There is a growing need, I shall argue, for what we may call the 'technologies of humility.' These are methods, or better yet institutionalized habits of thought, that try to come to grips with the ragged fringes of human understanding - the unknown, the uncertain, the ambiguous, and the uncontrollable. Acknowledging the limits of prediction and control, technologies of humility confront 'head-on' the normative implications of our lack of perfect foresight...
To move public discussion of science and technology in new directions, I have suggested a need for 'technologies of humility,' complementing the predictive 'technologies of hubris' on which we have lavished so much of our past attention.... these approaches to decision-making would seek to integrate the 'can do' orientation of science and engineering with the 'should do' questions of ethical and political analysis. They would engage the human subject as an active, imaginative agent, as well as a source of knowledge, insight, and memory.
- Sheila Jasanoff, "Technologies of Humility: Citizen Participation in Governing Science," John F. Kennedy School of Government, 2003.
(א) וְאַתָּ֡ה הַקְרֵ֣ב אֵלֶיךָ֩ אֶת־אַהֲרֹ֨ן אָחִ֜יךָ וְאֶת־בָּנָ֣יו אִתּ֔וֹ מִתּ֛וֹךְ בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לְכַהֲנוֹ־לִ֑י אַהֲרֹ֕ן נָדָ֧ב וַאֲבִיה֛וּא אֶלְעָזָ֥ר וְאִיתָמָ֖ר בְּנֵ֥י אַהֲרֹֽן׃ (ב) וְעָשִׂ֥יתָ בִגְדֵי־קֹ֖דֶשׁ לְאַהֲרֹ֣ן אָחִ֑יךָ לְכָב֖וֹד וּלְתִפְאָֽרֶת׃ (ג) וְאַתָּ֗ה תְּדַבֵּר֙ אֶל־כָּל־חַכְמֵי־לֵ֔ב אֲשֶׁ֥ר מִלֵּאתִ֖יו ר֣וּחַ חָכְמָ֑ה וְעָשׂ֞וּ אֶת־בִּגְדֵ֧י אַהֲרֹ֛ן לְקַדְּשׁ֖וֹ לְכַהֲנוֹ־לִֽי׃
...(טו) וְעָשִׂ֜יתָ חֹ֤שֶׁן מִשְׁפָּט֙ מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה חֹשֵׁ֔ב כְּמַעֲשֵׂ֥ה אֵפֹ֖ד תַּעֲשֶׂ֑נּוּ זָ֠הָב תְּכֵ֨לֶת וְאַרְגָּמָ֜ן וְתוֹלַ֧עַת שָׁנִ֛י וְשֵׁ֥שׁ מָשְׁזָ֖ר תַּעֲשֶׂ֥ה אֹתֽוֹ׃ (טז) רָב֥וּעַ יִֽהְיֶ֖ה כָּפ֑וּל זֶ֥רֶת אָרְכּ֖וֹ וְזֶ֥רֶת רָחְבּֽוֹ׃ (יז) וּמִלֵּאתָ֥ בוֹ֙ מִלֻּ֣אַת אֶ֔בֶן אַרְבָּעָ֖ה טוּרִ֣ים אָ֑בֶן ט֗וּר אֹ֤דֶם פִּטְדָה֙ וּבָרֶ֔קֶת הַטּ֖וּר הָאֶחָֽד׃ (יח) וְהַטּ֖וּר הַשֵּׁנִ֑י נֹ֥פֶךְ סַפִּ֖יר וְיָהֲלֹֽם׃ (יט) וְהַטּ֖וּר הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֑י לֶ֥שֶׁם שְׁב֖וֹ וְאַחְלָֽמָה׃ (כ) וְהַטּוּר֙ הָרְבִיעִ֔י תַּרְשִׁ֥ישׁ וְשֹׁ֖הַם וְיָשְׁפֵ֑ה מְשֻׁבָּצִ֥ים זָהָ֛ב יִהְי֖וּ בְּמִלּוּאֹתָֽם׃ (כא) וְ֠הָאֲבָנִים תִּֽהְיֶ֜יןָ עַל־שְׁמֹ֧ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל שְׁתֵּ֥ים עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה עַל־שְׁמֹתָ֑ם פִּתּוּחֵ֤י חוֹתָם֙ אִ֣ישׁ עַל־שְׁמ֔וֹ תִּֽהְיֶ֕יןָ לִשְׁנֵ֥י עָשָׂ֖ר שָֽׁבֶט׃
...(כט) וְנָשָׂ֣א אַ֠הֲרֹן אֶת־שְׁמ֨וֹת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל בְּחֹ֧שֶׁן הַמִּשְׁפָּ֛ט עַל־לִבּ֖וֹ בְּבֹא֣וֹ אֶל־הַקֹּ֑דֶשׁ לְזִכָּרֹ֥ן לִפְנֵֽי־ה' תָּמִֽיד׃ (ל) וְנָתַתָּ֞ אֶל־חֹ֣שֶׁן הַמִּשְׁפָּ֗ט אֶת־הָאוּרִים֙ וְאֶת־הַתֻּמִּ֔ים וְהָיוּ֙ עַל־לֵ֣ב אַהֲרֹ֔ן בְּבֹא֖וֹ לִפְנֵ֣י ה' וְנָשָׂ֣א אַ֠הֲרֹן אֶת־מִשְׁפַּ֨ט בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֧ל עַל־לִבּ֛וֹ לִפְנֵ֥י ה' תָּמִֽיד׃ (ס)
