Humble, but not a “shimazl”!

Although the basis of humility is to stop feeling your own worth, to become “nothing”, it is still forbidden to be pitiful and despised, the so-called “shlemazl” (Yiddish), for this is wrong humility, God forbid.

After all, a person should be strong, courageous and unyielding, a real fighter in order to withstand all who prevent him from serving the Almighty, blessed is He, as it is said: “And he lifted up his heart in the ways of Gd” (Divrei a Yamim II, 17).

But the one who humbles himself before the proud who want to remove him from the path of truth – with such “humility” he only feeds their pride. Therefore, it is wrong humility, and it is like pride. And this was the mistake of King Shaul, who took pity on the Jewish hater Agag, the king of the Amalekites. Knowing that the latter must be destroyed immediately, he nevertheless allowed Doeg to convince himself. And the prophet Shmuel reproached him for this false modesty: “And even if you are insignificant in your eyes, but you are the head of the tribes of Israel” (Shmuel I, 15).

Mordechai corrected this mistake , who was a descendant of King Shaul. Although Mordechai achieved genuine humility (aspect of nothing), he did not want to humble himself before the proud (aspect of Haman-Amalek), as stated in the book of Esther (3): “And Mordechai did not bow down and did not prostrate himself (before Haman)” [1].

Indeed, this question is extremely delicate, and it is necessary to weigh everything very carefully here – after all, you need to be humble to the end (the aspect of nothing), and nevertheless, be courageous and unyielding in the face of villains and those who prevent us from approaching Gd.


[1] When, after the destruction of the first Temple, the Jews were in exile, they began to move away from the Torah. Then a terrible warning followed from above. There was a danger of total destruction due to the rise of the hater of the Jews – the villain Haman. But thanks to the righteousness of Mordecai and Esther, who prompted the people to repentance, the formidable predestination was canceled. The villain Haman was hanged to a tree he had prepared for Mordecai.
(Likutei alahot, tefillin laws 6, 23).