Saturday, October 8, 2011

How to avoid arrogance regarding one's Torah knowledge


"Sometimes the yetzer hara adds to a person's sins; not only does it seduce him to desist from learning Torah, but it inspires him with a spirit of arrogance, to think himself an honored person because of his breadth of intellect and his ability to question and answer and gauge the authenticity of words of Torah.

"In truth, this is fundamentally flawed. To what may this situation be compared? To a servant of a great Count, appointed over inspection of forgeries. He becomes a great expert in recognizing documents to identify them as valid – but can he therefore think himself wealthy?!...

"There is counsel to help him conquer his yetzer: Let him stand before a shelf holding a complete Shas [Talmud], and contemplate the fact that he does not have so much as a single volume inscribed on his heart, so that he is truly impoverished. As the sages said, 'One who lacks this, what has he acquired?' And then he will be humbled, and he will repent and be healed."

(Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (Chofetz Chaim), Shem Olam II, Chapter 6, footnote)

Pitka tava,


  1. I wonder what the CHofetz Chaim would think of todays chareidim who dress in suits and Borsalino hats during the week. When I asked once about this I was told "We must dress like sarei Hashem" IMHO this is pure yuhara. It would be more fitting if those who are not Rabbanim or recognized talmidei chachamim would dress as simple servants of Hashem.

  2. I don't know what the Chafetz Chaim would think. I do know that I have enough to work on in my own backyard, though...