(1) We have already elucidated and mentioned in the earlier chapters that humility is one of the highest of the virtues. It is the mean between pride and lowliness of spirit and it has no other name - just anavah. But there are many names for pride in the Hebrew language: high heartedness, elevated eyes, proud and high. And sages, may their memory be blessed, added also: a high spirit, coarse-spirited, and haughty.
And the opposite of these is lowliness of spirit. We have already explained in the fourth chapter (Eight Chapters 4:7) that a person needs to lean a little towards one of the extremes until he establishes himself in the middle, as a type of fence. But only in this trait from all the other traits - that is, only with pride - due to the great deficiency of this trait, according to the pious ones, who knew well its damage - they distanced themselves to the other extreme and completely inclined towards lowliness of spirit, until there was no room for pride in their souls at all.
And behold, I saw in a one of the books on virtue that one of the great and pious was asked, "Which day is the one upon which you rejoiced more than any of your days?" He replied, "The day that I was going on a boat and my place was in the worst places of the boat, among the packages of clothing. And there were all kinds of traders and wealthy men on the boat. And I was laying in my place when one of the men of the boat got up to urinate. I was nothing in his eyes, a disgrace. I was so lowly in his eyes that he opened his nakedness and urinated on me.
And I was astonished by the incredible quality of brazenness in his soul. But, as God lives, my soul was not pained by his act at all and my strength was not aroused. And so I rejoiced with a great joy that I reached the point where the disgrace of this empty one did not pain me at all, and my soul did not feel anything towards him." Three is no doubt that this is the purpose of low spiritedness, to completely distance oneself from pride...
And it is because of this that this one commanded to come close to lowliness and said, "Be very, very lowly in spirit" - out of his fear that a person will seek only humility, and then there will be a trace of pride in them. Because one is close to the other, since anavah is the mean, as we said.