(1) You shall bring forward your brother Aaron, with his sons, from among the Israelites, to serve Me as priests: Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron. (2) Make sacral vestments for your brother Aaron, for dignity and adornment. (3) Next you shall instruct all who are skillful, whom I have endowed with the gift of skill, to make Aaron’s vestments, for consecrating him to serve Me as priest...
(15) You shall make a breastpiece of decision, worked into a design; make it in the style of the ephod: make it of gold, of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and of fine twisted linen. (16) It shall be square and doubled, a span in length and a span in width. (17) Set in it mounted stones, in four rows of stones. The first row shall be a row of carnelian, chrysolite, and emerald; (18) the second row: a turquoise, a sapphire, and an amethyst; (19) the third row: a jacinth, an agate, and a crystal; (20) and the fourth row: a beryl, a lapis lazuli, and a jasper. They shall be framed with gold in their mountings. (21) The stones shall correspond [in number] to the names of the sons of Israel: twelve, corresponding to their names. They shall be engraved like seals, each with its name, for the twelve tribes...
(29) Aaron shall carry the names of the sons of Israel on the breastpiece of decision over his heart, when he enters the sanctuary, for remembrance before the Eternal at all times. (30) Inside the breastpiece of decision you shall place the Urim and Tummim, so that they are over Aaron’s heart when he comes before the Eternal. Thus Aaron shall carry the instrument of decision for the Israelites over his heart before the Eternal at all times.
Ma'ayanah Shel Torah on Ex. 28:30
On the stones of the breastpiece were engraved the names of the tribes. When the high priest came to ask something of the Urim and Tummim, certain letters from those engraved names would light up, and by means of the appropriate combination of the letters, the priest would find the answer to his question. However, in order to combine the letters in the correct order, to know the true answer, the priest required the Divine Spirit, and had to focus on the Name "Tummim."
And that is why our sages said: Urim - that which illuminates (me'irim) the words. Tummim - that which completes the words (Yoma 73).
Without the Tummim, it was impossible to know the meaning of the illuminated letters. Or, it was possible that he would combine the letters in a distorted manner, and to give an answer which did not come from heaven. [This explanation is from the Ramban].
According to these words from the Ramban, the Gaon of Vilna explains the dispute (I Sam. 1:13-15) between the high priest Eli and Hannah. When Eli saw Hannah, and Hannah's lips were moving but her voice was not heard, he thought that Hannah was a drunk. Therefore Hannah answered, "No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit." On this, our sages comment (Berakhot 31b): With the words, "lo adoni," she meant to say that the Divine Spirit did not rest on him. And on "I am a woman of sorrowful spirit (isha keshat ruach anochi), Rashi says: "like Sarah" (ke-Sarah) [or: kosher - keshera].
