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For the week ending 4 February 2012 / 10 Shevat 5772

Conceded Conceit

by Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman - www.rabbiullman.com
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

From: Dennis

Dear Rabbi,

I find that I have a problem with arrogance. Is there anything you can tell me that might help me work on this shortcoming?

Dear Gary,

Interestingly enough, in your very question you admit to being flawed. Isn’t that humbling enough?

A man once went to the Kotsker Rebbe with a similar request saying, “Rabbi, I am haughty. Please help me be humble.”

The Rebbe told him to sit down with him in his study for a while.

Soon thereafter, a person entered the study asking the Rebbe for a blessing and help in marrying off his daughter. The Rebbe referred him to the visitor to seek financial help. Surprised, the visitor replied, “But Rebbe, I have no money of substance to help.”

A little later, another person entered the study asking the Rebbe to clarify a certain intricate matter of halacha. The Rebbe referred him to the visitor for an answer. Taken aback, the visitor replied, “Dear Rebbe, my Torah knowledge is only very basic. I cannot answer this.”

Then a third man entered the study asking the Rebbe for advice regarding a particular endeavor. The Rebbe referred him to the visitor for advice in the matter. Discomfited, the visitor replied, “Wise Rebbe, I am not qualified to counsel on this, or other, endeavors.”

The Kotzker Rebbe then needled the visitor, “According to your own admission, you have little money, little Torah, and little worldly wisdom. So what exactly is it that you’re arrogant about?”

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