Monday, February 22, 2016

A Day Celebrating Humility

You probably won’t find “Be Humble Day” listed on most commercial calendars, but the concept of the day highlights a core value in Jewish life. The Book of Proverbs declares that “A person’s pride shall bring him/her low, but a person that is of a lowly spirit shall attain honor” (29:23).

Human nature desires honor, and maintaining a humble spirit can be tremendously challenging. When a person has an area that they feel is their expertise, it is easy to presume that they know more than others. This is precisely the attitude against which the Book of Proverbs warns: “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the lowly is wisdom” (11:2), A prideful expert will believe that he/she has nothing more to learn. A humble expert, on the other hand, will be confident in his/her knowledge yet open to hearing the opinion of others.

It is interesting to note that Judaism’s aversion to pride may be most applicably true in the context of religion itself. A person who has a holier-than-thou attitude is actually acting contrary to multiple Biblical verses. For instance, in the Book of Proverbs it says:

“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; my hand upon it! he shall not be unpunished” (16:5).

“The reward of humility is the fear of the Lord, even riches, and honor, and life (22:4).

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