When Eli saw an unusual phenomenon such as this, that a woman was standing and her lips were moving, he inquired of the Urim and Tummim to know the meaning of it, and these letters lit up: shin-kaf-resh-heh. Eli combined the letters to make the word drunk (shikora), and he thought her to be a drunk. Hannah replied to him, "No, my lord" - the Divine Spirit is not with you in this matter, for you did not combine the letters in the correct order, for truly it is "like Sarah" (ke-Sarah) - for I am a woman of sorrowful spirit, because of being barren, like the example of Sarah our mother, who was upset because she had no son...
(א) וַיְהִי֩ אִ֨ישׁ אֶחָ֜ד מִן־הָרָמָתַ֛יִם צוֹפִ֖ים מֵהַ֣ר אֶפְרָ֑יִם וּשְׁמ֡וֹ אֶ֠לְקָנָה בֶּן־יְרֹחָ֧ם בֶּן־אֱלִיה֛וּא בֶּן־תֹּ֥חוּ בֶן־צ֖וּף אֶפְרָתִֽי׃ (ב) וְלוֹ֙ שְׁתֵּ֣י נָשִׁ֔ים שֵׁ֤ם אַחַת֙ חַנָּ֔ה וְשֵׁ֥ם הַשֵּׁנִ֖ית פְּנִנָּ֑ה וַיְהִ֤י לִפְנִנָּה֙ יְלָדִ֔ים וּלְחַנָּ֖ה אֵ֥ין יְלָדִֽים׃ (ג) וְעָלָה֩ הָאִ֨ישׁ הַה֤וּא מֵֽעִירוֹ֙ מִיָּמִ֣ים ׀ יָמִ֔ימָה לְהִֽשְׁתַּחֲוֺ֧ת וְלִזְבֹּ֛חַ לַה' צְבָא֖וֹת בְּשִׁלֹ֑ה וְשָׁ֞ם שְׁנֵ֣י בְנֵֽי־עֵלִ֗י חָפְנִי֙ וּפִ֣נְחָ֔ס כֹּהֲנִ֖ים לַה'׃ (ד) וַיְהִ֣י הַיּ֔וֹם וַיִּזְבַּ֖ח אֶלְקָנָ֑ה וְנָתַ֞ן לִפְנִנָּ֣ה אִשְׁתּ֗וֹ וּֽלְכָל־בָּנֶ֛יהָ וּבְנוֹתֶ֖יהָ מָנֽוֹת׃ (ה) וּלְחַנָּ֕ה יִתֵּ֛ן מָנָ֥ה אַחַ֖ת אַפָּ֑יִם כִּ֤י אֶת־חַנָּה֙ אָהֵ֔ב וַֽה' סָגַ֥ר רַחְמָֽהּ׃ (ו) וְכִֽעֲסַ֤תָּה צָֽרָתָהּ֙ גַּם־כַּ֔עַס בַּעֲב֖וּר הַרְּעִמָ֑הּ כִּֽי־סָגַ֥ר ה' בְּעַ֥ד רַחְמָֽהּ׃ (ז) וְכֵ֨ן יַעֲשֶׂ֜ה שָׁנָ֣ה בְשָׁנָ֗ה מִדֵּ֤י עֲלֹתָהּ֙ בְּבֵ֣ית ה' כֵּ֖ן תַּכְעִסֶ֑נָּה וַתִּבְכֶּ֖ה וְלֹ֥א תֹאכַֽל׃ (ח) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר לָ֜הּ אֶלְקָנָ֣ה אִישָׁ֗הּ חַנָּה֙ לָ֣מֶה תִבְכִּ֗י וְלָ֙מֶה֙ לֹ֣א תֹֽאכְלִ֔י וְלָ֖מֶה יֵרַ֣ע לְבָבֵ֑ךְ הֲל֤וֹא אָֽנֹכִי֙ ט֣וֹב לָ֔ךְ מֵעֲשָׂרָ֖ה בָּנִֽים׃ (ט) וַתָּ֣קָם חַנָּ֔ה אַחֲרֵ֛י אָכְלָ֥ה בְשִׁלֹ֖ה וְאַחֲרֵ֣י שָׁתֹ֑ה וְעֵלִ֣י הַכֹּהֵ֗ן יֹשֵׁב֙ עַל־הַכִּסֵּ֔א עַל־מְזוּזַ֖ת הֵיכַ֥ל ה'׃ (י) וְהִ֖יא מָ֣רַת נָ֑פֶשׁ וַתִּתְפַּלֵּ֥ל עַל־ה' וּבָכֹ֥ה תִבְכֶּֽה׃ (יא) וַתִּדֹּ֨ר נֶ֜דֶר וַתֹּאמַ֗ר ה' צְבָא֜וֹת אִם־רָאֹ֥ה תִרְאֶ֣ה ׀ בָּעֳנִ֣י אֲמָתֶ֗ךָ וּזְכַרְתַּ֙נִי֙ וְלֹֽא־תִשְׁכַּ֣ח אֶת־אֲמָתֶ֔ךָ וְנָתַתָּ֥ה לַאֲמָתְךָ֖ זֶ֣רַע אֲנָשִׁ֑ים וּנְתַתִּ֤יו לַֽה' כָּל־יְמֵ֣י חַיָּ֔יו וּמוֹרָ֖ה לֹא־יַעֲלֶ֥ה עַל־רֹאשֽׁוֹ׃ (יב) וְהָיָה֙ כִּ֣י הִרְבְּתָ֔ה לְהִתְפַּלֵּ֖ל לִפְנֵ֣י ה' וְעֵלִ֖י שֹׁמֵ֥ר אֶת־פִּֽיהָ׃ (יג) וְחַנָּ֗ה הִ֚יא מְדַבֶּ֣רֶת עַל־לִבָּ֔הּ רַ֚ק שְׂפָתֶ֣יהָ נָּע֔וֹת וְקוֹלָ֖הּ לֹ֣א יִשָּׁמֵ֑עַ וַיַּחְשְׁבֶ֥הָ עֵלִ֖י לְשִׁכֹּרָֽה׃ (יד) וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֵלֶ֙יהָ֙ עֵלִ֔י עַד־מָתַ֖י תִּשְׁתַּכָּרִ֑ין הָסִ֥ירִי אֶת־יֵינֵ֖ךְ מֵעָלָֽיִךְ׃ (טו) וַתַּ֨עַן חַנָּ֤ה וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ לֹ֣א אֲדֹנִ֔י אִשָּׁ֤ה קְשַׁת־ר֙וּחַ֙ אָנֹ֔כִי וְיַ֥יִן וְשֵׁכָ֖ר לֹ֣א שָׁתִ֑יתִי וָאֶשְׁפֹּ֥ךְ אֶת־נַפְשִׁ֖י לִפְנֵ֥י ה'׃ (טז) אַל־תִּתֵּן֙ אֶת־אֲמָ֣תְךָ֔ לִפְנֵ֖י בַּת־בְּלִיָּ֑עַל כִּֽי־מֵרֹ֥ב שִׂיחִ֛י וְכַעְסִ֖י דִּבַּ֥רְתִּי עַד־הֵֽנָּה׃ (יז) וַיַּ֧עַן עֵלִ֛י וַיֹּ֖אמֶר לְכִ֣י