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18.12.2013 18:49    Comments: 0    Categories: Weekly Parashah      Tags: torah  shabbat  weekly parashah  miketz  

Parashat Miketz-Chanuka 5774  by  Rabbi Shlomo Aviner 

                The Humble Rabbi

 Every person is obligated to be humble (Rambam, Hilchot De’ot 1-2; MesillatYesharim 11), all the more so that a rabbi must be humble. He must be humble vis-à-vis therabbis of previous generations and humble vis-à-vis the rabbis of his own generation.

First, he must be humble vis-à-vis the Torah giants of previous generations. He must realize that compared to them, he is nothing. As Maharal said in the introduction to hiswork, “Be’er HaGola”:“A man’s perfection… consists of appraising oneself properly and not foolishly… Thefool compares himself to those of previous generations and says, ‘I, too, have a brain. Thosedays of old were not as good as our own.’ The sages of the Talmud were humble, and theysaid: ‘Our predecessors’ intelligence was as expansive as the entranceway to the TempleHall ulam] and of the more recent sages as small as the entranceway to the Temple palace [heichal]. As for myself, I am like a minuscule needle hole’ (Eiruvin 53a).

The earlier sages were total intelligence… Whoever likens himself to the earlier sages is doubly a fool. Hedoes not recognize the worth of those sages and he does not know his own worth.”(Introduction to Be’er HaGola, pp. 9-10)

Humility vis-à-vis the rabbis of his own generation:

He must realize that he does not possess all the truth, justice, integrity, Torah or wisdom. He must not seize honor at hisfellow’s expense, saying, “I am the real Jewish People, whereas those others are extremists.”Certainly not! The Jewish People means the

entire Jewish People.

The humble rabbi shoulders the yoke with his fellow rabbis (from the forty-eightmeans by which the Torah is acquired – Avot 6). He does not agree with his colleague onevery point, but he cooperates with him. He does not say, “It’s me or nothing.” He does notsuffer over the fact that he has no monopoly on a connection to the Jewish People, and nomonopoly on popularity.How humble were the School of Hillel, who would not only quote the opinions of thecompeting School of Shammai, but would quote them before their own opinions.The humble rabbi knows that he cannot, alone, solve all the problems of the JewishPeople. Rather, he must devotedly engage in his own G-d-given share in the Torah. Hecertainly must not discount any rabbi who is unlike himself.The Maggid from Moznitz expounded regarding the verse, “This is the Torah of theGuilt Offering – it is holy of holies” (Leviticus 7:1): What makes a person cast blame on hisfellow man? The thought that he, himself, is holy of holies, a total saint.Our watchword must be to “dwell within our people” (II Kings 4:13).


The Zohar explains several times that one who goes it alone places himself in danger. By contrast, one who goes along together with the entire nation is protected by the divine light that rests over us all.




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