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What is Passover? Passover is a holiday that shows us the route to humility.
What do Passover and humility have to do with each other? More than we think. The essence of Passover is practicing humility, while Positive Psychology also encourages that we develop this trait. While the Positive Psychology movement has focused mainly on the development of virtues, research in the area of humility has been advancing at a slower pace. This is essentially because it is difficult to define humility.
The Torah singles out Moses as the most humble man who ever lived, "And Moses was exceedingly humble, more than any man on the face of the earth.” How could this be so when he spoke face to face with G-d and performed countless miracles? When the Torah tells us that Moses was humble, that does not mean that he had low self-esteem. Rather, he recognized his achievements but did not take credit for them. Moses looked at what he did as a Divine gift and opportunity. Had someone else been in his place, he would have achieved what Moses had. Moses thought another person might have even done better.
Assistant professors Don Emerson Davis, Jr. and Joshua N. Hook joined with other scholars to research humility. They found that the equivalent to humility is not low self-esteem as many of us are led to believe. On an intrapersonal level, humility is an accurate view of the self. On an interpersonal level, the stance of humility is focused on others, rather than the self.
The essence of Passover is humility. Jews are forbidden from eating leavened foods throughout the duration of Passover. Instead, they eat flat baked wafers consisting of only flour and water. The Jewish Sages explain how characteristics of leavened dough and flat baked wafers can be applied to the human being. Because leavened dough expands and swells, it symbolizes arrogance and boastfulness. Flat baked wafers, on the other hand, symbolize meekness and humility. While the Jewish nation was enslaved in Egypt, they ate the bread of the poor. And just when things could not get any worse, they were redeemed from slavery and hard labor with riches and with the honor of receiving the Torah.
In the wake of humility comes fear of the Lord,
riches, honor, and life.
In order to experience liberation, we must have humility. With humility comes faith. The very essence of Passover is practicing humility and distancing ourselves from arrogance. Just as on each Passover, Jews are commanded to remove all traces of bread from their homes should we also remove all traces of arrogance from our hearts so we too can experience true freedom in our own lives.