לְשָׁל֑וֹם וֵאלֹקֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל יִתֵּן֙ אֶת־שֵׁ֣לָתֵ֔ךְ אֲשֶׁ֥ר שָׁאַ֖לְתְּ מֵעִמּֽוֹ׃ (יח) וַתֹּ֕אמֶר תִּמְצָ֧א שִׁפְחָתְךָ֛ חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינֶ֑יךָ וַתֵּ֨לֶךְ הָאִשָּׁ֤ה לְדַרְכָּהּ֙ וַתֹּאכַ֔ל וּפָנֶ֥יהָ לֹא־הָיוּ־לָ֖הּ עֽוֹד׃ (יט) וַיַּשְׁכִּ֣מוּ בַבֹּ֗קֶר וַיִּֽשְׁתַּחֲווּ֙ לִפְנֵ֣י ה' וַיָּשֻׁ֛בוּ וַיָּבֹ֥אוּ אֶל־בֵּיתָ֖ם הָרָמָ֑תָה וַיֵּ֤דַע אֶלְקָנָה֙ אֶת־חַנָּ֣ה אִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וַיִּֽזְכְּרֶ֖הָ ה'׃
(1) There was a man from Ramathaim of the Zuphites, in the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. (2) He had two wives, one named Hannah and the other Peninnah; Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless. (3) This man used to go up from his town every year to worship and to offer sacrifice to the Eternal God of Hosts at Shiloh.—Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Eternal there. (4) One such day, Elkanah offered a sacrifice. He used to give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; (5) but to Hannah he would give one portion only—though Hannah was his favorite—for the Eternal had closed her womb. (6) Moreover, her rival, to make her miserable, would taunt her that the Eternal had closed her womb. (7) This happened year after year: Every time she went up to the House of the Eternal, the other would taunt her, so that she wept and would not eat. (8) Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why are you crying and why aren’t you eating? Why are you so sad? Am I not more devoted to you than ten sons?” (9) After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose.—The priest Eli was sitting on the seat near the doorpost of the temple of the Eternal.— (10) In her wretchedness, she prayed to the Eternal, weeping all the while. (11) And she made this vow: “O Eternal God of Hosts, if You will look upon the suffering of Your maidservant and will remember me and not forget Your maidservant, and if You will grant Your maidservant a male child, I will dedicate him to the Eternal for all the days of his life; and no razor shall ever touch his head.” (12) As she kept on praying before the Eternal, Eli watched her mouth. (13) Now Hannah was praying in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice could not be heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. (14) Eli said to her, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Sober up!” (15) And Hannah replied, “Oh no, my lord! I am a very unhappy woman. I have drunk no wine or other strong drink, but I have been pouring out my heart to the Eternal. (16) Do not take your maidservant for a worthless woman; I have only been speaking all this time out of my great anguish and distress.” (17) “Then go in peace,” said Eli, “and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of God.” (18) She answered, “You are most kind to your handmaid.” So the woman left, and she ate, and was no longer downcast. (19) Early next morning they bowed low before the Eternal, and they went back home to Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah and the Eternal remembered her.
