Beit Midrash

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52 Lessons
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    Humility, Holiness and Fearing Hashem

    Fear of Sin - Punishment and Loftiness

    Ideally, a person should distance himself from sin due to God's loftiness. How can man, God's own handiwork, even consider acting in opposition to the will of his Creator? Such fear, fear of God's loftiness, befits wise and enlightened individuals.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed | 5762
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    Humility, Holiness and Fearing Hashem

    Fear of Sin - Punishment and Loftiness

    Ideally, a person should distance himself from sin due to God's loftiness. How can man, God's own handiwork, even consider acting in opposition to the will of his Creator? Such fear, fear of God's loftiness, befits wise and enlightened individuals.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed | Tuesday, 14 Elul 5767
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    Humility, Holiness and Fearing Hashem

    51. Sanctity

    Sanctity is the highest rung on the ladder of desired character traits: Torah leads to caution, caution to alacrity, alacrity to cleanliness, cleanliness to abstinence, abstinence to purity, purity to piety, piety to humility, to fear of sin, to sanctity.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed | Monday, 8 Menachem Av 5767
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    Humility, Holiness and Fearing Hashem

    49. The Components of Humility

    A person should hate possessing authority but not avoid positions of authority. One should accept such positions with a desire to serve the public, not to control the public. Hence the sages tell us to “love labor and hate authority.”

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed | Sivan 5762
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    Anava - Humility

    48. Acquiring Humility

    Acquiring humility is one of the peaks in the development of a person's personality, for it covers all aspects of an individual's behavior. If one truly wishes to acquire humility, he must train himself to speak humbly, walk humbly, and sit humbly.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
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    Anava - Humility

    47. The Distinction of Humility

    The more talent and capacity a humble person possesses, the more humble he becomes. For example, Moses, the greatest of the great, was also the humblest of the humble: "And the man Moses was more humble than any other person on the face of the earth".

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
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    Humility, Holiness and Fearing Hashem

    46. Humble and Happy

    It is important to realize that a humble person is not miserable and unhappy. Neither is a conceited person happy and blissful. To the contrary, it is humility that brings happiness and bliss, while pride leads a person to misery and discontent.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
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    Humility, Holiness and Fearing Hashem

    45. Conceit and Divine Service

    God said to Israel: I treasure you, for even as I bestow greatness upon you, you humble yourselves before me. Abraham said, "I am but earth and dust." Moses and Aaron said "What are we worth?" And King David said "I am not a man - I am but a worm."

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
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    Pathways in Personality Development

    44. Tales of the Sages

    Reading stories about the virtuous deeds of great rabbis is a most effective way to nurture desirable character traits. Parents who wish to instill in their children a love for the Torah should give them books on the lives of the sages of Israel.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed | Adar 5676
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    Pathways in Personality Development

    43. Cautiously Stringent

    Pious individuals follow the more stringent rulings and sway clear of all doubt. However, it is precisely here that a truly pious person must be on guard. He must be careful that his stringent practices do not lead him to belittle the lenient rabbis.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed | Adar 5676
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    Pathways in Personality Development

    42. Fitting Admonition

    When it comes to pious additions to the commandments, practices which are likely to cause ordinary people to laugh, and thus transgress, it is certainly more proper and pious to refrain from them altogether, for these practices are not obligatory.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed | Adar 5676
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    Pathways in Personality Development

    41. Not Overly Pious

    : Pious behavior can be misleading. Though a certain act may appear virtuous at first glance, its ramifications may really be very undesirable. A person must weigh his actions carefully – not to be overly pious, yet not to refrain from piety altogether.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
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    Pathways in Personality Development

    40. The Lofty Service of the Pious

    True, the behavior of a pious person is thoroughly virtuous and refined, yet his real greatness lies in the fact that his intentions are entirely altruistic; a pious person is concerned with the welfare of the whole generation, the entire nation.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed | Shvat 5767
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    Pathways in Personality Development

    39. For the Sake of God's Honor

    While performing any religious act a person must intend to bring pleasure and honor to God. He must pray for Israel's redemption and the restoration of the Holy Temple, for these matters bring pleasure to God and vest him with the most supreme honor.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed | Shvat 5767
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    Pathways in Personality Development

    38. Love and Devotion to God

    One who loves God cannot bear the desecration of His name, as Solomon says (Proverbs 28:7), "The deserters of Torah will praise the wicked and the observers of Torah will rebuke them," and David says (Psalms 97:10), "Those who love God hate evil."

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed | 5762
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    Pathways in Personality Development

    37. Piety and the Love of God

    One who truly loves the Almighty knows how to accept hardships lovingly, with an understanding that everything God does is for the best, even hardships. Not only are they for his own good, they constitute a reason for loving the Almighty even more.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed | 5762
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    Pathways in Personality Development

    35. Fear of God's Exalted Nature

    Fear and love of God are the two pillars of true divine service without which it is impossible to truly serve God. The chief aspect of the fear of God is the fear of His exalted nature, and this implies fear based upon admiration and adoration.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
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    Pathways in Personality Development

    36. The Adornment of Religious Performance

    A person should not say, “Honor is important to human beings, but the Almighty is above such things.” It is true that the Almighty has no need for honor, but we, from our standpoint, must serve Him as adamantly and impeccably as possible.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed | 5762
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    Pathways in Personality Development

    34. Lovingkindness

    Kindness is greater than charity in three ways: Charity is performed with one's wealth, and kindness with one's body; charity is given to the poor, kindness to the rich as well; charity is given to the living, lovingkindness to the dead as well.

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
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    Pathways in Personality Development

    33. More on the Trait of Piety

    Rav Zeira's students asked him, “How have you lived to such a ripe old age?” He responded, “I was never officious in my own household, nor did I ever walk before somebody greater than I, nor did I ever dwell upon the Torah in unclean places . . . ”

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
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