ הָֽאָדָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הָאֲדָמָֽה׃ 

“Now the man Moshe was exceedingly humble, more than any earthling who was on the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3) 

comes from this week’s Torah portion of Beha’alotcha. This profound observation about Moshe’s character serves as a powerful lesson on the virtue of humility. To expand on this, let’s explore why humility is considered a virtue and how Moshe exemplified this trait.

Humility is an important virtue in many ways. It fosters openness to learning by allowing individuals to recognize they do not have all the answers, making them more receptive to new ideas and constructive criticism. It builds strong relationships through better listening and empathy, creating trust and cooperation. Humility is crucial for effective leadership, as humble leaders inspire others by valuing their team’s contributions and making decisions for the collective good, as exemplified by Moshe. It also promotes self-awareness by encouraging accurate self-assessment, helping individuals avoid arrogance and pride. Lastly, humility leads to moral and ethical behaviour, instilling a sense of gratitude and responsibility, and motivating individuals to act ethically and consider the impact of their actions on others.

Moshe is often cited as the epitome of humility, and his life provides several key examples of this virtue in action. When called by Hashem to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moshe initially resisted, expressing doubt in his own abilities, demonstrating his deep sense of humility and awareness of the task’s magnitude. He understood his limitations and willingly delegated responsibilities, as shown when he implemented his father-in-law Yitro’s advice to appoint judges. Moshe often interceded on behalf of the Israelites, pleading with Hashem to forgive their transgressions, prioritizing their well-being over his own. He consistently attributed his achievements and the miracles to Hashem’s power, never seeking personal recognition or glory. Moshe’s life was dedicated to serving the Israelites, often placing their needs above his own, enduring hardships to lead them through the wilderness for 40 years, a testament to his humble nature and commitment to service.

Humility is a virtue because it fosters openness, strong relationships, effective leadership, self-awareness, and ethical behaviour. Moshe exemplified humility through his actions, demonstrating that true leadership and greatness come from serving others and recognizing one’s place within the larger plan. His life serves as a timeless lesson on the power and importance of humility in both our personal and communal life. May we all learn from this important lesson and strive to embody humility in our own lives, leading with compassion, integrity, and a genuine desire to contribute to the greater good. Let us remember that through humility, we can build a stronger Heschel community, inspire those around us, and create a positive impact that resonates far beyond our immediate actions.

Shabbat Shalom,

Moreh Alan