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In our community, character matters. We created a program to help us balance our character traits. Browse our learning materials and strengthen your own character. This should be the basis of every healthy faith community.
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by Rebbetzin Malkah
"We like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to them. The result is that most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do." James Harvey Robinson, American historian (1863-1936)
A quote like the one above succinctly sums up the tone and the troubles of the Children of Israel throughout the book of Bamidbar. The continuing struggle for a past reality, the misconception that all that there was and is now is all that will be, and the struggle to step forward in faith. As we see all around the world, society is becoming disgruntled over the price of fuel. Not one of us wants to pay more for the substance, but neither does anyone wish to run completely out of petrol on the highway or byway. But perhaps the solution coming our way is quite contrary to what we might expect or desire. Indeed, what we might need is to come to the verge of running out completely in order to spur on a true change and a new hope. As B'nei Yisrael needed to enter the vast desert to run out all of their adverse ways, the future of transportation and our own lives is very much dependent on one thing for change: an empty tank.
The car packed to the hilt, the Thule threatening to burst at the seams atop our car, our family drove with desperation for one purpose only: to be near the mountains. The familiar rental cabin nestled fifteen miles from Mt. Baker in Washington affords five star mountain accommodations: no cell phone access, no wireless internet and no cable TV. In essence, the goal was to set up shop, our own Mishkan, away from the roar of everyday life. While some of the usual technological conveniences were lost, we knew we would not be without the four elements crucial to the Mishkan and considered symbolically essential in any Jewish home: the Ark, the Table, the Menorah and the Incense Altar. Ok, well not literally - they wouldn't fit in the car. However, all of these elements are interconnected to the basic physical elements that still exist in this world: air, fire, earth and water. Being out in the more remote areas at the foot of a mountain, it wasn't hard to see that I was in a larger than life Mishkan model that was vitally connected to all of these natural elements. Perhaps it was noticing on our second day the Holy Smoke bus, clad in gold (or school bus yellow paint) that waited outside the gate of the cabin properties boasting of an eatery just down the road. It sat there, as if some beacon, reminding me that even in this remote area, under the Heavens, we carry our own Mishkans with us today and follow suit with the kohanim: setting up, tearing down, wherever we go, wherever we stay.
Mussar articles on Humility
Humility is about seeking a level playing field between all people. In displaying this trait, one does not seek to degrade or puff up oneself or others. Mashiach Yeshua says, “The greatest among you shall be to you as a servant. Everyone who lifts himself up will be brought low, but everyone who lowers himself will be lifted up.” (Matthew 23 : 11-12, DHE). Humility out of balance can appear two ways. One extreme displays haughtiness, while the other extreme displays groveling and self-deprecation. The obvious middle is where humility shines.