Humility Sources

Mussar starts with the assumption that: we are all holy:

Leviticus 19:18 and Genesis B’tzelem Elohim.

דַּבֵּ֞ר אֶל־כָּל־עֲדַ֧ת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל וְאָמַרְתָּ֥ אֲלֵהֶ֖ם קְדֹשִׁ֣ים תִּהְי֑וּ כִּ֣י קָד֔וֹשׁ אֲנִ֖י יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃

Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, Adonai your God, am holy.

וַיִּבְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ אֶת־הָֽאָדָם֙ בְּצַלְמ֔וֹ בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּרָ֣א אֹת֑וֹ זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בָּרָ֥א אֹתָֽם׃

And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

וְהָאִ֥ישׁ מֹשֶׁ֖ה ענו [עָנָ֣יו] מְאֹ֑ד מִכֹּל֙ הָֽאָדָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הָאֲדָמָֽה׃

And the man Moses was more humble than any other person on the face of the earth.

וְלִפְנֵ֖י כָב֣וֹד עֲנָוָֽה׃

Humility precedes honor.

בָּֽא־זָ֭דוֹן וַיָּבֹ֣א קָל֑וֹן וְֽאֶת־צְנוּעִ֥ים חָכְמָֽה׃

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

The awareness of the true nature of one's skills and capacities is in no way incompatible with humility.

Rabbi Abraham Twerski, Let Us Make Man

"The humble person learns from everyone, even one [perceived to be] lesser than him, as the verse states: From all my teachers I grew wise (Psalms 119:99).

צט מִכָּל־מְלַמְּדַ֥י הִשְׂכַּ֑לְתִּי כִּ֥י עֵ֝דְוֺתֶ֗יךָ שִׂ֣יחָה לִֽֿי׃

From Rabbi Shmuel of Ouiza, Midrash Shmuel)

"The test of humility is your attitude to subordinates." Orchot Tzaddikim, 16th century, Chapter 2

Humility is associated with spiritual perfection. When humility effects depression it is defective; when it is genuine it inspires joy, courage, and inner dignity.

Rav Avraham Yitzvchak Kook, The Moral Principles, p. 176

Praiseworthy humility is quite different from a demeanor of degradation and lowliness. Listlessness, degradation, lowliness, and baseness are not signs of humility. Rather, while a humble person will not be conceited, he will also not be undignified.

Rabbi Avraham ben Ha-Rambam, Guide to Serving God pp. 107-9

משמת רבי בטלה ענוה ויראת חטא אמר ליה רב יוסף לתנא לא תיתני ענוה דאיכא אנא אמר

The final line of the mishna states that from the time when Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi (editor of the Mishnah) died, humility ceased to exist in the world. Rav Yosef responded, "Don't teach that, for I am here."

Babylonian Talmud

אמר רבא בשמתא דאית ביה ובשמתא דלית ביה

Rava teaches: "Who possesses [haughtiness of spirit] deserves excommunication, and if he does not possess it he deserves excommunication."

Babylonian Talmud

What does it mean to be humble?

Why do we look for humility in our leaders?

Which of these quotes feels like false humility? What is false humility?