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Tools for Growth: Shevet Mussar: Learning to Listen

In order to help you achieve the attribute of humility, I will share with you the words of the Mekubalim of what happens to a person’s body and soul. This is what they teach (Zohar, volume 3 126a; Reishit Chochmah, Gate of Fear, chapter 12:15–22):


Every person must be watchful and assiduous in his Service of the Lord, for every single day they announce in Heaven and say: “Until when will you fools love foolishness (Proverbs 1:22).” “Return, O wayward sons, and I will heal your waywardness (Jeremiah 3:22).” The Torah itself cries out this lesson but few even pay attention.

People become wrapped up in dealing with this world and believe that things will always continue as they are. He forgets the day of death and the Day of Judgment until he will be suddenly thrust into its grasp.

He will be placed in a terrible situation unless he can find a single advocate, as the verse teaches, “If there will be for someone but a single defending Angel out of the thousand to declare a man’s uprightness on his behalf, then God will be gracious to him and say, ‘Redeem him from going down to the grave. I have found him atonement.’ (Job 33:23–24).” Who will that defending Angel be? A person’s good deeds, none more powerful than the Defending Angel created by acts of humility. (Shevet Mussar 17:31)

Arrogance comes from one who does not hear the Heavenly cries and warnings. Therefore, when one recites the daily Shema, God’s commandment to “Hear,” one should have special intention to hear the lessons of the Torah, the heavenly cries calling to him to live with humility.

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