• Home
  • Parashah Insights
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals & Fasts
  • Articles
  • Books
  • About
  •  

    Truly humble – B’ha’alot’cha

    Dickens' Uriah Heep, by Frank Reynolds, 1910

    “And the man Moses was very humble” (Num. 12:3).

    Dickens’ Uriah Heep was also very humble. He told you about it. He might have been the originator of the phrase with which people used to end their letters, “Your humble servant”.

    Compared with Uriah Heep, Moses was a failure at humility. He did not brag about it, nor was he probably even aware of it. Other leaders like to big-note themselves, to sit in the front row, to walk first in the procession, to add all their titles and honorifics when they sign their letters.

    Not Moses. If he wrote a letter, his notepaper was certainly not headed Moshe Rabbenu. He probably had the simple heading Moshe – that is, if he felt a heading was necessary at all. The well-known saying, “He who chases after honour, honour runs away from him” could have been formulated for him.

    (Though everyone thinks this saying derives from the Talmud, in fact its origin is unknown, as is that of the companion saying, “He who flees from honour, honour chases after him”.)

    Moses was himself. He could face God and not be ashamed. He received very little reward – but he did not need it. The people gave him a hard time and even accused him of adultery and fraud.

    We understand that when he appointed Joshua as his successor he did warn him, according to the sages, that this world would bring him no rewards for his work. Joshua was no clone of Moses, but he accepted Moses’ position anticipating only one blessing, the feeling of contributing what was expected of him.

    Comments are closed.