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Before his passing, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov said to his disciples: "You must seek a new master and mentor, for soon I shall pass on from this world."

"To whom shall we turn for guidance?" they asked.

"I shall give you a sign," said Rabbi Israel. "He who knows the answer to the question, 'How can one overcome the pride in one's heart?' -- he is the man who can guide you in your service of the Almighty."

"And what is the answer? How does one vanquish pride?"

"The answer is that there is no way in which to vanquish pride. One must simply pray to the Almighty that He humble our hearts before Him."

As told by Yanki Tauber.
Artwork by Sarah Kranz.
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Zev Melbourne, Australia June 6, 2004

More from the Besht The Besht once asked, "why is humility, the greatest trait one can attain, not listed as one of the 613 commanments?"
He then responded, that were humility be one of the commandments incumbent on a person to fulfill it would be antithetical to the whole concept. For a mitzvah can be compared to a check list of ones achievements. "Yes, I've fulfilled this, and I've managed to comply with that." However, humility is the feeling that opposes self achievements. It is the feeling that one feels short of where he should be. Thus, such a trait could never have been placed upon an individual as a 'must-do' responsibility. Reply

Learn about the life and teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the 18th century mystic who permanently changed the Jewish landscape.
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