RASHI: He would say . . .
It is a known fact that person's life is shortened when he has ambitions to spread his name. We have already noted that Joseph died before his brothers, although he was one of the youngest, because he had grandiose ideas of greatness. Moreover, Scriptures also hint (Proverbs 16:18), "Before the downfall, goes pride."
Genesis 37:1 Yaakov settled in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan.
Genesis 37:2 These are the begettings of Yaakov. Yosef, seventeen years old, used to tend the sheep along with his brothers, for he was serving-lad with the sons of Bilha and the sons of Zilpa, his father's wives. And Yosef brought a report of them, an ill one, to their father.
Genesis 37:3 Now Yisrael loved Yosef above all his sons, for he was a son of old age to him, so he made him an ornamented coat.
Genesis 37:4 When his brothers saw that it was he whom their father loved above all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak to him in peace.
Genesis 37:5 Now Yosef dreamt a dream, and told it to his brothers -from then on they hated him still more-
Genesis 37:6 he said to them: Pray hear this dream that I have dreamt:
Genesis 37:7 Here, we were binding sheaf-bundles out in the field, and here, my sheaf arose, it was standing upright, and here, your sheaves were circling round and bowing down to my sheaf!
Genesis 37:8 His brothers said to him: Would you be king, yes, king over us? Or would you really rule, yes, rule us? From then on they hated him still more-for his dreams, for his words.
Genesis 37:9 But he dreamt still another dream, and recounted it to his brothers, he said: Here, I have dreamt still (another) dream: Here, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me!
Genesis 37:10 When he recounted it to his father and his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him: What kind of dream is this that you have dreamt! Shall we come, yes, come, I, your mother and your brothers, to bow down to you to the ground?
Genesis 37:11 His brothers envied him, while his father kept the matter in mind.
Rabbi Simcha Bunim taught that every person should carry two pieces of paper, one in each pocket: in one pocket "For me the world was created." and in the other "I am but dust and ashes." When we have moments of self loathing take out the first; in moments of grandiosity the second. Our souls are poised between greatness and nothingness; in knowing both are we blessed.
דההוא גברא דרחמיה קמצא ובעל דבביה בר קמצא עבד סעודתא אמר ליה לשמעיה זיל אייתי לי קמצא אזל אייתי ליה בר קמצא אתא אשכחיה דהוה יתיב אמר ליה מכדי ההוא גברא בעל דבבא דההוא גברא הוא מאי בעית הכא קום פוק אמר ליה הואיל ואתאי שבקן ויהיבנא לך דמי מה דאכילנא ושתינא
This is as there was a certain man whose friend was named Kamtza and whose enemy was named bar Kamtza. He once made a large feast and said to his servant: Go bring me my friend Kamtza. The servant went and mistakenly brought him his enemy bar Kamtza. The man who was hosting the feast came and found bar Kamtza sitting at the feast. The host said to bar Kamtza. That man is the enemy [ba’al devava] of that man, that is, you are my enemy. What then do you want here? Arise and leave. Bar Kamtza said to him: Since I have already come, let me stay and I will give you money for whatever I eat and drink. Just do not embarrass me by sending me out.
אמר ליה לא אמר ליה יהיבנא לך דמי פלגא דסעודתיך אמר ליה לא אמר ליה יהיבנא לך דמי כולה סעודתיך א"ל לא נקטיה בידיה ואוקמיה ואפקיה אמר הואיל והוו יתבי רבנן ולא מחו ביה ש"מ קא ניחא להו איזיל איכול בהו קורצא בי מלכא אזל אמר ליה לקיסר מרדו בך
The host said to him: No, you must leave. Bar Kamtza said to him: I will give you money for half of the feast; just do not send me away. The host said to him: No, you must leave. Bar Kamtza then said to him: I will give you money for the entire feast; just let me stay. The host said to him: No, you must leave. Finally, the host took bar Kamtza by his hand, stood him up, and took him out. After having been cast out from the feast, bar Kamtza said to himself: Since the Sages were sitting there and did not protest the actions of the host, although they saw how he humiliated me, learn from it that they were content with what he did. I will therefore go and inform [eikhul kurtza] against them to the king. He went and said to the emperor: The Jews have rebelled against you.
Rabbi Chatzkel Abramsky, a well-known leader of the Jewish community in England, was once called to testify in court. His lawyer asked him, "Rabbi Abramsky, is it true that you are the greatest living Jewish legal authority in Europe?" The rabbi replied, "Yes, that's true." At that point the judge interjected and said, "Rabbi Abramsky, is that not rather haughty of you? I thought that your laws and ethics teach you to be humble." To which Rabbi Abramsky responded, " I know we are taught to be humble. But what can I do? I am under oath."