Page 175 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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ANGEL/RABBI YAACOV HULI
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take precedence even over the poor of one’s own town (Genesis
14:22). By giving charity, one shows himself worthy of God’s
blessings (Genesis 14:20).
A wealthy person should realize that moral uprightness is far
more important than material possessions. To be truly consid­
ered wealthy, one must be compassionate, humble, upright and
merciful. If he lacks these qualities, he cannot be considered
to be wealthy in the real sense (Genesis 18:1).
IN PRAISE OF HUMILITY
The
Meam Loez
emphasized the virtue of humility. God Him­
self serves as the model of humility; He began the Torah with
the word
bereshit
(referring to Israel, according to one interpre­
tation) rather than with His own name. If God mentioned Israel
even before Himself, we certainly should learn to give prece­
dence to others, even those who are less important than we
(Genesis 1:1).
God created Adam from dust, not from gold (Genesis 2:7).
He created a vast universe, so that when we look at the sky
we sense God’s grandeur and power. This humbles us, remind­
ing us of our obligation to serve God with devotion and to avoid
sin (Genesis 2:7).
Humility is the foundation for the attainment of every other
good moral quality. It is the first step in the proper service
of God (Genesis 13:14). Our biblical heroes were humble. Abra­
ham said: “I am dust and ashes.” Moses and Aaron said: “what
are we?” King David said: “I am a worm and not a man.” But
the heathens were arrogant, thinking themselves great and pow­
erful. Yet humility is far greater than pride; in the end it is
rewarded (Genesis 14:14).
Those in power especially need to remind themselves to re­
main humble. King David had a coin struck. On one side was
a depiction of a tower, representing a fortress he built. On the
other side was a depiction of a shepherd’s crook and pouch.
Even as king, David did not forget his humble beginnings (Gen­
esis 12:4). Even when a person has great status and is like the
“stars of the sky,” he must stay as humble as the “sand on the
seashore” (Genesis 22:18).
One should strive to serve others and not consider himself
more lofty or dignified than them. Moses served his people,