ויאמר אליה עלי עד מתי תשתכרין וגו׳ אמר רבי אלעזר מכאן לרואה בחברו
On the subject of Eli’s rebuke of Hannah, as it is stated: “And Eli said to her: How long will you remain drunk? Remove your wine from yourself” (I Samuel 1:14); Rabbi Elazar said: From here the halakha that one who sees in another
דבר שאינו הגון צריך להוכיחו ותען חנה ותאמר לא אדוני אמר עולא ואיתימא רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא אמרה ליה לא אדון אתה בדבר זה ולא רוח הקודש שורה עליך שאתה חושדני בדבר זה איכא דאמרי הכי אמרה ליה לא אדון אתה לאו איכא שכינה ורוח הקודש גבך שדנתני לכף חובה ולא דנתני לכף זכות מי לא ידעת דאשה קשת רוח אנוכי
an unseemly matter, he must reprimand him, is derived. “And Hannah answered and she said no, my master [I am a woman of sorrowful spirit, and I have drunk neither wine nor liquor, but I pour out my soul before the Eternal” (I Samuel 1:15)]. Regarding the words: “No, my master,” Ulla, and some say Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said that she said to him: With regard to this matter, you are not a master, and the Divine Spirit does not rest upon you, as you falsely suspect me of this. Some say - She said to him: Aren’t you a master? Aren’t the Divine Presence and Divine Spirit supposed to be with you that you judged me to be guilty, and you did not judge me to be innocent? Didn’t you know that I am a woman of sorrowful spirit?
It seems that there is a hint here, that when one checks a person, one must not see only what they lack , in the place of the affliction; rather, one must see them in their entirety, including their elevated qualities. And so Balak said [to Balaam]: “You will only see a portion of them [the Israelites]; you will not see all of them [and curse them for me from there]” (Num. 23:13). Therefore: “the priest will see the affliction” – and after that – “the priest will see the person” – he should see them in their entirety.
- Rabbi Israel Joshua Trunk of Kutno (1820-1893), Itturei Torah
Amusing as it is simply to sit back and watch the calendar of the Western world flip over, it is reasonable to expect that 1999 - prologue to a new millennium - will yield some themes that ask for real reflection. Here is one. In the blizzard of commentary already blowing in, it is becoming apparent that we are nearly blinded by technology. Trying to gauge the meaning of a new millennium, we almost instinctively do so by marveling at the rate of technological change, which we cannot help believing will only increase...
Startling new technologies will inevitably proliferate in the years to come. We need to remember that the measure of a civilization is not the tools it owns but the use it makes of them.
- "The Limits of Technology," The New York Times, Jan. 3, 1999.