Breaking our Ego
One of the hardest traits to break is our ego. Especially because it is so hidden from us deep down in our hearts. On the outside, it’s easier to have humility and make everyone think that we are humble.
But when we to look deep into our hearts we discover that buried beneath is a thought of arrogance attached to every action we take. It is intertwined in our minds with every thought.
Whether we do a mitzvah or even learn Torah, there is an automatic thought of arrogance attached to it. And more so when we grow in spirituality we have to be aware of the danger that our inner ego presents.
The more we grow than the more our ego grows with us. But we should not think that this is a deficiency in ourselves. On the contrary, if you recognize that you have arrogance than you are already doing G-d’s will and have started the path of rectifying this trait.
The problem is when we lose sight of our ego and feel as if we are clean from any thought of haughtiness and pride.
‘Now all is left is for me to do is to fix my friends around me and the rest of the world’.
And the way to save ourselves from this trait is by the way of hitbodedut – personal prayer with G-d
Even if a person studies Torah and does mitzvot which is a tremendous thing on its own. However, he is still in danger of his own ego and pride.
Our sages tell us that “if a person merits then the Torah will be a drug of life. But if one does not merit then it will become a drug of death”.
How can the holiest action of learning Torah lead a person to his own death, a drug of death?
The answer is that if we speak with Hashem and acknowledge that we have arrogance. When we confess about our pride and understand that we have haughtiness and pride deep within ourselves. Then we merit that the Torah we learn becomes a drug of life. And that our ego will not consume the Torah we learn.
But one can go years of study without realizing that throughout all his study he trampled and put down others around him. And even if not then within his heart how much inner pride he had from knowing Torah and being able to teach Torah. One can forget that his intelligence is not really his own but purely a gift of G-d.
This is why Rebbe Nachman of Breslev tells us “the hitbodedut rises above all” because anything we do in life and in spirituality, has to have an acknowledgment that we are not the ones that did it but rather G-d gave us a free gift of accomplishing of growing and of learning.
G-d gives us the strength, it is not our own strength but all the work of g-d himself.
The holy Baal Shem Tov used to stop his Torah study every 30 minutes and acknowledge and say to Hashem; ‘it is not me that is learning Torah, really everything is You!’
When we give g-d the credit we then obtain true humility and humbleness inside the heart.
May We Merit!
In the merit of R’ Eliezer ben Etya, Yitzchak ben Saida, Galit Geula bat Ronit, Yoel ben Regin, Mordechai Menachem ben Miril and all of am Yisrael.