Why was the Torah given on Mount Sinai, the “smallest of all mountains”? Because, the Midrash explains, in order to receive the Torah, we must be humble, like Mount Sinai.

This raises another question: If humility is so important, why was the Torah given on a mountain altogether? Would it not be better for the Torah to be given in a plain or a valley?

In the Kabbalah, humility is synonymous with wisdom. That’sWhy was the Torah given on a mountain? because the key ingredient to wisdom is the humility to recognize that our own perspective is not sufficient, that we must seek deeper and higher understanding. Every intellectual breakthrough is dependent on us having the courage to tell ourselves, “Although I have a deep-rooted perspective on this issue, I may be completely wrong.” Without this humility, no new wisdom is possible.

This is true about all wisdom, and it’s even more true about divine wisdom, the wisdom of the Torah.

To receive the Torah, we must be humble and small like Sinai. To receive the Torah, we must be open to a completely radical paradigm shift. To grasp the divine logic, we must be open to a new perspective of reality, a perspective that is not self-centered but spiritually centered.

And that is why Moses was chosen to be the one through whom G‑d gave the Torah. Moses was chosen not because he was the smartest, or the brightest, or the best teacher, or the best communicator. Moses was chosen because he was “exceedingly humble, more so than any person on the face of the earth.”1 The greatness of Moses lay in his humility, his ability to put his perspective aside and view reality from G‑d’s perspective.

And yet, being Sinai-small is not enough. One must also be a mountain.

The Torah was given on a mountain and not in a valley, for to live the Torah, we must be humble on the one hand, but proud on the other.

Absolute humility is dangerous.

To live the Torah, we must be fully aware of our immense worth in the eyes of G‑d. The attitude most devastating to spiritual growth isAbsolute humility is dangerous the one that says, “G‑d does not care what I do.” It’s the one that says, “I am insignificant to the creator of such a vast universe.”

To follow the Torah is to understand how valuable we are in the eyes of G‑d. To live the Torah is to feel how the purpose of the entire universe's creation is in our hands.

To receive the Torah, we must be a Sinai, we must be both “small” and a “mountain,” humble yet proud.2