In the Torah Moses is described as "exceedingly humble, more than any person on the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3).

The story is told of a certain individual who considered himself extremely humble. In fact, he was so humble that nobody knew how great he was. Even his own wife was unaware of his greatness, such was his humility.

Now this person had a problem with the verse in the Torah about Moses. How could G‑d, who presumably can see ahead into all the future generations, fail to be aware that there would be an individual in a future generation who would be even more humble than Moses? After all, everyone knew of Moses' greatness, yet our friend kept his greatness concealed from all.

This posed a theological dilemma for him, until he came up with the following answer. When the Torah spoke of Moses as being humble, it could have simply said "exceedingly humble, more than any person." Why add the seemingly superfluous "on the face of the earth"? Very simple. On the face of the earth implies that something is revealed, that people are aware of it. Our friend was so humble, he reasoned to himself, that his greatness was concealed beneath the face of the earth. With this logic, he was able to bask in his great humility and resolve this theological problem.

False humility, as seen in the above story, is a big problem. It is a trap which it is all too easy to fall into, especially when we find ourselves in a position of leadership, of "greatness."

It remains reasonable, nonetheless, to ask the question, how could Moses be so humble when he was such a great leader?

The answer is that Moses knew where his greatness was coming from. He understood that all his talents were G‑d-given gifts and that another person, blessed with the same talents, might even do a better job.

Elsewhere in the Parshah, we are told about Eldad and Medad, who were going around the camp of the Israelites, prophesying without express permission to do so. Joshua tells Moses, "Moses, my master, make an end of them." Rashi explains that this means "place the responsibility upon them for the needs of the community and they will end up destroying themselves."

Power corrupts, if not used carefully. It is hard to find the balance between the need for hierarchy and for one person to have power over another, and an appropriate degree of humility. When we realize that any talents, any gifts, any "power" we find ourselves with is a gift from Above, to be used for good and not abused, then we are less susceptible to the corruption that can come with power.

May we all merit to use our G‑d-given talents for good purposes, not to be falsely humble, but to genuinely realize where our abilities come from and at the same time to utilize them to the fullest. When we appreciate where our talents really come from, we can be truly humble and respectful of others, even when we find ourselves in positions of leadership.